Theme 4: Public Service Delivery, Public-Private Partnership and Regulatory Reform
This theme is composed of three interdependent elements that express two main elements
of "governance": the State and the Private Sector. This relationship is bound by
the regulatory policies and all relate to the "public" that consumes the products
of the State and the private sector. It is for the well being of that "public" that
In the Arab region, a strategic shift of governance paradigms is becoming more evident.
The traditional and historic relationship between the "ruler", as overall provider
and protector, and the "ruled" as acquiescing groups and individuals, has taken
a new shape with the advent of democracy in some and the deepening of its roots
in others. The "public" no longer perceives itself "at the service of the ruler",
but rather the ruler is expected to serve the public. The role of the State is evolving,
so is the relationship between the components of the society. "Governance" will
continue to change as democratic principles take root in Arab societies at large.
The market economy that is now espoused by most Arab countries is creating a new
environment as the role of State as "provider" is gradually diminishing and is being
replaced by the State as "regulator" and "arbitrator" through policies and rule
setting and the private sector as the engine of growth and development. Globalization
is a further impetus and an important factor in governance. Partnership between
the State and the private sector is therefore, necessary for sound economic management.
Simultaneously with these developments and with the advent of the age of knowledge
and swift information dissemination, the public is becoming savvy in demanding higher
quality and timely public services. The ability of the community to express its
views is becoming stronger through the activities of civil society organizations.
Arab governments need to diagnose these new realities to assess their response to
them and to devise such policies and actions that may allow for solid partnerships
with the private sector, the civil society organizations and to better serve an
increasingly demanding public. Regulatory reform need to ensure that these relationships
and the delivery of public services will enhance integrity, increase transparency
and strengthen the system and process of accountability. The reform of the regulatory
process should lead to a system of regulation that takes account of the growing
interdependence of the public and private sectors and the growing role and impact
of globalization. The government's relationship with international and regional
institutions affecting the market and regulating international business transactions,
trade, industrial and agricultural policies, are all important factors that require
the reform of the regulatory process. Old rules of business should be discarded
and new and dynamic ones should be in place. The pace of international transactions
has quickened, so should the response of business regulations. This ties well with
all the reform of governance in general; there is really no line of demarcation
that separates reform in one area from reform in another; all themes of the Governance
for Development Programme are intrinsically connected and mutually reinforcing.