A Concept Paper
Quite often, systems of governance in developing countries are blamed for their “Top Down Approach”, which is considered as ‘bad governance’. Governance could be defined as “the whole of public as well as private interactions that are initiated to solve societal problems and create societal opportunities. It includes the formulation and application of principles guiding those interactions and care for institutions that enable them” . Governance is not what governors do, but also the totality of all interactions between the governing system and the system to be governed. This brings us to the concept of interactive governance. Policies that aim at achieving a certain goal are often formulated without the participation of all relevant stakeholders and thus may not lead to the development of an optimum set of strategies to achieve such a goal, finally leading to sub-optimal outputs. Such failures result from the fact that systems (to be governed) are quite diverse, complex and dynamic. Interactive Governance has been proposed as a solution to deal with above-noted inefficiencies in this system, which addresses “diversity through inclusiveness, complexity through rational, holistic, integrative approaches and dynamic through an interactive and adaptive framework” (ibid). Simply this means processes of good decision making, appropriate policy formulation and good governance, through an interactive process of all relevant public and private actors.
IHPs facilitate interactive governance, because development issues are identified and discussed, policy guidelines are formulated and awareness is created through interaction among all relevant stakeholders. They will interact in a neutral environment, like the university, devoid of any institutional barriers and red tapes, where the various actors would feel free to express their ideas.
IHPs unite representatives of the public, scientific, private sectors and civil society of the territory, to strengthen the democratic mechanisms and to foster crafting regional collaboration and strategies. They are locking together high quality applied research, practical advice, and policy-focused dissemination and debate to inspire policy and practice which lead to the reduction of poverty and overall development of the Southern Province.
The major goals of the IHPs are the following.
- Providing a forum for sharing knowledge and experience among stakeholders
- Avoiding repetition and overlap of activities to minimize wastage of resources
- Sharing resources among stakeholders, economizing on costs
- Facilitate exchange of mutual assistance among different organizations to achieve the development objectives efficiently and effectively
- Identifying and exploration of underutilized and untapped resources
- Utilization of region’s resources efficiently to maximize the output
- Facilitate constructive dialogue among stakeholders
- Providing a platform for researchers, policy makers and other stakeholders to stage their findings and views