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Evolution of Governance Free essay! Download now

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Evolution of Governance

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Downloads to date: N/A | Words: 805 | Submitted: 07-Nov-2011
Spelling accuracy: 98.4% | Number of pages: 2 | Filetype: Word .doc

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The evolution of the definitions of governance


Discuss on the evolution of governance.

The concept of "governance" is not new. However, it means different things to different people. The concept has been around in both political and academic discourse for a long time, referring in a generic sense to the task of running a government, or any other appropriate entity for that matter.
The use of the term governance gained unprecedented momentum in both their quest and usage in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. However, as the twenty-first century gets under way, there does not seem to be a consensus as to what they mean. In a highly dynamic environment, politically, socially, economically, and culturally, these terms mean different things in different contexts.


Towards the end of the twentieth century, the term governance gained the prominent attention of donor agencies, social scientists, philanthropists and civil society. This popularity stems from the fact that it can be applied to a wide range of issues, relationships and institutions involved in the process of managing public and private affairs. The term governance enlarges and better illustrates what Governments should be focusing on. In addition, at the end of the cold war, the usage of the term was revitalized as donor agencies, notably the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), and Western countries urged the countries of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the countries of the developing world to undertake political, economic and administrative reforms and to practice good governance. The conceptualization of the term does not, however, seem to have been consistent, and it has generated various definitions and meanings, as shown below.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in its 1997 policy paper,3 defined governance as “the exercise of economic, political and administrative authority to manage a country’s affairs at all levels. It comprises the mechanisms, processes and institutions through which citizens and groups articulate their interests, exercise their legal rights, meet their obligations and mediate their differences”. This definition was endorsed by the Secretary-General’s inter-agency sub-task force to promote integrated responses to United Nations conferences and summits. Over the past 10 years, the number of country level programmes on governance supported by the United Nations system has expanded considerably.

In 1993, the World Bank defined governance as the method through which power is exercised in the management of a country’s political, economic and social resources for development.4 While the World Bank has focused on stabilization and State reforms that overwhelmingly focused on civil service retrenchment and privatization for a long period, the early 1990s saw a change of focus. The Bank
came to realize that most of the crises in developing countries are of a governance nature. Hence, the contemporary adjustment package emphasizes governance issues such as transparency, ...

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