What will it take to get to Governance for All?


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Governance for All sounds a lot like Education for All.  That's the global movement, led by UNESCO, that aims to meet the learning needs of all children, youth and adults by 2015.  But this time it's the World Bank, and our own Dani Kaufmann, launching a new blog on governance.   A great idea.

Writes Kaufmann in his inaugural post, "The governance puzzle is far from solved; many questions are waiting to be answered. Others are subject to ongoing debate...We still need to learn how governance matters more in particular countries or institutions, or whether it only matters in the longer term. Whether it influences other major determinants of development. Which concrete factors and measures account for improved governance and corruption control. Which practical measures work better than others. Why some countries and institutions have improved, others deteriorated, and others just stagnated.  For instance, is developing stronger institutions to put some checks and balances on the executive more important than adopting anticorruption decrees and laws?...These questions are but a few of those researchers and practitioners are currently grappling with in many corners of the globe. They deserve to be shared and debated more widely."  I could not agree more.  We wish the blog luck and many good posts.

Dani's questions remind us of our own little governance conundrum in South Asia---Bangladesh--that we posed in 2006.  Read more about the Bangladesh conundrum in the flagship report that gave this blog its name.

But going back to Education for All, I wondered whether as a movement Governance for All can garner the universal support that EFA has.  Some of the answers (or at least the questions) might be gleaned from the "Ten things you need to know about Education for All", and relating the state of knowledge and play on governance to these ten things, particularly in developing countries.  I list these ten things and questions they might imply for building strong support for "governance for all".

Ten things about Education for All that might come in handy in thinking about Governance for All.

1. EFA is a right. Is Governance a right?
2. EFA is a means to an end. Is Governance being promoted and practiced as a means to an end? Is the end clear?
3. EFA is everyone’s concern. Is Governance everyone's concern?
4. EFA really is FOR ALL. Is Governance really FOR ALL?
5. EFA is for all ages. Is Governance for all ages?
6. EFA means quality learning.

(this does not translate well, but here's a try)
Is the impact of quality good Governance easy to measure?

7. EFA is making progress. Are we making progress on Governance?
8. EFA is far from finished. Is Governance far from finished? Do we know what "finished" means?
9. EFA needs support from everyone. Does Governance need support from everyone? Does it have it?
10. EFA is worthwhile. How is Is Governance worthwhile?



Shekhar Shah

Economic Advisor, South Asia

Join the Conversation

May 15, 2009

The interaction of social institutions has all the signs of a real dialogue. Society in its development - in the unity of innovation and preservation of traditions, is a dialogue (and polylogue) of many social institutions. From this perspective, one can speak of a dialogue of social institutions of governance on the one hand, and the social institution of education, on the other.

May 05, 2009

Education for all sounds more interesting and more necessarily. As for the Governance at all I thing this is undoubtly a strong right. I read Dani Kaufmann’s blog and like the ideas and goals he pursues. It’s a pity he is no more at WorldBank but I think he will for sure implement all his potential at the new place.

German Dude
March 05, 2009

I'm glad you posed these ten questions and I would be happy to see someone answer them. When it comes to meeting the learning needs of all children, I don't think this will be done by 2015.

vivek john varghese
August 19, 2010

i think more important than the demography of governance what one needs to focus on is whether there exists transparency and accountability facilitating structures and frameworks in the institutions and procedures of governance in countries and the process of elections itself. if suitable frameworks and regulations are in place in both these aspects they automatically act as filters to permit good governance and prevent politicians and government from engaging in damaging or harmful actions and policies