Capacity to adapt is crucial for sustainable development – World Development Report

The World Development Report 2017: Governance and the Law has said the capacity to adapt, both politically and economically, is crucial for sustainable development.

According to the report high priority should be given to the continuous cultivation of adaptive policies and institutions.

Dr Deborah Wetzel, Senior Director, Governance Global Practice, World Bank, presented findings of the report in Accra.

The report deals with the topics such as governance and the law; “why are carefully designed, sensible policies too often not adopted or implemented? When they are, why do they often fail to generate development outcomes such as security, growth, and equity? And why do some bad policies endure?”

It addresses these fundamental questions, which were at the heart of development.

It said policy making and policy implementation do not occur in a vacuum; but rather, they take place in complex political and social settings, in which individuals and groups with unequal power interact within changing rules as they pursue conflicting interests.

The process of these interactions is what this Report calls governance, and the space in which these interactions take place, the policy arena.

It said the capacity of actors to commit and their willingness to cooperate and coordinate to achieve socially desirable goals were what matter for effectiveness.

“However, who bargains, who is excluded, and what barriers block entry to the policy arena determines the selection and implementation of policies and, consequently, their impact on development outcomes.”

The 300-page report said exclusion, capture, and clientelism were manifestations of power asymmetries that lead to failures to achieve security, growth, and equity.

It said the distribution of power in society was partly determined by history; yet, there was room for positive change.

The report reveals that governance could mitigate, even overcome, power asymmetries to bring about more effective policy interventions that achieve sustainable improvements in security, growth, and equity.

It said this happens by shifting the incentives of those with power, reshaping their preferences in favour of good outcomes and taking into account the interests of previously excluded participants.

It said these changes could come about through bargains among elites and greater citizen engagement, as well as by international actors supporting rules that strengthen coalitions for reform.

Dr Wetzel said three institutional functions such as commitment, coordination and cooperation matter for policy effectiveness.

The presentation was followed by a roundtable on the theme “Improving Good Governance to Meet Today’s Development Challenges” – solutions as to how Ghana could revive its old culture and ethos of integrity, transparency and accountability to fight the governance challenges it faces based on World Development Report 2017: Governance and The Law.

The discussants were Prof Henry Kwasi Prempeh, Executive Director, Centre for Democratic Development – Ghana; Mr Kofi Abotsi, Dean of GIMPA Law School and Dr Bossman Asare, Head of Political Science Department, University of Ghana.

Source: GNA

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