Defining Urban Governance

Keywords: representativeness, government, politics/politicians/political parties, participation, citizens duties and rights, interdependence, accountability, fairness, compliance, legetimacy,

The exercise of political, economic and administrative authority in the management of a countryís affairs at all levels. Governance comprises the complex mechanisms, processes, and institutions through which citizens and groups articulate their interests, mediate their differences, and exercise their legal rights and obligations.

Good governance is among other things participatory, transparent and accountable. It is also effective and equitable and it promotes the rule of law. Good governance assures that political, social and economic priorities are based on broad consensus in society and that the voices of the poorest and the most vulnerable are heard in decision-making over the allocation of development resources.

Governance includes the state, but transcends it by taking in the private sector and civil society. The state creates a conducive political and legal environment. The private sector generates jobs and income. The civil society facilitates political and social interaction ĀEmobilizing groups to participate in economic, social and political activities. Because each has its weaknesses and strengths, a major objective of our support for good governance is to promote constructive interaction among all three.

The regularized ways of ordering human societies at all levels of organization from family units to entire societies

Good governance occurs when societal norms and practices empower and encourage people to take increasingly greater control over their own development in a manner that does not impinge upon the accepted rights of others

UNDP Internet Conference Forum on
"Public Private Interface in Urban Environmental Management"

Governance refers to the process whereby elements in society wield power and authority, and influence and enact policies and decisions concerning public life, and economic and social development. Governance is a broader notion than government. Governance involves interaction between these formal institutions and those of civil society.

The Governance Working Group of the International Institute of Administrative Sciences 1996.

There is no alternative to working together and using collective power to create a better world. Governance is the sum of the many ways individuals and institutions, public and private, manage their common affairs. It is a continuing process through which conflicting or diverse interests may be accommodated and co- operative action may be taken. It includes formal institutions and regimes empowered to enforce compliance, as well as informal arrangements that people and institutions either have agreed to or perceive to be in their interest.

Examples of governance at the local level include a neighbourhood co- operative formed to install and maintain a standing water pipe, a town council operating a waste recycling scheme, a multi- urban body developing an integrated transport plan together with user groups, a stock exchange regulating itself with national government oversight, and a regional initiative of state agencies, industrial groups, and residents to control deforestation. At the global level, governance has been viewed primarily as intergovernmental relationships, but it must now be understood as also involving non- governmental organizations (NGOs), citizens' movements, multinational corporations, and the global capital market. Interacting with these are global mass media of dramatically enlarged influence.

The Commission on Global Governance

Governance is the written and unwritten policies, procedures, and decisionmaking units that control resource allocation within and among institutions

New forms of governance allow individual organizations to contribute their strengths and talents, to discharge their collective responsibilities and to preserve and enhance the distinctiveness of their organizations and institutions.

Sources unknown

The progress of a country depends in no small measure on the quality of its governance. While a democratic government may lay the foundation for good governance, a vigilant and active citizenry is essential to is sustenance. Nowhere is this need more evident that in the management of public sectors services for which citizens depend largely on their government. The quality of governance is enhanced when government as a whole and public agencies in particular become open to new ideas and responsive to citizens. Responsiveness in turn is improved when citizens are well informed and collectively seek better performance from these agencies.

Policy Affairs Centre

"Governance" is the art of public leadership. There are three distinct dimensions of governance:
  1. the form of political regime;
  2. the process by which authority is exercised in the management of a countryís economic and social resources; and
  3. the capacity of governments to design, formulate, and implement policies and discharge functions.
The criteria that constitute good governance have been drawn from these three dimensions, and include:
  • legitimacy of government (degree of "democratization"),
  • accountability of political and official elements of government (media freedom, transparency of decision-making, accountability mechanisms),
  • competence of governments to formulate policies and deliver services,
  • respect for human rights and rule of law (individual and group rights and security, framework for economic and social activity, participation).

Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development

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