Civic Engagement in Policy Development and Implementation

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1 Civic Engagement in Policy Development and Implementation Adil Khan Expert on Participatory Governance Former Chief, Socio-economic Governance & Management Branch, UNDESA

2 Why Civic Engagement: The Context Challenges Opportunities Commitments

3 The context contd. CHALLENGES: DEVELOPMENTAL Globalization and liberalization 1. Many countries benefited( except Sub-Sahara), but unequally both at national as well as at international level income level of top 20% increased, bottom 20 same or decreased 2. Now 50 LDCs, in 1971 only 23; Global GDP share of LDCs 0.5% 3. Market responds to the better off, marginalizing the poor and the disadvantaged average HDI for the developing countries recorded fall in 90s( the peak period of globalization) 4. Government policies are becoming pro-market and pro-rich and governments losing policy space; uncertainties increased 5. Along with economic power, poor lost and continue to lose political power 6. Democracy deficits intrinsic to many countries accentuating the disempowering effects of globalization 7. Rising corruption deepening poverty 8. Environmental deterioration 9. Increased uncertainties the rising phenomenon of rotating poor

4 The context contd. CHALLENGES: GOVERNANCE Democracy Movement and the citizens 1. With the collapse of cold war, new wave of democracy during 80s and 90s, 81 countries democratized 2. Democratizations meant overthrow of authoritarian governments, replaced with multi-party democracies 3. Many of these democracies, both new and old are failing to produce desired social and economic results 4. Rise of, illiberal democracy that marginalizes the poor and undermines their interests, contributing to social and economic inequities 5. Many argue that situation is only slightly different even in developed countries 6. Overall, people are losing trust in governments 7. 9/11 brought on new risks to democracy

5 The context contd. OPPORTUNITIES Democracy, media, civil society and ICT 1. Despite its shortcomings and slow progress, democracy has created space for participation 2. Media is more active in debating public issues, though there are concerns that its increasing corporate ownership is contributing to political bias as well as its shifting interest in profit making journalism 3. Rise of civil society creating opportunities for citizen participation in public policies 4. ICT has opened new opportunities for increased connectivity and e- government initiatives have the potential to improve delivery of services and public accountability etc.

6 The context contd. Commitment The Internationally agreed or United Nations development agenda (UNDA) including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 1. MDGs: 7 out of 8 goals are poverty reduction and social development related. 2. UNDA/MDGs are a global compact for achieving prosperity, equity and social justice both within countries and across nations 3. Implementation of UNDA/MDGs calls for a development strategy that is : (i) rights-based pro-poor; and (ii) a policy making process that is democratic, participatory, transparent and accountable in other words, a governance framework that is engaging, multi-stakeholder based, one that produces pro-poor and/or socially equitable developmental outcomes

7 The Context of Engagement Challenges Globalization s marginalizing effects warrant re-engagement Commitments UNDA/MDGs: Development With equity Democracy/ICT: opportunity for connectivity Opportunities

8 Engaging Governance - A Broader Concept than Government State Creates enabling political and legal environment; protects rights; provides services Generates investments, jobs, income, goods and services, growth Private Sector Advocates and dialogue for equity, social justice and environment Civil Society

9 Internationally Agreed Development Agenda, MDGs: The Policy and Governance Framework Policy framework Sustained Economic Growth Poverty Reduction Social Development and Equity Environmental Sustainability Expected governance framework: Political: Rights components Protection of rights Democracy Rule of law and freedom of media/access to information Socio-economic: Development Component Macro-economic policy Enabling environment for investment and growth Planning, budgeting, implementation and monitoring of public programmes

10 The framework of public governance Rights Components Political Judiciary Law and order institutions Legislative Regulatory frameworks for property rights, environment, access to information etc. Social Institutions (CSOs, NGOs etc.) Media Development Management Components Economic Institutions( planning, budgeting, macro-economic policies etc) Decision-making arrangements: committees, advisory institutions, partnerships etc. Public Administration and service delivery ( national/sub-national institutions, processes) Accountability/Transparency institutions

11 Civic Engagement in policy development and accountability: basic parameters Importance of: shared vision, responsibility and equal participation of all stakeholders in development multi-stakeholder rights and demands, especially those of the poor and the disadvantaged be mainstreamed into the policy processes citizen participation in accountability and transparency processes of public governance efficient and effective implementation of public policies and programmes, equity in service delivery and feedback on impact Linkage between rights with development management component

12 Emerging models of civic engagement Civic engagement in policy formulation: the case of national economic and social councils (NESCs): Originated in Europe in 1950s as a consultative framework for reconstruction of war ravaged economy Re-oriented during 1970s during financial crisis as a platform for conflict resolution between the labour and the entrepreneurs, to stabilize labour market and stimulate growth During 1980s, post globalization s marginalization and other negative impacts, warranted broadening the scope of ESCs to include social and environmental dimensions into policy deliberations which also paved way for inclusion of civil society organizations into the ESCs In terms of institutional positioning some are established through organic law, some through act of parliament and others, through decrees The operating methods including the institutional arrangements of CSO participation vary from country to country some countries define clearly the rules of participation, others operate more flexibly Roles vary some function in advisory capacity, others are intrinsic to the entire policymaking process including follow up Memberships vary from as little as 10 (Aruba) to as large as 109 (Brazil) Relations with other institutions of the government, especially the legislature vary from country to country ESCs set up through the legislative process have clearly defined and acceptable process of deliberation Among the developing countries the ESCs in Brazil, South Africa and Mauritius are very effective, whereas in may African countries where ESCs have been set up as colonial legacies ( especially in sub-sahara Africa) are very weak

13 Emerging models in policy contd. ESCs: Successes and difficulties Successes Influence government decisions Influence budget Improve service delivery Promote pro-poor initiatives Countries with successful ESCs record higher HDI values Difficulties Has an urban bias and lacks rural linkage Absence of legal basis induce vulnerability Poorly defined institution arrangements rules of game- weaken outcome Absence of political commitment and national ownership Capacity deficits

14 Emerging models in policy contd. Poverty reduction strategy paper (PRSP) Networking governance Deliberative democracy Direct democracy Participatory budgeting Social accounting/audit

15 Emerging Civic Engagement (CG) Initiatives CG Initiatives Purpose Impact Challenges National Economic and Social Councils (NESCs) Multi-stakeholder engagement in policy development Sustained economic growth, higher HDI, low gini coeff. Tension with the parliamentary process; urban based; capacity deficits in participation management Participatory budgeting Accountability and transparency in budgeting; Pro-poor allocations; increased tax payments Complex methodology; elite capture, tension with the parliamentary processes Participatory local government planning and development Transparency, accountability, improved service delivery Deliberative democracy; improved service delivery Conflict about CSO representativeness, capacity deficits Participatory/social audit Transparency and accountability in public expenditure Low CPI SAIs not comfortable, capacity deficits

16 Emerging models of Civic engagement : lessons Democracy and fair elections are important, but not a sufficient platform to incorporate citizen views and needs into body politic, there are many malfunctioning democracies Influenced by a range of factors, both local and international, emerging political economy warrant constant renewal and adjustment to existing democratic institutions and their processes Civic engagement has the capacity to deepen democracy, enhance citizen ownership, build trust in government, reduce corruption and induce pro-poor impacts on development other things remaining same, civil society participation in public programmes improves service delivery by 30% Complemented by political freedom and civil liberties, civic engagement in public accountability reduces corruption significantly Models vary - replication CE models requires careful examination of local institutional, methodological and capacity issues There are multiple options and many administrative layers of participation Direct democracy effective when situation warrants and efficiently conducted Application of ICT is an important and efficient tool Poorly designed and badly operated civic engagement is counter productive Capacity building of both government and civil society organizations key to the successes of CEs Long term strategy, constant monitoring of both the processes and outcomes, are key to the successes and sustainability of CE initiatives

17 The capacity building issues Assigning normative value: the right to participate: Recognizing that civic engagement, a core value of good governance According legal basis Understanding the balance in engagement linkages: vertical between government and citizens; and horizontal between citizen-to-citizen Establishing regulatory measures: setting standards, norms and principles: Defining roles and responsibilities of different actors Establishing mechanisms of participation Providing human, financial and informational resources The enabling political environment Creating regenerative options: Skills in participation management Skills in transforming participation inputs into accountable policies Building CSO capacities in policy dialogue Developing accreditation strategy for the CSOs Create pro-poor leadership values among citizenry

18 The framework of engagement Normative Core value Democracy Decentralization Civil liberties Rule of law Regulative Rules, regulations, procedures etc. Training Regenerative: Capacity development

19 Engagement as a Process Issue Feedback Agenda Audit Partnership Evaluation Monitoring Implementation Dialogue/ Policy Development

20 A parting message The constitution should not only be a source of guaranteeing the individuals their political rights, but be a means of organizing democratic conversations for our common goals. Barack Obama in Audacity of Hope

21 THANK YOU!

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