Putting Citizens at the Centre: Linking States and Societies for Responsive Governance
A policy-maker’s guide to the research of the Development Research Centre on Citizenship, Participation and Accountability
Prepared for the Conference on ‘The Politics of Poverty, Elites, Citizens and States’
Sponsored by the Department for International Development
June 21 – 23, 2010
The Politics of Poverty: Elites, Citizens and States
A Synthesis Paper
DFID Research and Evidence Division
Available online PDF [104p.] at: http://bit.ly/9Z5aSx
Evidence shows that in order to deliver sustainable international development we must be able to understand and work with its politics.
Governance describes the way countries and societies manage their affairs politically and the way power and authority are exercised. For the poorest and most vulnerable, the difference that good, or particularly bad, governance, makes to their lives is profound: the inability of government institutions to prevent conflict, provide basic security, or basic services can have life-or-death consequences; lack of opportunity can prevent generations of poor families from lifting themselves out of poverty; and the inability to grow economically and collect taxes can keep countries trapped in a cycle of aid-dependency. Understanding governance, therefore, is central to achieving development and ending conflict
The research argues that the political settlement is central to all development; and one that does not exclude powerful players is more likely to prevent conflict. But settlements also need to work at the grass roots level, representing the interests of social groups. Security is a precondition for development; this is a matter of survival and must be prioritised in countries recovering from conflict. Evidence presented here shows that in countries where cultural or ethnic groups feel there is economic, political and social inequality, wars are more likely. The future face of insecurity is not restricted to civil wars – more and more people are dying in social violence, particularly in cities [Chapters 2, 3 and 4].
The research looks at how governments can become more inclusive, and therefore more stable. States that are accountable only to some groups or that do
not regard some members of society as ‘citizens’ create inequalities that can fuel conflict. When citizens actively participate in society through local associations and movements outside the state, there are benefits to both state and society [Chapters 5 and 6].
The poor, more than any other group, rely on basic public services. For vulnerable families, access to education and healthcare are important routes out of poverty. The politics matters: services work better for the poor when poor citizens participate in reform of service delivery and the research looks at how this can be most effectively achieved. In conflict affected states the provision of services is very sensitive. Service delivery targeting excluded groups can reduce political tensions and improved security [Chapter 7].
What Really Works? Lessons from 10 years of DFID-funded Research on Governance and
Ten years of DFID-funded governance research has been brought into focus through a new report 'The Politics of Poverty: Elites, Citizens and States'.
* * *
This message from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO/WHO, is part of an effort to disseminate
information Related to: Equity; Health inequality; Socioeconomic inequality in health; Socioeconomic
health differentials; Gender; Violence; Poverty; Health Economics; Health Legislation; Ethnicity; Ethics;
Information Technology - Virtual libraries; Research & Science issues. [DD/ KMC Area]
“Materials provided in this electronic list are provided "as is". Unless expressly stated otherwise, the findings
and interpretations included in the Materials are those of the authors and not necessarily of The Pan American
Health Organization PAHO/WHO or its country members”.
Equity List - Archives - Join/remove: http://listserv.paho.org/Archives/equidad.html
IMPORTANT: This transmission is for use by the intended
recipient and it may contain privileged, proprietary or
confidential information. If you are not the intended
recipient or a person responsible for delivering this
transmission to the intended recipient, you may not
disclose, copy or distribute this transmission or take
any action in reliance on it. If you received this transmission
in error, please dispose of and delete this transmission.