Part 2: Issues in Sustainable Development



Decision-making is a central responsibility of good governance at both national and local levels. Democracy in principle requires that decision-making involve participation by all members of society. Even in a majoritarian representative system, a spirit of inclusiveness is preferable. Decentralizing responsibilities to local levels so that they are more accessible to people outside of the political system is one important way to increase inclusiveness. Avoiding corruption in order to limit the influence of insiders and the wealthy, as well as harm to the economy, is also vital for inclusive decision-making.

Main Idea

Formal procedures for making public policy

Key Concepts

      • Democracy
      • Decentralization
      • Corruption
      • Environmental Governance
      • Environmental Law
      • Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs)


Knowledge of

      • principles of democracy and decentralization
      • models of effective youth involvement

Understanding of

      • terms and characteristics of good governance
      • the importance of including minority view points
      • corruption
      • why should youth participate in decision-making
      • the role of institutions and environmental governance

Ability to

      • explain methods to combat corruption
      • describe how community participation in health care delivery improves the quality of service
      • describe how a decentralized system blending traditional governance with a modern participatory approach holds promise for improved governance of natural resources
      • define environmental governance

Core Readings

  1. What is Good Governance?
    Explanation of terms and characteristics of good governance (3 pages)
  2. Interest Groups, Public Participation and Decision-making in Sustainable Development
    The roles of citizens and community groups in decision-making (3 pages)
  3. Human Development Report 2000, Chapter 3: Inclusive Democracy Secures Rights, pages 1-3
    Principles of democracy and inclusion of minority view points (3 pages)
  4. You Can Stop Corruption
    Brief and clear explanation of the pervasiveness and harmfulness of corruption (1 page)
  5. Youth Participation in Decision-Making
    Why youth should participate in decision-making and models of effective youth involvement (3 pages)
  6. Environmental law and Multilateral Agreements
    Definitions for the terms “environmental law,” “precautionary principle,” “polluter pays,” “emissions trading,” and “multilateral agreements” (2 pages)
  7. Definition of Environmental Governance
    A definition of environmental governance including the agents, actions, rules, and characteristics involved (1 page)

Sustainability Strategies

  1. UN Anti-Corruption Toolkit
    5 cases and tools selected out of 41 distinct “tools” and case studies for states to use as models for combating corruption (each tool description is about 4 pages long)
  2. Community Participation in Health Care Delivery
    Presentation on program in Zambia to increase community participation in health care service delivery and data on resulting improvements (42 pages formatted as presentation, approximately 5 pages of text)
  3. Decentralization and Democracy - Ghana: Administration and Management of Gbawe Kwatei Family Customary Land, pages 85-86
    An approach to capacity-building involving institutional support to local decentralized institutions (2 pages)
  4. Kenyan delegation learns from the Tanzanian experience of mainstreaming environment
    Lessons learned regarding national development policy and planning processes; political acknowledgement of poverty and environment linkages and linkages between national and local authorities (1 page)

Supplemental Readings

  1. UN Anti-Corruption Toolkit, pages 10-16
    Definitions of types of corruption and their impact (7 pages)
  2. Equal Participation of Women and Men in Decision Making Processes
    Explains why the participation of women in decision-making is good for society and for women’s empowerment and discusses alternative mechanisms such as quotas in legislatures for ensuring inclusion (28 pages)
  3. Women and Decision Making
    Statistics on worldwide numbers of women in decision-making positions in government, media, and academia (3 pages)
  4. Local Governance for Poverty Reduction in Africa
    Discussion of experiences with decentralization in several African countries and the need to focus on inclusion of the poor to have a meaningful impact (30 pages)
  5. Institutions and Decision Making
    General overview of types of interest groups that are formed in the course of decision-making and how conflicts can be resolved; specific example from fishing industry (5 pages)
  6. Common Problems in Small Group Decision Making
    Practical guide for “group promoter” to enhance equal participation of group members and effective meetings (9 pages)
  7. Environmental Law Guidelines and Principles on Shared Natural Resources
    United Nations principles and guidelines on environmental resource issues arising between states, focusing on both cooperation and sovereignty (4 pages)
  8. Mainstreaming Multilateral Environmental Agreements for Human Development
    Studies on the Lake Victoria Basin explore mechanisms that can help to achieve the MDGs and how Multilateral Environmental Agreements can support improvements, particularly pro-poor payments (4 pages)
  9. The Architecture of Global Environmental Governance: Pros and Cons of Multiplicity
    Analysis and recommendations to respond to the advantages and disadvantages of the multiplicity and fragmentation of organizations involved in global environmental governance; productive overlap, conflict, inefficiency, and accountability are discussed and organizational overlap examples are included (17 pages)

Assignment Questions

  1. Decision-Making: Define “governance.” What are the characteristics of good governance?
  2. Interconnections: Decision-Making & Cultures: Explain the difference between majoritarian and inclusive democracy.