94 | Central and West Asia and North Africa (CWANA) Report

in decision making, the makeup of participants in public decision making, the mechanisms of dispute resolution, the role of the state relative to the private sector, and levels of education and knowledge.

Over the past 50 years, there have been significant changes in sociopolitical drivers. There is a declining trend in centralized authoritarian governments and a rise in elected democracies.

Good governance is a general term for the way in which a government acts and functions for the benefit of a society. Good governance should therefore not be seen as a sector in itself. If there is good governance in a country, we expect the government of that country to be transparent (clear and complete financial accountability, accountability concerning its policies); to play a facilitating and encouraging role toward civil society on economic, political and social grounds; to be a neutral arbiter in society; to be accountable for its rules and laws and to be cost effective and service-oriented toward its citizens.

All these elements tell us something about the way a country and government operates and the type of processes and dynamics that are going on within a country. The success of these elements often depends on political, cultural, social and economic aspects that can be found within the context of a country.

To promote good governance, specific attention is paid to democratization and decentralization, gender, human

 

rights, strengthening of the rule of law, promotion of independent media, institutional strengthening, public finance management and civil service reform.

Citizens in many developing countries are demanding better performance on the part of their governments, including increased transparency and accountability. Institutional development activities focus on strengthening the ability and capacity of countries to design and implement development policies on their own and in a sustainable way. It is a multidimensional concept not limited to training activities and organizational capacity development; it also includes the overall environment of institutional performance: budgeting procedures, formal and informal patterns within organizations, organizational culture, social structures, etc.

The trend toward democratic institutions has helped empower local communities, women and resource-poor households. The need for good governance, democratization, decentralization and other sociopolitical reforms will remove the stumbling blocks and will speed up development. Pressures from globalization can contribute to adoption of democratic thinking in some countries, consequently reducing corruption in developing economies.

There is room for improvement in coordination at all levels, public, private and civil society, to facilitate the development process. Better coordination and collaboration will enhance development objectives, especially poverty alleviation and amelioration of hunger (Hemmati et al., 2002).

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