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01.09.2005 General News

Balance Govt initiated consultations with Civic Society

GNA

Ho Sept.1, GNA - Dr Lee Tlou, Research Fellow of the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) on Thursday said government-initiated consultations must be balanced with consultations initiated by Civic Society groups to deepen democracy in the country. She was speaking at a pre-dialogue workshop organized by IDEG for Civic Society representatives on civic participation in poverty reduction dubbed "Governance Issues Forum" at Ho.

The forum organized by IDEG in collaboration with the UNDP and assistance from DANIDA was to prepare civic society groups with skills for networking to effectively engage public officials on governance issues.

The two-day workshop would take participants through the definition and issues bordering on unemployment, lobbying and policy making, types of lobbying, reasons for lobbying, significance of lobbying and requirements for effective lobbying.

They would come out with a position paper on youth employment. Dr Tlou said though the past 20 years had witnessed some level of civic participation in consultations on some major policy issues, those consultations were problematic because they originated from above and not based on grassroots initiative.

She said because representatives of civic society at such consultations were not truly representative of the groups they purported to be representing, policies arising from those consultations faced implementation problems at the grassroots.

Dr Tlou said the success achieved by developed countries in democratic practice was based on consultations strengthened by vibrant and strong civic society organizations that exerted a lot of pressure on their Governments at all levels because of their immense resources and independence.

"The way to do it here is to join forces and strengthen private and public sector collaboration", she said.

She said it was in that direction that networking should be established among civic society groups at the national, regional, district and community levels to provide the type of leverage required by civic society to influence the direction of governance, democracy and development at all levels in the country.

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