Why good governance makes for better development

12 May 2011

A woman casts her ballot at a rural polling station in Catembe or the second day of the elections (UN Photo/P. Sudhankaran) A woman casts her ballot at a rural polling station in Catembe or the second day of elections in Mozambique. Photo: UN Photo/P. Sudhankaran

Good, or democratic governance as we call it at UNDP, entails meaningful and inclusive political participation – basically people having more of a say in all of the decisions which shape their lives. Read UNDP Chief Helen Clark's remarks at the 2011 High Level Interactive Thematic Debate on Good Governance at All Levels in Istanbul.

Giving people a voice and a stake in their governments and economies will help ensure that resource allocation and service delivery are more responsive to their needs.

Making sure that the law works for everyone is critical for development. Bringing informal businesses into the formal sector, for example, helps poor entrepreneurs better protect their earnings, grow their businesses, and create additional jobs.

Expanding strong and accessible justice systems is also crucial. If people are able to establish tenure or property rights this directly affects their chances of building a sustainable livelihood free from exploitation.

Regulating investment increases predictability and reduces risk. It also ensures that private sector participation is beneficial for the country and works for, and not against, sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

The entwined goals of achieving pro-poor economic growth, strong and stable societies, and healthy environments require that institutions formulate strong and transparent policies that take all three into consideration.

The active inclusion of all people in the decisions that affect their lives will make a difference to development at every level, from the global to the local.

Talk to us: How can we better support good governance and unleash the energy and will of citizens to initiate, support, and engage in development?

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