Author: Gerardo Berthin

This is a conversational blog written and maintained by Gerardo Berthin, a political scientist, who specializes in applied governance policy issues. This personal reflection is not intended to reflect the positions of organizations he is and/or has been affiliated with. All pictures unless otherwise noted are attributed to the author.

On Legitimacy, Accountability and Governance

A recent article published in April 2019 argued that the increasingly widespread belief that Latin American and Caribbean countries were governed to benefit “the few” rather than “the many” suggested that the legitimacy of institutions may be declining. Using data from the latest Latinobarómetro, the article put forward the idea that because people believed that rules were unfair, they will be more likelihood to not comply with them.  According to the article no legitimacy on norms, meant no compliance.   While some data may show correlation and support this conclusion, legitimacy is intertwined with the dynamics of accountability and democratic governance.  As such, legitimacy is not uni dimensional.  To the contrary, the interplay of legitimacy, accountability and governance is a multidimensional enterprise, that continues to evolve not only in Latin America and the Caribbean, but across the globe. Legitimacy is but one ingredient of outcomes, procedures and relations in a democratic socio-political space.   How can we analyze and measure legitimacy at the end of the second decade of the 21st Century?

The Local Democratic Governance Dimension in Resilience

Since the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in 1972, efforts to both curb the accelerating rate of environmental change and to promote sustainable development have led to the gradual proliferation of global, regional and local institutions. In 1992, when the first Earth Summit was held to discuss the global environment, there were more than 900 international legal instruments directly or indirectly addressing the issue of environmental protection. The 1996 Summit of the Americas in Santa Cruz Bolivia and its respective Declaration was also about sustainable development. The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development – or Rio+20 – took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on 20-22 June 2012, which among others produced the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the outcome document called to integrating social, environmental and economic resilience strategies into policies.   Resilience became a buzz word associated with vulnerability and risks.  Forty-six (46), 26, 22 and 6 years later respectively after these major events, how are sustainable development policies addressing resilience challenges and opportunities, and where does democratic governance fit in the equation?

La Dimensión de la Gobernabilidad Democrática Local en la Resiliencia

Desde la Conferencia de Naciones Unidas sobre Medio Ambiente Humano en 1972, los esfuerzos tanto para reducir el cambio acelerado ambienta y promover desarrollo sostenible han logrado la proliferación gradual de instituciones globales, regionales y locales. En 1992, cuando se celebró la primera Cumbre de la Tierra para discutir el miedo ambiente global, habían más de 900 instrumentos legales directamente o indirectamente relacionados con la protección del medio ambiente. La Cumbre de las Américas de 1996 en Santa Cruz-Bolivia y su respectiva declaración también abordó el tema de desarrollo sostenible. La Cumbre de Naciones Unidas sobre Desarrollo Sostenible – o Rio+20 – se llevó a cabo en Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, del 20-22 de junio del 2012, que entre otros produjo los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible  (ODSs), y el documento final llamo a integrar estrategias de resiliencia en las política sociales, ambientales y económicas.   La resiliencia se convirtió en una clave asociada con vulnerabilidad y riesgo.  Cuarenta y seis (46), 26, 22 and 6 años después de estos importantes eventos, ¿cómo están enfrentando las políticas de desarrollo sostenible los desafíos y oportunidades en resiliencia, y donde en la ecuación esta la gobernabilidad democrática?