Governance refers to actions, processes, traditions and institutions
by which authority is exercised. It is most often associated with governmental
bodies at the national level and with regional or global institutions
such as the United Nations, but this need not always be the case. Private
institutions, such as corporations and non-governmental organizations,
also play an important role in governance. In all cases, developments
that affect participation, accountability, transparency, corruption and
civil strife have an important influence on the shape of the future.
Although the forms and effectiveness of governance differ markedly around
the world, various tendencies can be identified. One tendency is towards
greater individual autonomy and the devolution of authority. This shift
is expressed at the personal level in terms of a growing emphasis on individual
'rights' - human rights, women's rights and the like. It is also noticeable
in the devolution of governmental authority to smaller and more local
units and in separatist movements. The private sector, too, has moved
towards 'flatter' corporate structures and decentralized decision-making.
A second and somewhat opposite tendency is towards forms of greater regional
integration and global governance through such mechanisms as international
trade and environmental agreements. Another tendency is towards greater
integration and the growth of networks within and across private and public
institutions. This is seen, in part, in the rise of global public policy
networks and the emergence of civil society as an important voice in decision-making
in many regions.
|'In Policy First, continual movement towards greater coordination
is assumed ... in pursuit of a broader agenda.'
In Markets First, present trends are assumed to continue but with
heavier emphasis on ensuring the smooth functioning of markets. Efforts
are focused on the development of international institutions which encourage
free markets for resources, finance and products. In Policy First,
greater coordination is assumed, particularly at the level of international
governance. This includes the development of new institutions and more
cooperation between the public and private sectors. Significantly, these
changes are driven from the top, by governments, corporations or large
non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
In Sustainability First, the shifts in governance are assumed
to be driven much more from the bottom up. Reflecting the changing values
and making use of the trends towards greater participation in general,
individuals and grass-roots organizations become more and more involved
in setting the agenda, a lead that larger organizations then follow. Governments
continue to govern but do so in a fashion that involves more power sharing.
As with much else in the Security First scenario, assumed trends
regarding governance differ over time and across groups more than in the
other scenarios. Corruption, ineffective governance and reactions against
both, contribute to breakdown in parts of society. As societies regroup,
governance among the 'haves' is assumed to become more centralized and
autocratic, but largely effective. International coordination also bolsters
the relative stability of these groups. Among the 'have-nots', the nature
and effectiveness of governance is mixed.