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About UNDP-POGAR

The Programme
- Brochure in English: 2006
- Brochure in Arabic: 2006
- Project Document RAB/99/005
- Project Evaluation Report ( Annexes )
- POGAR Organizational Chart [2007]

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Regional Bureau for Arab States (RBAS) launched the Programme on Governance in the Arab Region (POGAR) in early 2000. Recognizing the strong link between good governance and sustainable human development, POGAR aims to assist government actors, civil society, and the private sector to improve governance processes in the Arab states, always with a view to achieving sustainability. POGAR assists in a governance-augmentation process that is owned and managed by the countries themselves by offering an array of options, rather than blanket prescriptions, and working in partnership with actors in the region to identify needs and solutions.

POGAR's program activities relate to Rule of Law, Participation, and Transparency and Accountability. These activities include providing policy advice, engaging in institutional capacity building, and testing policy options through pilot projects. Since its inception, POGAR has launched projects to promote dialog about judicial reform; build the capacities of parliaments, particularly in the area of information-management and research capabilities; and educate governance actors about methods for combating corruption.

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This Website

The website developers focused on eight substantive themes of governance that apply the three principles of participation, rule of law, transparency and accountability. While each theme involves all three principles of good governance, each theme is ordered under its most relevant principle.

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Participation

Civil Society:
Well-developed state-civil society relations enhance good governance by strengthening participation, transparency, equity, and accountability. Civil society organizations (CSOs), like media institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and research centers, provide checks on government power, formulate policy, safeguard rights, articulate interests, and deliver social services. In doing so, they enhance the participatory basis of the polity.

Elections:
Regularly held elections can be the principal means whereby the people participate and interact with their government by electing its leaders. In addition, elections can play a crucial role as a mechanism of accountability, ensuring that government actions resonate with the wishes of the governed. Elections contribute to the rule of law by enabling the peaceful transition of power.

Gender:
Improving women's status in society is essential to achieve greater participation, equity, efficiency, and strategic vision. Fostering women's participation in development projects, building development projects around the needs of women, and encouraging development as constitutive of women's role in public life, all serve to enhance women's status in society.

Legislature:
The legislative branch is instrumental in fostering participation, accountability, and the rule of law. Representation and constituency-service enhance participation and accountability; law making ensures that the rule of law is attuned to the changing needs of society; and legislative oversight of the other branches of government enhances accountability and transparency. Most legislatures in the Arab region also exercise a consultative function, in agreement with the tradition of "shura" or consultation, which aims to bring the government closer to the people.

Local Government:
Creates more opportunities for public participation and input by placing government institutions directly within the populations they serve, and makes government officials more responsive to local conditions. The transfer of resources to sub-national government bodies may enhance local services and improve the quality of governance at regional and local levels.

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Rule of Law

Constitution:
By framing the basic legal principles of the country, constitutions define the rule of law and thereby contribute to transparency in governance. By delineating the powers of the branches of government and outlining the interaction between them, constitutions also contribute to the development of accountability and the responsibility of political institutions to each other and to the citizenry.

Judiciary:
By providing oversight of the other branches of government, the judiciary makes certain that institutions and individual leaders are held accountable for their actions. The judicial institutions also play an important role in ensuring the rule of law by interpreting the constitutionality of legislative and executive acts, and ensuring that the laws of the land are upheld. The judiciary also provides an additional point of access for citizens to be heard.

Human Rights:
Upholding and respecting internationally recognized human rights is a major criterion of good governance. Moreover, respect for human rights is a critical requirement for sustainable development. Governments and citizens need to be informed of the commitments of their respective states to human rights and their performances in implementing them.

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Transparency and Accountability

Financial Transparency:
Financial transparency is an intrinsic component of good governance as well as an expected outcome of transparency and accountability under the rule of law. Optimal economic policies are crafted so as to be as responsive as possible to civil society while encouraging free and competitive markets in which the productive forces of the private sector may flourish with full disclosure. Sound regulations and macro-economic policies are like the balance wheel of a clock connecting the state in harmony with the private sector and civil society.

Fighting Corruption:
Corruption is internationally recognized to be one of the principal obstacles to sustainable development. Virtually all of the governments in the Arab region have taken steps to combat corruption, including the signing of major United Nations conventions, and creating a voluntary regional association to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. A few of them have enabled their civil societies to form active chapters of Transparency International to take the lead in exposing corruption and obstacles to combating it.

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UNDP-POGAR: Website Management

UNDP-POGAR is supervised by Dr. Adel Abdellatif, Chief of the Regional Programme Division, Regional Bureau for Arab States (RBAS), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) New York.

The website is managed by Elizabeth Bouri, Knowledge Management Advisor, and Abed Khooli, the IT specialist, with help from our Knowledge Management Team: Bassem Serhan, Senior Research Analyst, Mona Sukkarieh, Programme Analyst-Human Rights/Gender, Lina Himani, Statistics Analyst, Yasmine Kaidbey Research Associate, and Nathalie Tawil, Operations Associate - Knowledge Management. The website benefits from other contributors, Nour Bejjani who covers Arab elections, Aimee Karam who covers Arab Niaba (public prosecution), Sara Salman who covers Arab Parliaments, and Clement M. Henry, Professor of Government at the University of Texas in Austin who covers transparency and accountability.

The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) is the UN executing agency for UNDP-POGAR.

UNDP-POGAR: Address

UNDP-POGAR
United Nations House
Riad El Solh Sq.,
P.O.Box: 11-3216
Beirut, Lebanon

Phone: +961 1 981 641, +961 1 981 642, +961 1 981 643, +961 1 981 644
Fax: +961 1 981 645
Email: info@pogar.org
Website: www.undp-pogar.org (www.pogar.org)

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