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The Political Economy of Reform: Moving from Analysis to Action - Final Report

Antonio Lambino's picture

We have reported on this blog that the Communication for Governance  and Accountability Program (CommGAP) and the World Bank Institute’s Governance Practice (WBIGV) jointly organized a two-day workshop entitled “The Political Economy of Reform: Moving from Analysis to Action”.  Held in Washington, D.C. a few months ago, the workshop sought to explore the role that Political Economy Analysis (PEA) can play in supporting and informing real-world reform efforts.  The event brought together more than fifty participants from various sectors: representatives of donor organizations, senior journalists, private firms active in development policy and practice, academics and applied researchers, and World Bank senior operational staff. 

Pink Panties in the Mail

Sabina Panth's picture


The other day, I received a Facebook invitation to join a global network on ‘16-days of activism against gender-based violence’.  According to the description, the campaign has been helping to raise awareness about gender violence and its effect on women on a global-scale. The Facebook forum is intended for individuals and organizations championing the cause to share the achievements and challenges they have encountered toward building a global alliance.  The global alliance is intended to support the demands made to the states and institutions and the actions that are needed to pressure for better results.  Incidentally, I wrote my previous blog post on the increased use of social media in civilian-led activism and advocacy campaigns.  My membership to this new social networking site made me interested to learn more about how social media is helping to promote the cause of women’s issues worldwide.  Here are some of the examples I have collected, primarily from the Tactical Technology website.

When Upside Down is Right Side Up: A New Narrative for the Governance Agenda

Antonio Lambino's picture

Prof. Mick Moore spoke at the World Bank a few weeks ago to share his views on, among other things, the future of the governance agenda.  He also talked about a publication entitled “An Upside Down View of Governance”, published earlier this year by the DfID-funded Centre for the Future State (CFS), which he heads at the Institute of Development Studies in the United Kingdom.  Prof. Moore made the case that the governance agenda requires a fresh narrative – one that revolves around public authority, the legitimacy of which derives from shared local ownership of change processes.

For external actors, such as members of the international donor community, cultivating legitimate and effective public authority means departing from state building projects based on normative models.  While these models may have worked elsewhere, they often have elements that are incongruent with realities of many local contexts.

The Perils of Biased Communication: Lessons From an Election Campaign

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

While we're advocating for the role of communication in governance it is important to sometimes point out when communication doesn't work, or doesn't work the way you want it to. Critical questions for campaigns in general are: Can communication change people's minds and the way they decide? Can communication have any adverse effects that would go against the objectives of the campaign?

The Annenberg Public Policy Center and their initiative FactCheck.org organized an event last week, which had US interest groups discussing their campaign advertising in this year's US midterm election. A recent Supreme Court decision allows unlimited corporate funding for independent political broadcasts in candidate elections. This was first enacted in the 2010 election campaign and led to a wave of political advertising by groups other than parties and candidates. This created a veritable cacophony of voices from all sides of the political spectrum and made one wonder about the usefulness of it all.

Deliberation - What?

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

The practice of deliberation has had its place in participatory governance, in development and other areas, for some time. What do you think of when you hear "deliberation"? Porto Alegre's participatory budgeting? India's Gram Sabhas? Parliament? America Speaks? It's all that - and so much more.

In the most common understanding, deliberation is some form of interpersonal discussion about an issue of public concern. This can range from everyday talk about political issues at, say, the kitchen table, to formalized group discussions that aim at solving a common problem. One definition comes from Delli Carpini, Cook, and Jacobs*, who state that deliberation is "the process through which deliberative democracy occurs," a "specific, important, and idealized category within the broader notion of what we call 'discursive participation'." The category is ideal because, à la Habermas, it requires a range of ideal characteristics to be truly deliberative, first and foremost openness and equality of discourse.

Supporting Innovation by Connecting Local Actors: Reporting Tax Research in Kenya

Antonio Lambino's picture

Findings from the study of the social diffusion of ideas, products, and practices, suggest that innovation can be cultivated by building bridges that link previously disconnected networks and communities of practice.  CommGAP supported a project in Kenya which could very well be undergirded by this idea.  Implemented by the Panos Network's Relay Programme, the project has been documented in a recently published case study entitled “Reporting tax research: Connecting researchers and journalists for improved media coverage and debate in Kenya”.

It’s Our Money

Sabina Panth's picture

It has been argued that corruption cases are focused mostly on the offenders and retribution is calculated on material value. This leaves out the victims of corruption and the collective damage done to the society at large, especially when the malfeasance involves the misappropriation of public money.  The concept of ‘social damage’ is an emerging concept in the anti-corruption movement, which seeks to identify, quantify, and repair the impact and consequences of corruption on ordinary citizens.  It posits that citizens, as taxpayers, are entitled to a legal claim on public money and how it is spent because “every dollar lost in corruption is a dollar stolen from spending in education, social services, poverty reduction and job creation (Its Our Money)”.

Five Key Networks You Will Find Everywhere

Antonio Lambino's picture

 

The video posted above is the second in a series we are featuring on this blog.  The interview was conducted last June, during a learning event jointly organized by the World Bank Institute’s Governance Practice and CommGAP entitled “The Political Economy of Reform: Moving from Analysis to Action.” The event’s primary objective was to bring together relevant expertise and take stock of experiences from around the world on the ways in which political economy analyses have been and can be made more operationally relevant.  Featured in the video is Rakesh Rajani, head and founder of Twaweza (“we can make it happen” in Swahili), a “citizen-centered initiative, focusing on large-scale change in East Africa.”  From years of experience working in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, Rajani describes five local networks that he has found exist everywhere in these countries:

They are organic.  They are powerful.  They go to scale.  They matter to people’s lives.  People invest in those networks.  And they would be there even if every aid dollar dried up tomorrow… And you’ll notice that those five are typically not the organizations or the institutions that development actors work with.

Coalitions, Norms, and Extractive Industries

Johanna Martinsson's picture

My last blog post addressed progress made in the extractive industries, in terms of fighting corruption, and in particular the new U.S. law (the Dodd-Frank Act) that will impact some of the largest gas, oil and mining companies in the world when it goes into effect in 2011.  I also mentioned a few initiatives that have played an important role in advocating for this law and for a global norm on transparency.  Another important player in this field is the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), as rightly pointed out by a reader and colleague.  Launched in 2002, EITI advocates for transparency in the extractive industries through the publishing of financial information and promoting a culture of transparency that involves dialogue, empowering civil society, and building trust among stakeholders.  A fundamental principle of the EITI is the development of multi-stakeholder initiatives to oversee the implementation and monitoring process, which is supported through a multi-donor trust fund, managed by the World Bank.

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