The Citizen Handbook
Democracy and Governance
Good governance: Explained
Good governance provides effective service
delivery that is free of abuse and corruption, gives priority to human-rights
based approaches, and supports the rule of law. Some key components of good
· Participation – Participation by both men and women, the poor and the rich, people of all religious persuasions, people of all races and ethnic groups and people with different physical abilities are a vital aspect of good governance. This participation can be either direct or indirect through legitimate institutions or representatives.
· Rule of law – The management of public affairs occurs in strict accordance with established laws. Good governance requires fair legal structures that are enforced without favouring any party or individual and fully protect human rights, particularly those of marginalized and minority communities. The rule of law also means an independent judiciary and a police force that is impartial and not corrupt.
· Transparency – Decisions taken and enforced by the government adhere to rules and regulations and occur in an open manner. Moreover, those affected have free and open access to information on the decisions taken and their enforcement.
· Responsiveness – Institutions and processes try to serve all the people within a reasonable time frame. In addition, the priorities of public institutions are responsive to the priorities of citizens.
· Consensus-driven – The different interests in society are included in order to reach a broad consensus on what is in the best interest of the community as a whole.
· Equity and inclusiveness – All groups in society, especially the most vulnerable, have the opportunity to maintain or improve their health and security. This ensures that all members of society feel that they are equal stakeholders.
· Effectiveness and efficiency – Institutions and processes produce results that meet the needs of society while also ensuring they are making the best use of available resources. It also means the sustainable use of natural resources and the protection of the environment.
· Accountability – Governmental institutions, private sector, and civil society must be accountable to the public and their institutional stakeholders. In general, organisations and institutions are accountable to those impacted by their decisions or actions.
· Strategic vision – Leaders and the public should have a broad and long-term outlook on good governance and human development, along with a sense of the requirements for such development. There should also be an understanding of the historical, cultural, and social factors that inform this outlook.