• Post-2015: Participatory, responsive institutions must top the agenda | Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi

    06 May 2013

    woman votes in Kenya
    A participant casts her ballot at a mock elections training in Kenya. (Photo: Ricardo Gangale/UNDP Kenya)

    The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have been instrumental in affecting development progress over the past decade, characterized in the latest Human Development Report with “the rise of the South”. However, a lot still remains to be done as the gap between the richest and the poorest, within countries and across countries, has kept growing.

    As we just passed the 1000-day mark before the deadline for achieving the MDGs, much remains to be done. The United Nations is pulling out all the stops to accelerate progress towards the MDGs by the deadline of 2015.

    Delivering on the MDGs’ promise has been met with numerous challenges, including governance failures and accountability gaps, a reality that has been acknowledged by a range of development players.  

    There is a growing acknowledgement of governance failures and accountability gaps as bottlenecks in the context of the MDGs. The Global Thematic Consultation on Governance, part of a global conversation through which people can help shape the next global development agenda, considered the following key issues:
    -  who should be  responsible for ensuring the achievement of Post-2015 goals
    -  how to align global governance goals and targets with international commitments
    -  how to tailor them as needed at the national level

    Far too often, local communities derive little or no benefit from the exploitation of their natural resources, resulting in increasing inequalities, fragmented societies, instability and conflict. Participation and accountability are crucial in ensuring that institutions are responsive to the needs of people and that public resources are used effectively and equitably. Development must remain people-centered for it to be meaningful.
     
    The private sector must move beyond corporate social responsibility to a new paradigm of corporate accountability. It is critical to rethink public-private partnerships as "public-people partnerships", in which private businesses contribute to sustainable human development and people have the right to decide for themselves how natural resources should be utilized.

    Governance is only good as the freedom and capacity of people to speak out, to access the institutions, information and hold governments to account. In the Indian state of Rajasthan, the “Right to Hearing” Act ensures that every citizen receives a response to grievances within a reasonable timeframe.

    An “honest and responsive government” consistently comes out in the top three priorities for people worldwide. Let’s continue this conversation at http://www.worldwewant2015.org/governance to ensure that as governments start negotiating the new development agenda, they deliver a truly transformative one in which governance effectively contributes to delivering sustainable human development.

    Talk to us: What are your priorities for a responsive and accountable government after 2015?