Governance Curriculum/Meeting of Wednesday 2 April

From WikiEducator
Jump to: navigation, search

Governance Curriculum Initiative - Planning Consultation

Wednesday 2 April 2008

The Small Conference Room

Marlborough House, Pall Mall, London

The Planning Consultation was successful and an interim Steering Committee has been established to carry the work forward. The Consultation Report and Work Plan will be posted to this site shortly.

Collective thanks go to:

- Dr Mark Collins, Director of the Commonwealth Foundation and Mr Matthew Neuhaus, Director of the Political Affairs Division of the Commonwealth Secretariat, for co-hosting the event

- Professor Garton Kamchedzera for outlining the context and moderating the discussions

- the participants for their time, insights and support

- the facilitators and staff for making preparations

- the Commonwealth of Learning, the Commonwealth Foundation and Molecaten for their sponsorship

- Sir John Daniel, Director and Chief Executive of the Commonwealth of Learning; Ambassador Olukorede Willoughby of the Nepad Secretariat; Mr Bright Msaka, Chief Secretary of the President and Cabinet, Malawi; and 'Dapo Oyewole, Executive Director, Centre for African Policy & Peace Strategy (CAPPS) for their ongoing interest and messages of encouragement and support concerning the initiative


Purpose of the Meeting

• to inform participants about the Initiative and to provide an opportunity for them to ask questions

• to identify practical needs in their work that the Initiative might address, such as accessing relevant reports and sources or identifying those with similar experiences, interests and challenges

• to generate interest, build confidence and encourage participation in the Initiative

• to draw on the experience and knowledge of colleagues at the meeting in order to:

- assess whether the Initiative addresses a genuine need

- establish whether that need is being met already

- enhance the design

- refine and endorse the concepts and principles that underpin the Initiative

- identify additional networks and potential partners to contact, as well as possible candidates to serve on committees, expert panels and implementation teams

• take the first steps to establishing a Steering Committee and expert panels

• to produce a set of recommendations and implementation guidelines

10:30 Opening

Welcome: Dr Mark Collins, Director, Commonwealth Foundation

Dr. Collins spoke of the Foundation's work with civil society organizations facilitating dialogue with government, and the importance of civil society in all governance initiatives.

Welcome and Introductions: Mr Matthew Neuhaus, Director, Political Affairs Division, Commonwealth Secretariat

Mr. Neuhaus spoke of the importance of educating leaders in good governance and the close link with the two pillars upon which Commonwealth Secretariat work is built: Development and Democracy.

This was followed by remarks from Betty Mould-Iddrisu, Director of Legal and Constitutional Affairs Division, Commonwealth Secretariat, who spoke of the importance of curriculum development, of benchmarking progress and setting standards, of the hunger in Africa for good governance that empowers Africans to generate African solutions

Background to the Initiative and Context: Professor Garton Kamchedzera, Faculty of Law, University of Malawi

Professor Kamchedzera noted that civil society is often more aware of democratic principles than elected representatives. The governance situation in many countries - in the words of a community member - can be summed up as "non-compliance of the law at the top, and no rule of law at the bottom". Professor Kamchedzera spoke of Malawi's 30 years of post colonial dictatorship, the importance of local government and the strong motivation Malawians have for good governance practices with the right to information and meaningful dialogue between government and civil society, a process that was being encouraged officially.

11:00 Overview

Governance Curriculum Initiative: Dr John Barker, Lauterpacht Centre for International Law, University of Cambridge

Dr. Barker described the history and central features of the Initiative and need to manage and make more accessible existing knowledge about good governance and lessons learned over the years through collaboration facilitated by new developments in information technology. This would enable wider dissemination fundamental principles such as those contained in the Latimer House Principles on the relationship between the three branches of government. It would also promote a better understanding of the balance government and civil society, and between government and the private sector to facilitate wider participation and wealth creation from the bottom of the pyramid. There was also a need to balance human rights so that socio-economic rights take their rightful place after decades of neglect, particularly in the legal sphere, and so that it is better understood how the correlative obligations placed upon duty-bearers can be met to ensure the realisation of rights. He emphasised the need for genuine dialogue among development partners and the need for those promoting governance principles to ensure that they put into practice the principles they are espousing. He emphasized the importance of viewing this initiative as an enabling process to facilitate collaboration rather than as a finished product. It must therefore ensure legitimacy, transparency and accountability in the manner in which the Initiative is governed.

WikiEducator Concept and Methodology: Dr Tanyss Munro, Commonwealth of Learning

Dr. Munro provided an overview of the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and WikiEducator. She described Open Distance Learning (ODL) approaches, the difference between traditional and ODL materials, and the importance of taking a general-to-specific approach in module building to ensure higher transferability of materials, bearing in mind that special provision must be made for the majority who are unconnected to the internet and/or semi or illiterate. Engaging with civil society early in the process will ensure a high level of ownership and more effective and relevant demand-driven materials.

11:20 Feedback and Discussion on points of interest, moderated by Professor Garton Kamchedzera

The following topics were discussed:

- operating principles governing the initiative such as working by consensus;

- governance is complex, and Africa has a substantial contribution to make to the understanding of governance and the initiatives which will be helpful in building the platform;

- geographical scope of initiative (while there will be strong Commonwealth input, with pilot projects in a few countries the Initiative is intended to be relevant throughout the ACP and beyond);

- the problem of high staff turnover in developing countries and in aid agencies which can be partly mitigated by using ODL materials to facilitate self-learning allowing new-comers to get up to speed regardless of whether they attended a course;

- the need for stakeholder analysis to understand incentives and motivation for change;

- the Steering Committee and transition timetable for governing body (there will be an interim Steering Committee and this will be discussed at July meeting);

- confirmation of the present core team to administer and coordinate;

- the establishment of expert panels (to emerge as needed over the next year);

- discussion groups (needs to be a strong base in the developing countries including NGOs);

- relationship with the private sector (identification of points of contact);

- other issues included digital divide issues, intellectual property rights, funding strategies and dissemination strategies.

It was stressed that we need to avoid the risk of duplicating existing work and to develop materials that are practical and useful

There is general enthusiastic support to be involved in this work. People shared names of other organizations and bodies in Africa and elsewhere who will also be consulted in moving forward.

1:15 Technical/Implementation

The afternoon focused on the details of next steps. It was decided to put in place an Interim Steering Committee until the July meeting. The members of this committee include Garton Kamchedzera, John Barker, Kara Irwin, Samir Chhabra and Tanyss Munro. We will use wiki and google groups to discuss and develop a draft action plan with key milestones by end of May, post questions to other members and others regarding issues such as who else should be involved, how best to select a more permanent Steering Committee, establishment of Expert Panels, which topics should be tackled first, etc and generally keep discussion going with respect to moving this initiative forward.


Peter Ashman, Adviser on Good Governance and Human Rights, Human Rights Policy Department, Foreign & Commonwealth Office

John Barker, Lauterpacht Centre for International Law, University of Cambridge

Karen Brewer, Secretary General, Commonwealth Magistrates' and Judges' Association

Ray Burningham, Chief Executive, Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council

Samir Chhabra, Commonwealth Secretariat

Sir Robin Christopher, Secretary-General, Global Leadership Foundation

Nikki Cockerill, Good Governance Group (G3)

Mark Collins, Director, Commonwealth Foundation

Molly Harrington, Assistant Deputy Minister/CEO, Crown Agencies Secretariat, Ministry of Finance, British Columbia

Andrew Hind, Chief Executive, Charity Commission

Naoimh Hughes, Bar Human Rights Committee

Kara Irwin, Advocates for International Development (A4ID)

Matthew Jamison, International Office, University of Cambridge

Garton Kamchedzera, Professor of Law, University of Malawi

Seth Lartey, Commonwealth Foundation

Frank Madsen, Centre d'Etudes Diplomatiques et Strategiques, Paris

Betty Mould-Iddrisu, Director, Legal and Constitutional Affairs Division, Commonwealth Secretariat

Tanyss Munro, Governance Adviser, Commonwealth of Learning

Matthew Neuhaus, Director, Political Affairs Division, Commonwealth Secretariat

Brendan Plant, British Institute for International and Comparative Law

Mary Redshaw, British Council

Cees Slager, Molecaten, The Netherlands

Tim Slager, Molecaten, The Netherlands

Mark Stevens, Commonwealth Secretariat

Victoria teVelde, Acting Head, Commonwealth Policy Studies Unit

Pascale Vander Espt, Adviser on Governance, Justice and Human Rights, EuropeAid Co-operation Office, European Commission, Brussels

Myles Wickstead, Visiting Professor, International Relations, Open University / former Head of Secretariat, Commission for Africa

John Wilkins, Head of Special Programme Section, Governance and Institutional Development Division, Commonwealth Secretariat

Peter Williams, Hon. Secretary, Commonwealth Consortium for Education; Deputy Executive Chair, Council for Education in the Commonwealth

Charles Yeats, 4 Pillars Network

What was expected of participants at the meeting

• to be ready when introducing themselves to highlight some aspect of good governance that interests them particularly and/or that impinges most directly on their professional work, perhaps referring to how the Initiative might address that interest or some particular need or perceived gap in the manner in which knowledge about good governance is organised and disseminated

• fill in a feedback form that will be circulated to canvass views and comments if time does not permit during discussions, to provide an opportunity to indicate level and forms of interest in the Initiative, and to invite recommendations from participants regarding other organisations, networks, governance practitioners that should be invited to participate.


Dr Tanyss Munro

Dr John Barker


Ruvani Ameresekere

Danette Jeffrey

Jennifer Newton