in: Alan Whaites / Eduardo Gonzalez / Sara Fyson / Graham Teskey: A governance practitioner’s notebook: alternative ideas and approaches, Paris: OECD, 257-264
Development partners active in the field of governance support have long struggled with the dilemma of respecting country ownership in cases where their official domestic government counterparts show little or no interest in prioritising better governance. Should they push ahead regardless? Should they sidestep towards politically less sensitive areas? Or should they simply accept the situation as it is? This paper argues that there is no right answer to these questions in itself. Instead, donors need to put ownership into perspective, refocus on its emancipatory origin and pay more attention to their processes of strategy building and programming. By rendering strategic decision making on governance support programmes more transparent, inclusive and open to diverse stakeholders from the South, they can move to ensure a more robust analysis, enhance their own relevance and legitimacy, avoid doing harm, and ultimately respect ownership by the people, not just the elites.