Extracted from:
    Edited by Carmen Malena

    Building support for participatory governance
    1.        “This, in turn, can lead to improved implementation through more effectively targeted
    programs and the need for fewer subsequent adjustments.

    2.        Citizen monitoring can ensure the rational use of resources and provide a safeguard
    against leakages, while citizen evaluation can provide feedback on problems or shortcomings
    in service delivery and, ideally, propose collective solutions.

    3.        In Kenya, Tajikistan, and Tanzania, for example, local level participatory governance
    initiatives supported by the Aga Khan Foundation have led to concrete improvements in priority
    sectors, such as education, health, water, and sanitation (Chapter 4).

    4.        Participatory budgeting initiatives have resulted in improved roads and market
    infrastructure in Zimbabwe (Chapter 9), and decreased crime rates in Uganda and Canada
    (Chapters 7 and 10), while, in the Philippines, local government units, using social contracts,
    have realized millions of pesos in savings (Chapter 8).”

    5.        Finally, participatory governance approaches can contribute to political stability and
    peace. The risk of instability is increased when citizens lack trust in government, when
    government is perceived as corrupt or unresponsive, or when it fails to deliver essential
    services. Actions, such as public protests, street demonstrations, strikes, and riots, result
    when channels for more constructive dialogue and negotiation are lacking. As experienced in
    Zimbabwe (Chapter 9),
CPI The Lebanese Center for Public Information

14. Concept adoption, and
Different approaches to
Participative governance
around the globe and in Lebanon.
    1)        Why is youth best placed to lead the project of participative planning and
    participative governance?

    a.        Because our politicians, those who were in the driving seat, as well as
    those who want to take their place, are incapable or unwilling to follow that
    path. Forty four years after President Chehab, they still do not realize the
    importance of good governance and good planning. Even if they did, it would
    not be in their interest to introduce them.
    b.        The older generation does not understand and would not accept new
    concepts because they believe only in age, experience, qualifications, or the
    power of the establishment that has bribed them into submission. Those who
    would not take bribes have been simply shunned out.
    c.        The few experts left in Lebanon (economists, scientists, professionals)
    who have not yet immigrated are too busy, too skeptical or too wary to take the
    lead. Or they simply cannot afford to be involved in a nation building process
    that demands sustained and selfless sacrifice. However, I believe that many
    would eventually go along, if someone else would open the way for them.
    d.        Who are we left with? We are left with university youth who have some
    education, some knowledge, some awareness, and the necessary
    enthusiasm to become the inspirers of the new system of participative
    governance and participative planning, if it is patiently and clearly explained
    and taught to them.

    2)        How can we recruit university youth for this task?

    a.        By organizing some internships  and explaining the nature and the
    purpose of the project
    b.        By communicating with them by email, through on line media like
    facebook, twitter, and the blogs
    c.        By word of mouth in the universities and through the students
    d.        By holding conferences on the subject
    e.        Through the media (TV, magazines, newspapers)

    3)        Why is it urgent to introduce these reforms now?

    a.        Time is ticking away. The examples of Tunis and Egypt are there to
    prove it. The old order and the old systems are no longer valid. Furthermore
    we are now being enticed and or coerced into adopting extremist solutions
    that could lead the country into the unknown. We have to do something to
    reverse the present trend, even if that something is out of the usually accepted

    4)        Why is it necessary for the citizens to participate in the planning and in the
    governance and monitoring process?

    Because past experience has demonstrated, both in Lebanon and in other
    countries like Egypt, Tunis, and elsewhere in the region as well, that in many
    instances, many officials in government who try to perform honestly can be
    either bribed or forced to tow the line. Allowing the citizens to participate in the
    governance  will  reduce the chances of such subversion.

    Also, the members of the private sector can provide some new ideas and
    suggestions that may serve to improve the performance of the public

    5)        If a National Development Plan is a prerequisite for introducing these long
    awaited reforms, what are the main subjects that will be dealt with in that Plan?

    a.        So far, we have identified sixteen main subjects that, we believe, are
    suitable to form part of the National Development Plan:

    A.        Social Policy
    1.        Education
    2.        Health
    3.        Poverty eradication
    B.        Infrastructure
    1.        Solid & liquid waste
    2.        Water
    3.        Electricity
    4.        Environment
    5.        Roads and transport
    C.        Economic development
    1.        Agriculture
    2.        Industry
    3.        Trade
    4.        Services
    5.        Communications
    6.        Tourism
    D.        Financial policy
    1.        Fiscal policy
    2.        Debt reduction

    b) Other subjects may have to be added to that list. Among them I can think of the oil
    and gas exploration, and a carefully considered and citizens monitored privatization
    The consequences of marginalizing the

    " Implementing participative governance in Tunisia and Egypt
    a decade ago would have probably prevented the revolutions
    that recently took place in these two countries.

    The main grievances of the protesters s were that they were
    being ignored by their government and kept out of the
    governance process; with the corruption, and the neglect of
    the people's interests that resulted from that marginalization."

    F. Prerequisites of effective participation

    36. As noted above, there is no guarantee that participation will always be
    effective in reaching the goals of public policy or development. It may sometimes
    even be counterproductive to equity and social justice. It is necessary to take a
    broad overview of the prerequisites of effective participation, based on both
    conceptual and empirical foundations.

    37. Participation is regarded as “effective” when it yields greater influence for
    ordinary people, especially the poor and socially excluded. That influence can be
    over government actors, politicians and bureaucrats, and their own destinies. In
    order to be “effective”, participation must not only reveal the preferences of
    ordinary people but also enable those preferences to shape outcomes. There must be
    processes and forums, formal or informal, through which they can voice
    their concerns and affect decisions. Ordinary citizens should be sufficiently
    confident and capable of contacting and obtaining responses from bureaucrats, elected
    representatives and other public agents. They should be able to have an impact by
    lobbying or demonstrating collectively. When those conditions are manifest,
    “effective” participation and empowered participatory governance is a reality.

    38. Recent research has identified a number of essential prerequisites to effective
    participation. One strand has drawn attention to the importance of “empowered
    participatory governance”. It argues that what determines the success of
    participation is not so much the technicalities of institution design as much as the
    creation of “countervailing power” — a variety of mechanisms that reduce, and
    perhaps even neutralize, any power-advantages of powerful actors in a given

    39. Another strand of research has emphasized striving for the realization of the
    whole range of human rights as a precondition of effective participation. The
    necessary countervailing power cannot be created without the fulfilment of civil political
    rights such as freedom of speech and information, and equal access to
    justice, among others. Some research argues that the poor must be ensured a certain
    minimum degree of economic security before they can be expected to engage in
    activities geared to the creation of countervailing power.

    40. In this context, the issues of transparency and accountability have been much
    emphasized. Without transparent decision-making processes, “distant participants”
    cannot be certain that their views and aspirations will receive due consideration.
    Without adequate procedures and institutions for holding the “direct”
    decision makers accountable for their actions and inactions, “indirect
    participants” cannot ensure that decisions agreed upon through participatory processes will
    be followed.

    41. Therefore, the prerequisites to effective participation in which ordinary citizens can
    influence outcomes of decision-making processes include:
    1) mechanisms and systems that create an empowered citizenry,
    assured of their basic human rights,who are able to counterbalance
    powerful minority actors.
    2)  Transparency is imperative in creating the confidence that
    participants’ preferences are duly considered and ensuring that
    decision-makers are held accountable.