GOVERNANCE AROUND THE GLOBE.
“FROM POLITICAL WON’T TO POLITICAL WILL”
Building support for participatory governance
1. “This, in turn, can lead to improved implementation through more effectively targeted
programs and the need for fewer subsequent adjustments.
2. Citizen monitoring can ensure the rational use of resources and provide a safeguard
against leakages, while citizen evaluation can provide feedback on problems or shortcomings
in service delivery and, ideally, propose collective solutions.
3. In Kenya, Tajikistan, and Tanzania, for example, local level participatory governance
initiatives supported by the Aga Khan Foundation have led to concrete improvements in priority
sectors, such as education, health, water, and sanitation (Chapter 4).
4. Participatory budgeting initiatives have resulted in improved roads and market
infrastructure in Zimbabwe (Chapter 9), and decreased crime rates in Uganda and Canada
(Chapters 7 and 10), while, in the Philippines, local government units, using social contracts,
have realized millions of pesos in savings (Chapter 8).”
5. Finally, participatory governance approaches can contribute to political stability and
peace. The risk of instability is increased when citizens lack trust in government, when
government is perceived as corrupt or unresponsive, or when it fails to deliver essential
services. Actions, such as public protests, street demonstrations, strikes, and riots, result
when channels for more constructive dialogue and negotiation are lacking. As experienced in
Zimbabwe (Chapter 9),
14. Concept adoption, and
Different approaches to
around the globe and in Lebanon.
a. Because our politicians, those who were in the driving seat, as well as
those who want to take their place, are incapable or unwilling to follow that
path. Forty four years after President Chehab, they still do not realize the
importance of good governance and good planning. Even if they did, it would
not be in their interest to introduce them.
b. The older generation does not understand and would not accept new
concepts because they believe only in age, experience, qualifications, or the
power of the establishment that has bribed them into submission. Those who
would not take bribes have been simply shunned out.
c. The few experts left in Lebanon (economists, scientists, professionals)
who have not yet immigrated are too busy, too skeptical or too wary to take the
lead. Or they simply cannot afford to be involved in a nation building process
that demands sustained and selfless sacrifice. However, I believe that many
would eventually go along, if someone else would open the way for them.
d. Who are we left with? We are left with university youth who have some
education, some knowledge, some awareness, and the necessary
enthusiasm to become the inspirers of the new system of participative
governance and participative planning, if it is patiently and clearly explained
and taught to them.
2) How can we recruit university youth for this task?
purpose of the project
b. By communicating with them by email, through on line media like
facebook, twitter, and the blogs
c. By word of mouth in the universities and through the students
d. By holding conferences on the subject
e. Through the media (TV, magazines, newspapers)
3) Why is it urgent to introduce these reforms now?
prove it. The old order and the old systems are no longer valid. Furthermore
we are now being enticed and or coerced into adopting extremist solutions
that could lead the country into the unknown. We have to do something to
reverse the present trend, even if that something is out of the usually accepted
4) Why is it necessary for the citizens to participate in the planning and in the
governance and monitoring process?
countries like Egypt, Tunis, and elsewhere in the region as well, that in many
instances, many officials in government who try to perform honestly can be
either bribed or forced to tow the line. Allowing the citizens to participate in the
governance will reduce the chances of such subversion.
Also, the members of the private sector can provide some new ideas and
suggestions that may serve to improve the performance of the public
5) If a National Development Plan is a prerequisite for introducing these long
awaited reforms, what are the main subjects that will be dealt with in that Plan?
a. So far, we have identified sixteen main subjects that, we believe, are
suitable to form part of the National Development Plan:
3. Poverty eradication
5. Roads and transport
2. Debt reduction
b) Other subjects may have to be added to that list. Among them I can think of the oil
and gas exploration, and a carefully considered and citizens monitored privatization
a decade ago would have probably prevented the revolutions
that recently took place in these two countries.
The main grievances of the protesters s were that they were
being ignored by their government and kept out of the
governance process; with the corruption, and the neglect of
the people's interests that resulted from that marginalization."
36. As noted above, there is no guarantee that participation will always be
effective in reaching the goals of public policy or development. It may sometimes
even be counterproductive to equity and social justice. It is necessary to take a
broad overview of the prerequisites of effective participation, based on both
conceptual and empirical foundations.
37. Participation is regarded as “effective” when it yields greater influence for
ordinary people, especially the poor and socially excluded. That influence can be
over government actors, politicians and bureaucrats, and their own destinies. In
order to be “effective”, participation must not only reveal the preferences of
ordinary people but also enable those preferences to shape outcomes. There must be
processes and forums, formal or informal, through which they can voice
their concerns and affect decisions. Ordinary citizens should be sufficiently
confident and capable of contacting and obtaining responses from bureaucrats, elected
representatives and other public agents. They should be able to have an impact by
lobbying or demonstrating collectively. When those conditions are manifest,
“effective” participation and empowered participatory governance is a reality.
38. Recent research has identified a number of essential prerequisites to effective
participation. One strand has drawn attention to the importance of “empowered
participatory governance”. It argues that what determines the success of
participation is not so much the technicalities of institution design as much as the
creation of “countervailing power” — a variety of mechanisms that reduce, and
perhaps even neutralize, any power-advantages of powerful actors in a given
39. Another strand of research has emphasized striving for the realization of the
whole range of human rights as a precondition of effective participation. The
necessary countervailing power cannot be created without the fulfilment of civil political
rights such as freedom of speech and information, and equal access to
justice, among others. Some research argues that the poor must be ensured a certain
minimum degree of economic security before they can be expected to engage in
activities geared to the creation of countervailing power.
40. In this context, the issues of transparency and accountability have been much
emphasized. Without transparent decision-making processes, “distant participants”
cannot be certain that their views and aspirations will receive due consideration.
Without adequate procedures and institutions for holding the “direct”
decision makers accountable for their actions and inactions, “indirect
participants” cannot ensure that decisions agreed upon through participatory processes will
41. Therefore, the prerequisites to effective participation in which ordinary citizens can
influence outcomes of decision-making processes include:
1) mechanisms and systems that create an empowered citizenry,
assured of their basic human rights,who are able to counterbalance
powerful minority actors.
2) Transparency is imperative in creating the confidence that
participants’ preferences are duly considered and ensuring that
decision-makers are held accountable.