| Lead-China Cohort 10 | Tang-Song Dynasty | Greener Beijing |
รรCohort 10 Express

Joint Brazil-China-Mexico Session
The Challenges of Social -Environmental governance

November 21-27, 2003
Bras¨ªlia and Piren¨®polis - Brazil


Governance refers to the control which society can exercise over its own destiny. Establishing governance means giving direction, coordination and integration to the infinite and complex grouping of human relations and the relationship between human beings and the environment, which adjust a society and its historical progress.
Without governance, society is a chaotic, disorganized and uncoordinated conjunction of individual acts and human relationships. This lack of direction and indications results in distortions of all kinds, often leading to negative situations in which all parties end up losing. When we see, for instance, the depletion of water resources, uncontrolled logging, the occupation of sensitive areas or areas at risk, the rise of social inequality, the failure to provide essential social services, we are talking about lack of governance, serious governance problems or even bad governance.
However, governance is not exercised only by the government. Governments, in all their shapes and forms, are one of the means to establish governance. However, these means will generally be insufficient and inefficient if certain attributes are not adopted along with other components which are outside the strictly governmental sphere.
The current dominant opinion preaches the power and efficiency of markets as a way of bringing suitable governance. According to this view, an ever-present, interventionist government harms rather than helps society to develop. However, if market operators have great freedom of action, they will, by natural laws of economics, induce a situation in which society as a whole, or the greater part of it, will end up winning. The State and its governments should, therefore, play a limited role of regulating this market, ensuring that certain basic conditions are maintained to enable it to function, such as complying with contracts and free competition.
This model, however, is showing increasing problems and limitations. In response, there has been growing support for ideas linked to participatory democracy, which propose opening a dialogue between government and society, creating participative and decentralized mechanisms, planning from the bottom up and formulating, executing and controlling public policies at local level.
The idea of a large monolithic State, with great powers of economic, political and military intervention, seems to become increasingly less defensible. In such societies, decisions are made by technocrats and market operators instead of through transparent dialogue with society.
Therefore, it will be important to reflect on issues such as:
¡¤ What are the possibilities and limits of each of these models?
¡¤ What problems arise from the liberal view of the conception of the State and government?
¡¤ What response can there be to strong radical proposals, such as movements that call for the end of the State and for power to be delegated?
¡¤ How to establish governance in an increasingly globalized world where room for maneuvering by national governments is increasingly reduced?
¡¤ How to integrate political decisions in an increasingly complex world, in which information is rapidly created, if the institutions are overwhelmingly fragmented in a Cartesian way?
¡¤ How to reconcile the growing velocity and lack of control over capital flows with the democratic decision-making, which process is naturally slow, due to the need for debate and formation of consensus?



Copyright Lead-China Cohort 10