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Good governance in development-aid: making democracy-reforms sustainable
Södertörn University College, School of Social Sciences.
2005 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

February through March, 2005, I conducted a Minor Field Study (MFS) in Lao PDR together with a fellow-student. We were interested in a project in Laos called GPAR Luang Prabang, in which Sida, UNDP and the Lao Government are trying to improve the governance system in Laos. Luang Prabang is the province in the northern parts of Laos where the good governance-project were being implemented.

The main interest in this study concerns democracy aid in the shape of good governance and local ownership in development aid. Good governance is a highly debated topic in aid-literature, both because of the explosion of good governance projects the last ten or so years and because of the ambiguity that lies in the concept good governance. Different aid-actors give different meanings to good governance. Two definitions stand out: First there is the “narrow” definition that focuses on the economical steering of a country’s resources. The second, or “broad” definition of good governance, focuses on democratic aspects of the concept. Areas like participation, transparency, accountability and rule of law are high-lighted here. Different actors in the aid-society thus have different definitions of the concept.

Whether democracy aid works and becomes sustainable relies, according to the literature, on how well the partners in an aid-project can foster local ownership. Ownership means that the recipient is in control of the policy process, from highlighting a problem to implementing the solutions. The starting point in this thesis is the question whether the ambiguity in good governance- definitions constrains ownership in the policy process. Also, in democracy aid there is an interesting paradox: How can a project that aims at changing political power-structures be driven by those who have the most to gain from these structures? My study shows that when the partners in an aid-project are unable to settle for one definition of good governance, ownership is hard to reach. If the partners can not reach an agreement at an early stage in the process, ownership will suffer and sustainability will be hard to reach.February through March, 2005, I conducted a Minor Field Study (MFS) in Lao PDR together with a fellow-student. We were interested in a project in Laos called GPAR Luang Prabang, in which Sida, UNDP and the Lao Government are trying to improve the governance system in Laos. Luang Prabang is the province in the northern parts of Laos where the good governance-project were being implemented.The main interest in this study concerns democracy aid in the shape of good governance and local ownership in development aid. Good governance is a highly debated topic in aid-literature, both because of the explosion of good governance projects the last ten or so years and because of the ambiguity that lies in the concept good governance. Different aid-actors give different meanings to good governance. Two definitions stand out: First there is the “narrow” definition that focuses on the economical steering of a country’s resources. The second, or “broad” definition of good governance, focuses on democratic aspects of the concept. Areas like participation, transparency, accountability and rule of law are high-lighted here. Different actors in the aid-society thus have different definitions of the concept. Whether democracy aid works and becomes sustainable relies, according to the literature, on how well the partners in an aid-project can foster local ownership. Ownership means that the recipient is in control of the policy process, from highlighting a problem to implementing the solutions. The starting point in this thesis is the question whether the ambiguity in good governance- definitions constrains ownership in the policy process. Also, in democracy aid there is an interesting paradox: How can a project that aims at changing political power-structures be driven by those who have the most to gain from these structures? My study shows that when the partners in an aid-project are unable to settle for one definition of good governance, ownership is hard to reach. If the partners can not reach an agreement at an early stage in the process, ownership will suffer and sustainability will be hard to reach.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2005.
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-3841OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-3841DiVA: diva2:349381
Uppsok
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Supervisors
Available from: 2010-09-07 Created: 2010-09-07 Last updated: 2010-09-07Bibliographically approved

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