Why Your International Association Needs Good Structure, Governance and Plans

Business People Silhouette Conference Teamwork Global Business C

The United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) defines good governance as the exercise of economic, political and administrative authority to manage a country’s affairs at all levels[1]. Good governance is about the processes for making and implementing decisions. It’s not about making ‘correct’ decisions, but about the best possible process for making those decisions. Good decision-making processes, and therefore good governance, share several characteristics. All have a positive effect on various aspects like consultation policies and practices, meeting procedures, service quality protocols and officer conduct, role clarification and good working relationships. Some characteristics of good governance are explained below.

Accountability is a fundamental requirement of good governance. Members have an obligation to report, explain and be answerable for the consequences of decisions they have made on behalf of the association they represent. People will be able to follow and understand the decision-making process. This means that they will be able to clearly see how and why a decision was made – what information, advice and consultation a council considered and which legislative requirement the council follows.

Members should always try to serve the needs of the entire community while balancing competing interests in a timely, appropriate and responsive manner. Anyone affected by or interested in a decision should have the opportunity to participate in the process for making that decision. This can happen in several ways – members may be provided with information, asked for their opinion, given the opportunity to make recommendations or, in some cases, be part of the actual decision-making process. International associations should always try to serve the needs of the members while balancing competing interests in a timely, appropriate and responsive manner.

Also, human rights cannot be respected and protected in a sustainable manner without good governance. Good governance and human rights are mutually reinforcing. Human rights principles provide a set of values to guide the work of governments and other political and social actors. They also provide a set of performance standards against which these actors can be held accountable. Moreover, human rights principles inform the content of good governance efforts: they may inform the development of legislative frameworks, policies, programmes, budgetary allocations and other measures.

Good governance comprises the existence of effective mechanisms, processes and institutions through which citizens and groups articulate their interests, exercise their legal rights, meet their obligations and mediate their differences and it is beneficial in many ways as it promotes community confidence that says people are more likely to have confidence on the associations if decisions are made in transparent and accountable ways. It encourages elected members and council officers to be confident, leads to better decisions and also supports ethical decision making. It comes with establishing a sustainable administrative structure, which can effectively achieve excellence by employing minimum administrative heads supported by a strong human resource capital.

[1] http://unpan1.un.org/intradoc/groups/public/documents/un/unpan022332.pdf

Brussels, Belgium