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Advocacy and good governance

Governance covers the ways and institutions through which individual citizens and groups express their interests, exercise their rights and obligations, and mediate their differences. Governance is thus a complex matter, although the essence is trust and cooperation. Governance involves the public sector orienting its work towards citizens’ concerns in a transparent and accountable way, the private sector acting with responsibility, and citizens being able and motivated to participate in public decision-making. Individual citizens, particularly women, who are poor and disadvantaged often experience the greatest constraints in participating in such decision making. This may be for reasons of active discrimination in some case, or for more subtle reasons of lack of confidence in self-expression, lack of information, and/or lack of time to attend meetings.

SDC considers good governance to encompass five interlinking aspects. These are accountability, transparency, participation, non-discrimination, and effectiveness/efficiency. Participation and non-discrimination are particularly important aspects with regard to poor and disadvantaged people. As their opinions and needs are often not heard or reflected in decision-making, pro-active steps are needed to ensure that they are. This often requires training of both officials (to recognise the need for social inclusion and how to encourage it) and of those concerned (to give them confidence in public speaking, awareness of their rights, etc). It also often entails the introduction of clear participatory proceedings such as participatory budgeting and public audits.

Subsidiarity, the principle that decisions are made as close as possible to where they will impact, underlies the decentralized governance of Switzerland. SDC strongly supports decentralized, good local governance in its partner countries.

For further information visit: http://www.sdc-decentralization.net

 

Further information

 

​​Community Driven Development, Collective Action and Elite Capture in Indonesia

Aniruddha Dasgupta and Victoria A. Beard, March 2007
In an analysis of a community driven poverty alleviation project in Indonesia, this article examines the vulnerability of such an approach to elite capture. The expected relationships among a community’s capacity for collective action, elite control over project decisions and elite capture of project benefits were not found. In cases where the project was controlled by elites, benefits continued to be delivered to the poor, and where power was the most evenly distributed, resource allocation to the poorwas restricted. Communities where both non-elites and elites participated in democratic self-governance, however, did demonstrate an ability to redress elite capture when it occurred.

Community Driven Development, Collective Action and Elite Capture in Indonesia - Aniruddha Dasgupta and Victoria A. Beard (PDF, 99 KB)

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​​Four Case Studies on the Experience of SDC and its Partners in Supporting Socially Inclusive Local Governance

Sarah Byrne, Pascal Fendrich, Pascal Arnold (Intercooperation) and Andres Mejia Acosta (Institute of Development Studies), February 2011
Four case studies have been developed on four different types of social inclusion initiatives. The case studies were selected by the SDCʼs Decentralisation and Local Governance Network (dlgn) learning group on socially inclusive local governance (...) The four case study projects or programmes are all working in the field of local governance or decentralisation, and through the elaboration of the case studies, have critically reflected on the issue of social inclusion in the contexts in which they are working and in the everyday practice of their project/programme and partners.

Four Case Studies on the Experience of SDC and its Partners in Supporting Socially Inclusive Local Governance (PDF, 989 KB)

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​​Inclusive Local Governance for Poverty Reduction: A Review of Policies and Practices

 Andrés Mejía Acosta, Research Fellow, Institute of Development Studies / Research assistance of Julia Clark, Institute of Development Studies / In cooperation with Pascal Arnold/Sarah Byrne/Pascal Fendrich Intercooperation, February 2011

The first part of this review surveys and analyses donor strategies! to promote greater social inclusion. It focuses on the existing assumptions about which actors, rules and mechanisms contribute to effective social inclusion, and looks for cited evidences of success (...) The second part offers a systemised overview of innovative approaches, methodologies and tools regarding social inclusion in local governance, with special attention to the question of how these concepts work 'on the ground'.

Inclusive Local Governance for Poverty Reduction: A Review of Policies and Practices (PDF, 460 KB)