The concept of sustainable development was coined by the Brundtland Commission in 1987. It matured over time through different conventions, which were mostly led by the United Nations. As a consequence, the Agenda-2030 - the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been set for achieving within a fixed time period. The SDG has ambitious goals and targets, which require an omnipotent framework - a transformative shift in global development and the continuation of development paths for ensuring equity and dignity of all. Moreover, the new agenda aspires for a robust system of peaceful and inclusive societies and institutions, which entails execution and follow-up mechanisms to realize the agenda. Despite this development, the social, economic and environmental aspects are yet to be completely integrated in regular activities, business practices, policy-making, and lifestyles throughout this transition.
The process of SDG implementation has been striving for developing a system corresponding to good management for good governance, rather than having a focus only on sufficient resources. It is critical to make, distribute and use resources based on the underlying principles of sustainability. Therefore, a deeper look into the demand for sustainability corresponding to good governance may give us a clear picture on how influential an integrated system is in achieving the implementation agenda.
In principle, governance exists everywhere in all our daily practices, whether at home or outside. However, the integrated process of SDG implementation essentially requires good governance in decision-making processes. It shares several characteristics of the implementation path, which could run through an interplay mechanism between good governance and sustainable development agenda. The mechanisms deserve an eclectic process of capacity building on a range of levels, targets and aspects of good governance. Broadly, these may include: discussing strategies, policies and practices; meeting procedures; service measurement and delivery; duty bearer conduct (ethical perseverance), roles and responsibility clarification; and good working relationships. It seems that we indulge in many practices under these elements, but our efforts are disappointing in upholding ethical issues in matters like accountability, transparency, responsiveness, equity, rule of law, inclusiveness, efficiency, effectiveness, and participation.
Good governance measures address the strategic gaps in conventional systems. These are briefly discussed below:
The overall performance of good governance needs to be looked at in relation to the execution of sustainable development strategies. Both the agendas - good governance and sustainability - aim to achieve holistic success in public affairs, locally as well as nationally. This approach should explore how governance can advance sustainability through the growth of both existing and future institutional capacities. This should also address the roots of corruption, especially in developing countries.
Polin Kumar Saha is a Senior Research Associate at BRAC Research and Evaluation Division.
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