There are a number of ideas and principles for making good decisions that affect many people i.e. decisions made by civil society organizations or governmental authorities, at a local, national or international level. These ideas form the principles of Good Governance and are used by international and local NGOs (Non-Governmental Organization) as well as donors and governments themselves. They are also embedded in the Good Governance Framework.
Accountability is a key requirement of good governance and constitutes the other side of participation. Accountability can take many forms, including accurate reporting of financial data, the publication of annual reports, and the responsible use of resources. One of the basic indicators of accountability within a group is its system of internal review and sharing findings as the NGO requires of beneficiaries. Who is accountable to whom varies depending on whether decisions or actions taken are internal or external to an organization or institution. In general, an organization or an institution is accountable to those who will be affected by its decisions or actions. Accountability cannot be enforced without transparency and the rule of law. Government institutions, the private sector and civil society organizations must be accountable to the public and to their institutional stakeholders about what they have done, will do or failed to do.
Good development programming promotes equitable participation, the chance for all members of society to have an informed and consequential voice in decisions that affect them. Participation by men and women, girls and boys is a cornerstone of good governance. Participation can be either direct or through legitimate intermediate institutions or representatives. Even representative forms of government do not necessarily ensure that the concerns of the most vulnerable in society are taken into consideration in decision-making. Participation mechanisms can provide the opportunity for transparent feedback so local governments can hear from a broad diversity of people regularly. Participation needs to be informed and organized – freedom of association and expression on the one hand and an organized civil society on the other. Every community and society incorporates people and groups with distinctly differing points of view and goals. Sustained good governance requires mediating different interests and establishing broad consensus in order for government and citizens to be able to take actions and the society to function without frequent conflict.
Equity and inclusiveness
A society’s well being depends on ensuring that all its members feel that they have a stake in it, do not feel excluded from the mainstream, and therefore want to participate. This requires that all groups, but particularly the most vulnerable, have opportunities to improve or maintain their well-being.
Transparency means that decisions, and their enforcement, follow established rules and regulations. It also means that all people who will be affected by such decisions have access to easily understandable information in local languages and accessible to illiterate and blind/deaf community members. Transparency means sharing information and acting in an open manner. It promotes access to information. Information, however, must be timely, relevant, accurate and complete for it to be used effectively such as through community radio. Transparency is also considered essential for controlling corruption in public life. Through public financial accountability and transparency, the government can learn to more efficiently allocate resources. A lack of transparency can lead to inefficiencies and hinder development.
Effectiveness and efficiency
Good governance means that processes and institutions produce results that meet the needs of society while making the best use of resources at the society’s disposal. The concept of efficiency in the context of good governance also covers the use of natural resources and the protection of the environment.
Good governance requires that institutions and processes seek to serve all stakeholders within a reasonable timeframe and have mechanisms for soliciting ideas and giving updates to constituents. This is a key issue in many societies in transition where governments often pursue competing goals, and a lack of responsiveness can quickly erode trust in government despite its good works.
The projection of the concept of good governance onto the national system is an orientation of a state as it then progressively boosts people’s trust in their government thereby leading to an improvement in the government services. The government along with the NGO should come up with fair and legitimate projects which the society will accept. Thus in the long run, good governance evolves into stronger aspirations for further democratization.