1.1 Fundamentals of Governance: Concept, Context and Characteristics

Governance is the system or mechanism of the operating state. It is the exercise of political power to manage state affairs. Governance is the sum total of processes structures Institutions and customs through which the functions of governing is carried out. it is required for the well functioning of state mechanism and Society.

It is also defined as the manner in which power is exercised on the management of the country affairs. Governance is simply the way of conduction of the state. It implies to the monitoring, mobilization, management and service delivery.

UNDP in its strategy note on governance for human development defines “Governance is the system of values, policies and institutions by which a society manages its economic political and social affairs so interactions within and among the state civil society and private sectors“.

Fundamentals of Governance

That thing which represents the governance at all is usually taken as fundamentals of governance. We can categories them by:

Structural View:

  • People/Citizens
  • Government
  • State and its branches/Institutions
  • Political and administrative structures
  • Non-governmental organizations
  • International Organizations

Subjective View:

  • Constitution
  • Sovereignty
  • Separation of power & Check and Balance
  • Voting Right
  • Periodic Elections
  • Rule of Law
  • Human Rights
  • Social Justice & Inclusiveness
  • Transparency and Accountability

Functional View:

Conceptual Development of Governance

The Governance system across the world has been changing due to rapidly changing needs and expectations of the people and political culture. It has developed a traversing pre-historic period through medieval to post-modern period of today.

  • Governance is old as a state system.
  • Pluto and Aristotle advocated for governance as per the will of people and constitution.
  • 1215- Magna Carta: put forward the concept that governing power should be vested in people.
  • 1628- Declaration of Rights
  • 1688- Bill of Rights: It acquires the power of the king towards the parliament.
  • 1789 
    • Constitution of the USA: established the democratic governance system.
    • France Revolutions: acknowledged the people as the real governing power.
  • 1885- Rule of Law: A.V. Dicey gives the concept that no one should be above the law and advocate for the supremacy of law.
  • 1945- the establishment of the UN: the concept of global governance.
  • 1948- declaration of HR: establish the value of people and their rights.
  • 1990- Good Governance:

Nowadays the concept of governance is also driven by Network, Responsive and e-governance.

Fundamentals of Governance: Concept, Context and Characteristics

Context of Governance

Governance is old as human civilizations, though it is used to be rudimentary then. In the traditional sense, governance implies the function of controlling directing maintaining law and order and publishing in case of breach of law by State authorities. But in modern sense governance employees the lawful activities and functions of peoples representatives to pursue Public Interest embracing democratic norms and values. 

Modern governance can basically be categorised into two types parliamentary and presidential form of governance while the structure of government may be unitary or federal. governance has white straight scope fullest ranges from the womb to tomb,  ordinary public to the head of the state and village to the globe.

Actors of Governance

  1. Legislature
  2. Executive
  3. Judiciary
  4. Constitutional Bodies
  5. Private Sectors
  6. Social Sectors
  7. International Organizations

Characteristics of Governance/ Features of Governance

  • Civilian Supremacy
  • Rule of law
  • Representative system
  • Regulatory Power
  • Periodic Elections
  • Separation of power & Check and Balance
  • Independent and competent judiciary
  • Judicial Review
  • Human Rights
  • Multi-dimensional relations
  • Vision


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