Development Co-operation Directorate


What does "inclusive governance" mean?

Clarifying theory and practice

Inclusion in terms of both process (how decisions are made and who is included in that process and how and why) and outcomes (how wealth and prosperity are distributed and shared across a population and why) is a leading priority in international development, with the Sustainable Development Goals as perhaps the most ambitious articulation of this. As the evidence overwhelmingly shows, over the long term, more open and inclusive states and societies tend to be more prosperous, effective and resilient. And yet, it is far less clear how countries that today can be considered more inclusive in terms of both process and outcome got to where they are. This Note explores the relationship between inclusive governance and inclusive development. It finds that there is no automatic causal relationship between inclusion as process and inclusion as outcome in either direction. However, the Note also highlights that under certain circumstances, more inclusive processes can in fact foster more inclusive development, and it teases out several factors that have been important in in this respect. By way of conclusion, the paper draws out implications for how international development actors can support inclusion more effectively through more politically aware ways of thinking and working.

Published on March 04, 2020

In series:OECD Development Policy Papersview more titles