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Seychelles Places Women Among Priorities Under Good Governance

Panafrican News Agency, 16 November 2000

Port-Louis, Mauritius - The Seychelles administration ministry has said that the poor and women would be given priorities under its good governance policy.

The government said this in a paper released this week ahead of the 22nd conference of the 20-24 November African Association for Public Administration and Management in Port Louis.

It listed the other initiatives as being to realise development that sustains the environment and creates needed opportunities for employment and other livelihoods.

Good governance and sustainable human development are indivisible, the ministry said in the document, noting that the UNDP has been at the forefront of the growing international consensus on that notion.

"Developing the capacity for good governance can be, and should be, the primary way to eliminate poverty," it added.

Quoting UNDP, it said that ideas of good governance and the link between governance and sustainable human development vary greatly, both in academic literature and among development practitioners.

"Human development is seen as expanding the choices for all people in society. This means that men and women, particularly the poor and vulnerable, are at the centre of the development process," the ministry explained.

"It also means protection of the life opportunities of future generations and the natural systems on which all life depends. This makes the central purpose of development the creation of an enabling environment in which all can enjoy long, healthy and creative lives.

"Economic growth is a means to sustainable human development, not an end in itself," it added, quoting the 1996 Human Development Report6, which showed that economic growth did not automatically lead to sustainable human development and the elimination of poverty.

According to the ministry, there are five aspects to sustainable human development, all affecting the lives of the poor and vulnerable.

These are: Empowerment, which being the expansion of men and women's capabilities and choices, increases their ability to exercise those choices free of hunger, want and deprivation.

It also increases their opportunity to participate in, or endorse decision-making affecting their lives.

"Next is co-operation, with a sense of belonging which is important for personal fulfilment, well-being and a sense of purpose and meaning. Human development is concerned with the ways in which people work together and interact," it said.

It added: "Equity, the other one, is the expansion of capabilities and opportunities and means more than income. It also means equity such as in an educational system to which everybody has access.

"Sustainability or the needs of this generation must be met without compromising the right of future generations to be free of poverty and deprivation and to exercise their basic capabilities.

"Security, particularly that of livelihood is another aspect. People need to be freed from threats, for example of disease or repression and from sudden harmful disruptions in their lives."

About 150 delegates, 70 from Seychelles and 80 from other African countries, are expected to attend the conference which will examine indicators of good governance and identify causes and consequences of bad governance.

The delegates will come out with recommendations on strategies for promoting and safeguarding good government.

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