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Governance is arguably at the core of international development. But what role does it play in shaping both State and Society? And how does that work?

Governance has been an integral part of society since the dawn of civilisation, and especially in respect to what values, ethics and rules of conduct and justice should be upheld, how societies should be organised, and who should hold power and authority.

But what does one mean by governance in this context? The term governance does not carry a universally accepted definition. In its broadest form, governance is portrayed as oversight and management – quite apart from the narrow field of corporate governance.

Governance, it's generally accepted, encompasses two key but overlapping dimensions.

The first, referring to all aspects of the way a nation or subset of a nation is governed, including its institutions, policies, laws, regulations, processes and oversight mechanisms.

The second dimension is its cultural and ideological setting, because governance is both perceived and shaped by values, culture, traditions and ideology.

What does it mean to promote good governance for the benefit of humanity?

Much discussion about the definition of good governance has centred on what makes institutions and rules more effective and efficient, and this in order to achieve equality, transparency, participation, responsiveness, accountability, and the rule of law.

These aspects are crucial for the development of humanity and the eradication of poverty, since ineffective institutions usually result in the greatest harm being caused to those who are most vulnerable.

So without reference to a universal standard for governance, the notion of what is good is difficult to determine. However, there are emerging frameworks and assessment methodologies that are more outcome focused.

It's been demonstrated that societies with more effective and accountable governing institutions perform better on a range of issues, from economic growth to humanity and tackling both poverty and inequality.

Governance matters, and it plays a vital role in state and societal development. Governance should be seen as more than an input to economic growth and stability: it is both a means by which humanity grows, as well as an outcome to be measured.


This blog was written with the support and insight of one of our contributors. Thank you, Divya. As an MBA student specifically interested in marketing and culture, she is a contributor to the Perrin Carey blog. If you would like to contribute to moving governance forwards towards a more ethical and human centric framework, please contact Perrin.

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