Government plays a predominant role in governance both in rural and urban, beside other involved in governance depending upon the level, like in rural areas, influential landlord, associations of farmers, cooperatives, NGOs, religious leaders etc, while in urban areas, besides the actors as said for rural areas, media, international donors, multinational cooperation etc. may play a role in decision making or influencing the decision making process. Thus governance can be used in several contexts such as corporate governance, international governance, national governance and local governance.
Governance means the process of decision making and the process by which decisions are implemented or otherwise? The concept is not new and as old as human civilization. Since governance is the process of decision making and the process by which decisions are implemented, an analysis of governance focuses on the formal and informal actors involved in decision making and implementing the decisions made and the formal and informal structures that have been set in place to arrive at and implement the decisions.
Good Governance has eight major characteristics:
1) Participation: All men and women should have a voice in decision-making, either directly or through legitimate intermediate institutions that represent their interests. Such broad participation is built on freedom of association and speech, as well as capacities to participate constructively.
2) Rule of Law: Legal frameworks should be fair and enforced impartially, particularly the laws on human rights.
3) Transparency: Transparency is built on the free flow of information. Processes, institutions and information are directly accessible to those concerned with them and enough information is provided to understand and monitor them.
4) Responsiveness: Institutions and processes try to serve all stakeholders.
5) Consensus Orientation: Good governance mediates differing interests to reach a broad consensus on what is in the best interests of the group and, where possible, on policies and procedures.
6) Equity: All men and women have opportunities to improve or maintain their well-being.
7) Effectiveness and Efficiency: Processes and institutions produce results that meet needs while making the best use of resources.
8) Accountability: Decision-makers in government, the private sector and civil society organizations are accountable to the public, as well as to institutional stakeholders. This accountability differs depending on the organization and whether the decision is internal or external to an organization. It is clear that good governance is an ideal which is difficult to achieve in its totality. The countries, which have come close to achieve good
governance in its totality, are able to achieve sustainable human development. It is a known fact that economic growth is a means to sustainable Human development not an end itself. There are five aspects to sustainable human development all affecting
the living of the poor & vulnerable.
1) Empowerment: The expansion of men and women’s capabilities and choices increases their ability to exercise those choices free of hunger, want and deprivation. It also increases their opportunity to participate in, or endorse, decision-making affecting their lives.
2) Co-operation: With a sense of belonging important for personal fulfillment, wellbeing and a sense of purpose and meaning, human development is concerned with the ways in which people work together and interact.
3) Equity: The expansion of capabilities and opportunities means more than income – it also means equity, such as an educational system to which everybody should have access.
4) Sustainability: The needs of this generation must be met without compromising the right of future generations to free of poverty and deprivation and to exercise their basic capabilities.
5) Security: Particularly the security of livelihood. People need to be freed from threats, such as disease or repression and from sudden harmful disruptions in their lives. According to the Human Development Report 1999, South Asia remains region divided between the types of rich and despair of the poor. A region where the richest one-fifth areas almost 40 percent of the income and the poorest one-fifth makes do with less than 10 percent. A region where today begins with the struggle of survival for 515 million poverty ridden destines, and tomorrows threatens the future of 395 million illiterate adults, where women are often denied basic human rights and minorities continue their struggle against prejudice and discrimination, about one twelfth of the world’s population live in a state of severe deprivation, lacking & sufficient access to adequate nutrition, health, housing, safe water, sanitation, education and employment, so the big challenge is to put the region on the path of humane responsible development, as what has been the main problem in the regions governance and how they can be addressed.