The link between achieving sustainable development and the principles of good governance is widely accepted across UN bodies, member states and stakeholders.
The Rio + 20 The Future We Want Declaration, paragraph 10, stated that to achieve sustainable development goals, we need institutions at all levels that are effective, transparent, accountable and democratic.
The Report of the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda further examined and elaborated on the statements of the Rio +20 Declaration, stating:
We are calling for a fundamental shift to recognize peace and good governance as core elements of well-being, not optional extras. This is a universal agenda, for all countries. Responsive and legitimate institutions should encourage the rule of law, property rights, freedom of speech and the media, open political choice, access to justice, accountable government and public institutions. … These are ends as well as means.
These were incorporated in Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals and have been further elaborated as indicators.
To support these goals, the Friends of Governance for Sustainable Development, an informal government group, was created in the autumn of 2011. The main objective of the Friends group is to create an informal space for governments to have discussions among themselves, backed up by expert papers when requested, on issues relating to good governance and the Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development (IFSD) in relation to the development and implementation of the Agenda 2030. It builds on a rich tradition of ˜Friends of Groups” in New York which serve as a useful informal space for governments to discuss ideas and papers relating to a particular topic.
The Group is chaired by the governments of the Republic of Korea, Mexico and Romania. Over the last four years, it has hosted a series of workshops and published a book based the papers. It is supported by ARTICLE 19, a UK charity, as the secretariat.
Recognizing that national and international governance of sustainable development are two different but mutually supporting discussions, the Group has been flexible and open to address both, as appropriate and as Member States see fitting.
Achieving sustainable development requires an enabling environment. Governance plays a crucial role in creating those conditions, notably, for our purposes in the Agenda 2030 process. From creating new institutions to reforming old ones, the process must live up to this standard and its mechanisms should be geared towards fostering this type of new international environment and cooperation for sustainable development.