This paper examines some of the key elements of good governance including transparent and equitable relationships between stakeholders, public accountability and participatory decision-making. It takes as an example the forest sector, which has made surprising gains in its application of good governance ideas. Forestry's inclusive focus, linking the global to the national and local; the centrality of issues of tenure and collective rights; and its importance in rural livelihoods, all reinforce the linkages between good governance, public accountability and poverty alleviation. The impact of improving governance is evident at several levels: decentralisation has changed the balance of power and decision-making between central government and the periphery; relationships between government and civil society have benefited as donor-promoted participation has created significant space for civil society voices to be heard; and new models are being developed for relationships within civil society and particularly within communities.
David Brown, Kathrin Schreckenberg, Gill Shepherd and Adrian Wells, with Cecilia Luttrell and Neil Bird