Just Governance: A critical cornerstone for an equitable and human rights-centered sustainable development agenda post-2015, Global Thematic Consultation on Governance and the Post-2015 Development Framework, Feb 2013
[excerpts from the executive summary]
Just governance is defined by six key, mutually reinforcing dimensions, each with their associated implications for the post-2015 sustainable development framework. To be truly
just, governance at all levels must be: 1) human rights-centred, 2) participatory, 3) transparent, 4) equitable, 5) guaranteeing of access to justice, rule of law and the fight against corruption, and finally 6) accountable.
Just governance in this sense is not a matter of external imposition, but an indispensable precondition for ensuring that the equal rights of all people and the sustainability of the planet effectively guide all policy making.
Impelling decision-makers to be more responsive, providing information about their decisions and actions, and making them ultimately answerable is key.
Governance in practice is often coloured by unequal relations of power.
Human rights and environmental standards, can help balance inequities and provide a common language and standard by which to hold all actors accountable.
The new post-2015 framework must be universally applicable in rich and poor countries alike and must remain at the service of and owned by poor people themselves.
Fulfillment of all human rights is both the purpose and the ultimate litmus test of success for the post-2015 agenda.
Duties will have to be clearly attributed primarily to governments, but also to the private sector.
Well informed people will need to meaningfully participate in all stages of the legal reform, of budget making, of fiscal, tax and development policy cycles.
The ability to consistently monitor and review the conduct of development actors against established responsibilities is an essential prerequisite for just and accountable governance (i.e., monitoring of both of outcomes and of policy processes – and both of progress and of backsliding!)
Tax justice between and within countries will also need to be closely monitored.
A clear and unequivocal accord regarding who is responsible for what post-2015 commitments will be indispensable.
Without progress on just governance, there is a serious risk of predisposition to failure in all other areas, with a mirage of success belying the absence a truly transformative sustainable development agenda.