As former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan explained, “Good governance is perhaps the single most important factor in eradicating poverty and promoting development.” At IFPRI, governance research focuses on how effective economic, political, and administrative authority can improve agriculture and rural development, thereby benefiting the poor. Over the past year, the IFPRI governance team brought leading scholars from Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, and the United States together to discuss new research experiences and methodological approaches to ensuring that the advantages of decentralization reach the poor.
The governance program launched two new initiatives in 2010. The Land Governance Monitoring and Assessment Partnership—a joint project of IFPRI, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, UN Habitat, the World Bank, and others—aims to provide the basis for greater security of women’s land rights, increased land-related investment, better functioning of land markets, use of land as collateral, and better use of land taxation to implement effective administrative decentralization. IFPRI acts as Secretariat for this partnership. The other new initiative, on interregional relations, began by examining the connections between China and Africa. The study looks at the pattern of cooperation between China, African countries, and developed countries in order to understand if and how aid and development finance from China affect governance in Africa.
Research on public-service delivery continued to be a strong component of the past year’s research. A four-year study of reform movements in India, Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan, and Uganda that have helped the poor demand and receive effective public services will soon draw to a close. In India, the program has also explored ways to make public-sector health workers more accountable by telling beneficiaries exactly what they should expect.
Other focal areas under the Governance and Policy Processes theme include: