Governance Reform and Public Service Provision: Institutional Resilience and State-Society Synergy

Date: October 2023
Author(s): Jonathan Fox
Publication type: Report
Published by: UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs

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Jonathan Fox authored this contribution to the World Public Sector Report 2023, published by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) through its Division for Public Institutions and Digital Government.

For more than two decades, national and international policy reformers have sought to improve public service provision by applying transparency, participation, and accountability innovations. Relevant initiatives often pursue collaborative governance strategies to bring public servants, citizens, and civil society organizations together to generate feedback and promote problem-solving from the front lines. These efforts support the pursuit of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets 16.6 and 16.7, which respectively call for developing “effective, accountable, and transparent institutions” and ensuring “responsive, inclusive, participatory, and representative decision-making at all levels.”

This brief review of institutionally resilient participatory oversight reforms in four countries spotlights how hybrid, collaborative governance can work in practice—in cases where innovations have already been scaled up.

Jonathan Fox is Professor and Director of the Accountability Research Center at the School of International Service, American University. He works with a wide range of public interest groups, social organizations, private foundations, and policymakers to learn from transparency, participation, and accountability initiatives. For publications, see: