Citizenship, governance and public sphere
In recent years bilateral collaboration with developing countries has moved into budget support, limiting the donor’s influence on how money is being spent in the partner countries. Parallel to this decrease in donor influence, a growing focus on issues of governance and accountability has been seen. DFID, SIDA, Danida, Irish Aid and many other bilateral agencies today have governance policies in place.
Media and communication play some role in these policies and practices, but with room for expansion: Support to independent media have for many years been seen as one way of securing an in-country watch-dog function, and long-standing support to media development, journalism training, media policy frameworks, etc has been widespread, not least with strong Nordic support. More recently, the role of communication in governance has grown. UNDP‘s work with ‘communication for empowerment’ has been a manner whereby to develop ‘listening strategies’ so that development agencies like UN-agencies, NGOs and government institutions involved in developing i.e. poverty reduction strategies, better could base their policy development work on the needs, voices and concerns of the people. Communication for empowerment, community consultations, Sida’s own listeners studies currently being piloted in Bangladesh, are all communication strategies in support of good governance and better mechanisms of holding governments accountable.
Both RUC and MAH can offer a substantial knowledge base for the development of this research strand: Public Administration and International Development Studies at RUC (ISG) and Global Political Studies at MAH.