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Strengthening Good Governance Practices in Conflict Afflicted Countries: Current Priorities and Future Interventions

Beirut, Lebanon

Good governance remains a critical ingredient for socio-economic development as well as for peacebuilding. In light of the development challenges facing Western Asia, in conflict affected countries in particular, the consecration of good governance practices is all the more pressing but continues to face a wide range of obstacles. The most serious challenges within the public sector remain the depletion of human resources and physical infrastructure as well as the desperate need to upgrade and develop outdated administrative practices. These practices have rendered public institutions unable to cope with the increasing demand for essential services. If not addressed, such a state of affairs will continue to curtail the development of the political and economic systems at the national and regional levels, seriously hindering the attainment of national development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

In developed and developing nations, reform and improvement initiatives of the public sector's performance may have been influenced in some cases by interest groups aiming to capitalize on state resources for narrow local interests, which are not necessarily concurrent with national interests. The influence of such interest groups varies from country to country in Western Asia and beyond. Reform initiatives have also suffered from the inadequate expertise of civil servants or public officials.  It is hence crucial to introduce good governance practices as a developmental mean, targeting civil servants through tailored capacity-building modules, in order to raise the awareness of the general public and decision-makers that good governance practices are a conduit for the economic well-being of all members of society, particularly those countries suffering from conflict and political instability. Human capital development on the basis of results-based management, under the overarching principles of human rights, anti-corruption and performance management, is critical for institution-building of the public sector. Such human capital development is also  essential to sustain and drive reform, including the facilitation and the realization of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). As such, reform of the public sector remains essential but should be tackled within the socio-economic needs context and not the political context.