Civil society and governance by chenshu


									    Civil Society and
    18 Feb 2005

         Dr. Chan Cho Wai, Joseph
   Centre for Civil Society and Governance
Department of Politics and Public Administration
        The University of Hong Kong

Recognition of civil society
 ‘Civil society’ is one of the most important
  concepts in the social sciences today and a
  key policy agenda among policymakers and

 Not just a watchdog of government and
  business, but a social partner in governance.

Recognition of civil society
 Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General, says,
 “The United Nations once dealt only with
  Governments. By now we know that peace
  and prosperity cannot be achieved without
  partnerships involving Governments,
  international organizations, the business
  community and civil society. In today’s world,
  we depend on each other.”
   (17 Feb
Recognition of civil society
 The World Bank “recognizes the important
  role that nongovernmental organizations play
  in meeting the challenges of development
  and welcomes the opportunity to work with
  civil society.”

      /64ByDocName/UsefulLinks (17 Feb 2005)

Recognition of civil society
 In the 2000 Policy Address, the Chief
  Executive pledged to work with voluntary
  associations in Hong Kong to develop a
  vibrant “third sector”, which “can often find
  solutions to social problems that appear
  intractable to both the market and the

History and conceptions of CS
 Eastern Europe:
 -The liberal conception: independent of the
  state and resisting control of the state;
 North America:
 -The republican conception: civic
  engagement and civil associations, a reaction
  to civic decay and decline of community;
 Western European:
 -The third sector, a reaction to the decline of
  the welfare state and the limits of the market.
What is civil society?
 It refers to the sphere of society that lies
  between the government and the

 Constituents:
      1. Civil Society Organizations
      2. Informal Ties, Networks, and Groups
      3. Social Movements

Constituents of civil society
 1. Civil Society Organizations

 1.1 Work-related organizations
     trade unions
     employers federations
     labour unions
     professional associations

Constituents of civil society
 1. Civil Society Organizations

 1.2 Non-governmental organizations which
  bring people together in a common cause
     environmental organizations
     human rights organizations
     consumer associations
     Health and social services agencies
     educational and training organizations, etc.
Constituents of civil society
 1. Civil Society Organizations

 1.3 Community-based organizations, i.e.
  organizations set up within society at
  grassroots level which pursue member-
  oriented objectives)
     youth organizations
     clan associations
     Mutual aid associations

Constituents of civil society
 1. Civil Society Organizations

 1.4 Religious communities

Features of civil society organizations
     Non-governmental—do not exercise
      governmental authority
     Non-profit—profits do not go to individuals
     Voluntary—voluntary participation
     Self-governing—internal governance and
     Unclear lines of ownership and
      accountability—neither based on elections or
      shareholders’ ownership. They server many
Civil society in Hong Kong
 According to a Third Sector Study (2004)
  commissioned by the Central Policy Unit,
     Size: 16,646 known CSOs, 6810 of which are
      Owners’ Corporations
     The sector generates annual expenditure of
      about $23 billion (rough estimates), i.e. 1.8%
      of GDP (US 6.4%, Japan 3.3% as in 1990)
     Employ about 258,300 full-time worker, 7.6%
      of the total work force (US 6.9%, Japan 2.5%)
Civil society in Hong Kong
 Total: 9361
 District and community-based   3285
 Arts and culture               1769
 Industry, trade unions         1312
 Sports                          408
 Politics                        11
 Philanthropic intermediaries   785
 Education and research         721

Civil society in Hong Kong
 Religion                 324
 Welfare                  256
 International            137
 Health                   120
 Civic and advocacy       122
 Environment              62
 Law and legal services   49

Civil society and governance
 Trends of governance: Emphasis on public
  participation/civil society
     Collaborative governance (UK)
     Community governance (UK, AU, NZ, CA)
     Sustainable governance (EU)
     Partnership (UK..)
     State-society synergy (World Bank)
     Deliberative democracy (US, UK)

Why shared governance?
 Government’s perspectives:
     Rolling back the state: neo-conservatism
     Complexity of cross-cutting social issues
          Environmental protection, social exclusion, public
           health, area regeneration, culture and arts
     Declining public confidence in representative
      democracy and political parties
     Growth of civil society

Why shared governance?
 The role of the state shifts from that of
      governing through direct forms of control
       (hierarchical governance)—”government”

      to

      governing via a multiplicity of stakeholders—
       ”governance” that cuts across the public,
       private, and voluntary sectors

Why shared governance?
 Two roles of government:

 government as provider of funding and
  specific services
      focuses on efficiency, value for money, quality,
       service and effective feedback

 government as facilitator of collaboration
    focuses on facilitation, networking, dialogue
     and participation
Why shared governance?
 Civil society’s contributions to governance:
   Government and business watch,
   Articulate informed public opinions and
    representation of interests/values,
   Promote public engagement and
   Facilitate public policy-making and
   Provide services, philanthropy, and mutual-
   Develop social capital and social cohesion.
Hindrance to shared governance
 Weakness of civil societies: CSOs too diverse
  in values, missions, strategies, structures and
  too many in numbers, leading to the following
     No recognized representation of civil society
     Overlapping use of resources
     Funding difficulties
     Difficult to have long-term collective
     Movements unpredictable

Hindrance to shared governance
 Potential pitfalls:
    Active participation would lead to higher
     expectation of government; overloading of
    Weak government dominated by a strong civil
    Partisanship; promoting group interests at the
     expense of fairness and the common good;
    Separation from citizens; NGOs not equal to civil
    Promotion of uncivil groups, not conducive to
     tolerance and social cohesion                       22
Why shared governance in HK?
 Hong Kong faces similar challenges:

     Deficit in finance
     Deficit in democracy
     Governability crisis
     Low trust in politicians and political institutions
     A highly vocal civil society

The case of West Kowloon Cultural
 Three principles of governance as stated by
  the Chief Secretary:

     “People-oriented” 「以人為本」
     “Partnership (with property developers and the
      cultural sector)” 「建立夥伴關係」
     “Community-driven” 「民間主導」

What has been done?
 Government claimed to have done
     Extensive and open consultation with LegCo
      and different sectors
     Careful research/consultancy studies
     Transparent competition and open tendering

 See CS’s speech in the LegCo on 26 Nov.

Principles of collaboration
 Inclusion
 Shared goals
 Shared “ownership”
 Open, clear, accessible communication
 Mutual learning
 Mutual respect and trust

What has gone wrong?
    Was there genuine sharing of information and
     mutual learning?
    Stakeholder workshops or formal public
     hearing or “consultation sessions”?
    Did the making of crucial moves (single
     development package, May 2003) involve the
     stakeholders? Was there a shared ownership?

Challenges to gov’t—CS partnership
 Is the government willing to share power with
 Can CS better organize and represent
 Is CS willing to take the risk of being opted
  and used?
 Is CS willing to make compromises?
 Is there mutual trust?

Web Resources on Civil Society
 Web Resources on Civil Society, Union on
  International Associations:

 Nonprofit organizations and NGOs:


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