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Governance

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French support for the tax authorities of developing countries (January 8, 2013)

Pascal Canfin, Minister Delegate for Development, today announced French support for the feasibility study to explore the “Tax Inspectors Without Borders” initiative launched by the OECD’s Task Force on Tax and Development in May 2012.

The French approach: democratic governance

“The art of governing that combines public affairs management at different local levels, by regulating relations within society and coordinating the action of different players”.

Beyond “good governance”

The need for governance became self-evident in the late 1980s, through its management angle: “good governance” or “good public affairs management”. The objective was to carry out economic reform under stable political conditions and fight corruption. The commonly-accepted definition of “good governance” was broadened thereafter and came to encompass the policy development and implementation process with stakeholder participation .

Most multilateral and bilateral donors and the European Commission are now equipped with governance strategies that continue to be the subject of international debate. France is actively working toward an interdisciplinary approach around democratic governance.

An integrated approach

The objective is to take into account the complexity of the issues at stake in public action so as to fight poverty more effectively, with sustainable human development as the underlying principle.

For this reason, in its inter-Ministerial strategy adopted in December 2006, France promotes an extensive and dynamic conception of governance.

-  It extends beyond the issue of institutions and forms of government.
-  It hearkens back, in all social groupings, to the decision-making process.
-  It includes not only all stakeholders (institutions, private sector, civil society, etc.), all levels (from the local to the global), all fields (political, economic, social, cultural, etc.) and the issue of security and, moreover, their interactions, within its very definition.

Governance is a process.

The aim is thus to help society rethink its own management processes and the governance procedures best-suited to the challenges it faces:

-  by fostering stakeholder participation in defining, implementing and assessing them, thereby guaranteeing the legitimacy and efficiency of development policies
-  in line with the universal and founding values of the democratic ideal recognised by international conventions and agreements.

To renovate development policy

This approach entails an evolution in cooperation targeting development, along the following lines:

1- Consideration for the two-fold dimension of governance

Governance is a sector for action that is deployed around the refounding of the State. At the same time, it is an approach that must be applied to all sector-specific policies, fostering their ownership and effectiveness toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

2- Giving full meaning to the concept of ownership

The quality of the cooperation process will depend on its ability to give each partner the specific experience and expertise it requires so that it may develop its own policies. Democratic governance is not aimed at a specific institutional system, but rather support for participatory processes, a driver for real ownership and the legitimacy of public action.

3- Reasserting the central place of the individual

The person must be a stakeholder and beneficiary of the development process with a view toward equality (in particular gender) and social equity.

4- Working to build human and institutional capacity

Capacity-building is aimed at increasing the legitimacy and efficiency of public institutions, as well as the ability for citizens to actually exercise their freedoms. The aim is also to step up interaction between the stakeholders, by building an environment conducive to dialogue (transparency, anti-corruption, participation, responsibility and accountability).

5- Adopting a partnership-based approach

Governance is a component that helps assess aid allocation, though it is not an instrument for automatic conditionality. A partnership-based approach is sought, in defining both the instruments for assessing governance and those used for aid.

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