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Good Governance and its Impact on Sustainable Development

By: Ambassador Saeed ZAKI

The term good governance is a complex and unclear concept. Until now, there are no comprehensive, precise and agreed upon definition of good governance. However, this concept can be described as full respect for citizenship rights, rule of law, effective participation, Multilateral partnerships, political pluralism, institutions with transparent and accountable processes, public sector efficiency, constitutional legitimacy, access to knowledge, information and education, community empowerment, equity and sustainability, attitudes and values that promote responsibility, solidarity and tolerance.

However, there is considerable consensus that good governance is about the quality of the public institutional policies that are essential to achieving development goals. Good governance is also defined as the process by which public institutions manage public sector affairs and manage public resources in a manner essentially free from malpractice and corruption and give due consideration to the rule and the rule of law (1). The real test of good governance is the extent to which it fulfills citizenship rights, including civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights.

The effectiveness of good governance on the ground is measured by assessing the effectiveness of public institutions in ensuring the right to health, adequate housing, adequate food, quality education, justice and community security. Here are the main features of good governance: transparency, accountability, civic participation, and responding to community needs.

The absence of good governance is closely linked to lower development level and therefore it has a direct impact on economic growth (2). According to recent statics published by Global Integrity International, developing countries lost $810 Billion Dollars yearly due to corruption and improper accounting systems between 2002 and 2011 (3).

Corruption and inequality are two sides of the same thing, and we can see the relationship between corruption, the unequal distribution of power in society, and inequality in the distribution of wealth. As some recently discovered documents have shown, many rich and powerful people work to exploit the lack of clarity of financial transparency to enrich themselves from the public budget. Corruption is a phenomenon that affects all countries, and its impact is evident in the countries where the lowest growth index is recorded. Therefore, the good governance and anti-corruption policies directly affect economic growth and improve citizens' conditions.

(1) “The Impact of Corruption on Growth and Inequality”, Transparency International EU Help Desk Answer (web), 15
March 2014.
(2) Transparency International, Global Corruption Barometer (web), 2013.
(3) Global Financial Integrity, “Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries 2002-2011”, 2013.

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