Supporting considerations on the refounding of the State and dialogue with stakeholders
Above and beyond the administrative restructuring and renovation of public management, the reform of the State implies a political dimension with the restructuring of power and an in-depth cultural transformation for all players. The approach suggested by French governance strategy is not aimed at achieving any institutional regime in particular, but at supporting specific public models and policies in each society. It takes particular interest in the decision-making processes that are dependent upon the dynamics and interactions between all stakeholders (institutions, private sector, civil society), territorial level and fields in society (politics, economy, social, cultural).
De facto, under the influence of economic and social change, the State’s traditional limits are being changed by its opening and interaction with the other players. Innovative partnerships are being sought with the private sector to foster development. Responding to strong social demand, the States must also open up to civil society and the citizens, via participation, the creation of places for dialogue, transparency, responsibility, access to information and mandatory reporting. These democratic principles, along with equity, the independence of the justice system and the Parliaments, the defence of the principles of Rule of Law, the promotion of Human Rights and public freedoms serve as guarantors of the population’s trust in the government and, thereby, the legitimacy and stability of the institutions. The State also needs to prove its ability to constantly adapt to the environment and the socio-political and cultural environment in order to better respond the challenges which the country faces.
The Anti-Poverty Strategy Frameworks (APSFs) set out, in a single document, a country’s development strategies (growth policy, sector-specific strategies). They are drafted by the country using a participatory process, thereby making it possible for civil society to contribute to the elaboration of public policy. The implementation of the first-generation APSFs show, across the board, a lack of ownership and operationality of the documents. Against this background, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs has launched strategic think-tank efforts designed to make the APSFs fully operational. The aim is, in particular, to promote the involvement of all stakeholders and partners outside the field of development, in defining, implementing and monitoring-assessing the poverty-reduction strategies. It also encourages the creation of special places for dialogue and capacity-building, in particular aimed at non-governmental players (unions, NGOs, private sector).
Through such action, the State remains at the heart of the above negotiated processes, as a fundamental contributor to socio-economic development. The French vision does not promote less State, but a refounded State, acting as guarantor of general interest. The State alone can take on responsibilities in connection with the monopoly of constraint (sovereign functions), ensuring protection for all (security) and maintaining social cohesion (public services, education and regulation).