Symptoms of Good Governance in the Pacific

Continuing political instability in some countries is one of the dominant factors undermining the potential for efficient and effective government. This is an especially significant problem in the Melanesian and Micronesian countries given their historic social fragmentation.

  • Continuing weakness of the parliamentary systems of many countries is not only a result of the above mentioned political instability but in turn feeds it further, thus creating a vicious cycle.
  • Extensive corruption has become a persistent symptom of poor governance and a debilitating influence on the economy. It is particularly prevalent in some countries among the small rent-seeking elite who have captured key positions in government and the business community. It is often encountered in countries rich in natural resources. Government positions are used to ‘sell’ licenses for exploitative profit.
  • A politicized public service is often powerless in the face of the corrupting influence of politics.
  • Weak executive governments have consequently emerged in a number of countries, most obvious in poor revenue collection and related fiscal crises, deteriorating public services ranging from health and education to environmental protection, and an inability to work proactively with civil society and the private sector. Little accountability is demanded. Policy making processes are haphazard and with virtually no participation of civil society.
  • The failure of good governance institutions such as the offices of the Auditor General and Ombudsman, have compounded the problem. The roles of these bodies are often consciously undermined by the executive and Parliament through inadequate budgetary provisions, and poor administrative support.