The fact that good governance is of essence cannot be overstated. It is something that is desperately needed the world over and Sierra Leone is not an exception. Governance refers to all processes of governing, the institutions, processes and practices through which issues of common concern are decided upon and regulated.
Good governance adds a normative or evaluative attribute to the process of governing. From a human rights perspective it refers primarily to the process whereby public institutions conduct public affairs, manage public resources and guarantee the realization of human rights.
While there is no internationally agreed definition of ‘good governance’, it may span the following topics: full respect of human rights, the rule of law, effective participation, multi-actor partnerships, political pluralism, transparent and accountable processes and institutions, an efficient and effective public sector, legitimacy, access to knowledge, information and education, political empowerment of people, equity, sustainability, and attitudes and values that foster responsibility, solidarity and tolerance.
The Human Rights Council has identified the key attributes of good governance: transparency, responsibility, accountability, participation, responsiveness (to the needs of the people).
Good governance and human rights are mutually reinforcing. Human rights standards and principles provide a set of values to guide the work of governments and other political and social actors. They also provide a set of performance standards against which these actors can be held accountable.
Moreover, human rights principles inform the content of good governance efforts: they may inform the development of legislative frameworks, policies, programmes, budgetary allocations and other measures.
On the other hand, without good governance, human rights cannot be respected and protected in a sustainable manner. The implementation of human rights relies on a conducive and enabling environment. This includes appropriate legal frameworks and institutions as well as political, managerial and administrative processes responsible for responding to the rights and needs of the population.
In Sierra Leone, we should therefore continue to make sure that we practice democratic good governance at all levels for the good of our country and the people.