United Nations member states need to put governance at the heart of Post-2015

emmi Sep 25, 2013

As a coalition of civil society organisations, we urge the member states of the United Nations to place governance at the heart of the Post 2015 development framework. Transparency, accountability and citizen participation are integral to eliminating extreme poverty and promoting sustainable development.

The UN’s global consultations, involving more than a million people, have found citizens’ top three priorities to include “an honest and responsive government.” If the Post 2015 framework is to be credible with citizens, it needs to reflect this concern. Embedding transparency, accountability and citizen participation in the framework will help governments to build public trust and ensure more efficient and equitable public spending, while curbing the risk that public resources are wasted or lost to corruption. Specifically:

  • Citizens need information on the availability and allocation of public resources and the results of their use, and they need opportunities to participate in policy, so they can hold governments to account and help to drive improvements in public services. We support the call of the Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on the Post 2015 framework for a citizen-centred “data revolution” to support effective policymaking and ensure that its results are trackable.
  • For governance to be transparent, accountable and participatory, there needs to be freedom of speech, a legal right to information and an independent civil society. Time and resources need to be invested in ensuring that citizens, particularly the poor and marginalised, can play a meaningful part in the design, implementation and monitoring of Post 2015. Otherwise, policies may be badly- designed and lack legitimacy with the people they are meant to serve, limiting their effectiveness.
  • Strengthened governance should be the aim for all institutions whose work will affect the success of the Post 2015 framework, including multilateral bodies and non-state actors, particularly from the private sector. They should also be subject to transparency and accountability targets: for example, there should be full disclosure of donor aid, private investments and corporate taxes.

We welcome the recommendation by the High-Level Panel that “ensuring good governance and effective institutions” should be a stand-alone goal of the Post 2015 framework. We also welcome the Secretary- General’s statement that “effective governance based on the rule of law and transparent institutions” is an outcome and an enabler of development, and his call for a “participatory monitoring framework for tracking progress and mutual accountability mechanisms for all stakeholders.”

Our views are consonant with the letter from the Open Government Partnership’s steering committee, signed by Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, the Philippines, South Africa, Tanzania, the United Kingdom and United States, which calls for transparency, participation and accountability to be placed at the heart of the Post 2015 framework’s design through “simple, compelling and measurable goals and targets.” 

A goal on governance could be applied in ways which recognise distinct conditions in different countries: there are independent indices, review mechanisms and methodologies already in use which could help to set targets and measure progress. We would welcome the opportunity to offer detailed suggestions.

Statement by:

Actions for Genuine Democratic Alternatives (Liberia); Cafod; Campaign for Human Rights and Social Transformation (Nepal); Development Initiatives; Freedom Forum (Nepal); Fondation Chirezi (Democratic Republic of Congo); Global Witness; Integrity Action; International Budget Partnership); Luta Hamutuk (Timor Leste); Publish What You Fund; the Society for Civic Development (South Sudan); Transparency International.

For more information, please contact:

Vivek Ramkumar, Director International Advocacy and Open Budget Initiative, International Budget Partnership, at vramkumar@internationalbudget.org.

Claire Schouten, Programme Director, Network for Integrity in Reconstruction, Integrity Action, at claire.schouten@integrityaction.org.

Andrew Palmer, Senior Engagement and Advocacy Adviser at Development Initiatives, at andrew.palmer@devinit.org.