Welcome to UNDP-POGAR!
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, and educate governance actors about
methods for combating corruption.
Participation is the primary value underlying the themes of civil society, decentralisation,
elections, strengthening of the legislature and the role of women in public life. Participation is a key component
in human development as understood and pursued by UNDP. Literally, participation
means taking part. All men and women should have a voice in decision-making that
influence their lives, either directly or through legitimate intermediate institutions
that represent their interests. Such broad participation is built on freedom of
association and speech, as well capacities to participate constructively in expressing
interests and in voting for representatives and leaders.
Corresponding to the rule of law are the themes of human rights, the judiciary,
and constitutions. Rule of Law entails equal protection of human rights of individuals
and groups, as well as equal punishment under the law. It reigns over governments
and protects citizens against arbitrary state action. It ensures that all citizens
are treated equally and are subject to the law rather than to the whims of the powerful.
The law should also afford vulnerable groups protection against exploitation and
abuse. Governments must create institutions and frameworks in order to maintain
law and order, to establish basic infrastructure, and to provide services such as
health and education, particularly for the poor. Legal frameworks are also necessary
for creating a predictable and secure living and working environment for ordinary
citizens and for entrepreneurs and investors. A fair and effective legal framework
requires that a set of rules be known in advance, that the rules be enforced, that
the means to ensure the application of the rules exist, that any conflicts be resolved
by binding decisions made by an independent and credible judiciary, and that procedures
be available for changing the rules when they cease to serve the purpose for which
they were intended.
Transparency and accountability expressed in our themes of financial transparency
and fighting corruption, work primarily through legislatures, civil society, and
financial institutions, notably central banks. Transparency and accountability are
interrelated concepts and mutually reinforcing. Without transparency there couldn't
be any accountability. Unless there is accountability, transparency would be of
no value. The existence of both conditions contributes to an effective, efficient
and equitable management in public and private institutions. Transparency refers
to sharing information and acting in an open manner. It allows stakeholders to gather
information that may be critical to uncovering abuses and defending their interests.
Transparent systems have clear procedures for public decision-making and open channels
of communication between stakeholders and officials, and make a wide range of information
accessible. Accountability: UNDP defines accountability as the requirement that
officials answer to stakeholders on the disposal of their powers and duties, act
on criticisms or requirements made of them and accept (some) responsibility for
failure, incompetence or deceit. Mechanisms for holding officials accountable can
be inter-organizational, as between branches of government; intra-organizational,
as between supervisors and subordinates; and extra-organizational, as when an organization
and its functionaries answer directly to customers or stakeholders. Accountability
mechanisms can address the issues of both who holds office and the nature of decisions
by those in office.