Co-governance is a method of participatory management in which decisions are made at all levels possible, thereby recognizing the decision of each member equitably. The general idea is to bring public and private stakeholders together in collective forums with public agencies to engage in consensus-oriented decision making. It means co-governance involves the principle of subsidiarity—taking decisions at the lowest possible level of authority and creating new checks and balances on the overall decision-making activities. This inclusion of people in the decisions that directly affect them formalizes the process of just governance and democratic oversight by closing the gap between resource users and resource managers, producers and providers.
Relevance: where and how is the term relevant in the OpenHeritage?
Co-governance arrangements which include different communities and stakeholders is one of the necessary normative criteria when OpenHeritage identifies “good practice”.
Internal team members base on the own understanding of the projects in OpenHeritage vote on the important hypotheses, of which “Projects in Open Heritage are co-governance arrangements of civil society organizations, the unorganized public, public authorities, private actors and knowledge institutions that lead to economic and social benefits for the involved communities.” get great support and recognition.
Therefore, both in the tasks for T3.2 Community and Stakeholder Integration and Tasks for T3.3 Resource Integration, we come up with general and specific questions to focus on and analyze how the co-governance arrangements of civil society organizations, unorganized public institutions, public authorities, private actors, and knowledge institutions create social and economic benefits for the communities involved. The questions lead the deep understanding of value orientation that guides our project.
Refer to Ansell and Gash paper “On the theory and practice of collaborative governance”, which has been cited more than 4,000 times, has defined the co-governance as “A governing arrangement where one or more public agencies directly engage non-state stakeholders in a collective decision-making process that is formal, consensus-oriented, and deliberative and that aims to make or implement public policy or manage public programs or assets”.
As a widely cited research, this definition brings a certain influence in the co-governance study. The six elements include the forum need to be initiated by public agencies or institutions, as the same time the forum is formally organized and meets collectively. About the participants in the forum should include nonstate actors, and they are engage directly in decision making and are not merely consulted by public agencies. The purpose of the forum aims to make decisions by consensus, even if consensus is not achieved in practice. Back to the core concept, the focus of collaboration is on public policy or public management.
Compare their emphasis on the forum is initiated by public agencies or institutions, an article written by Kirk, Tina and Steve broadly defining co-governance as the processes and structures of public policy decision making and management that engage people constructively across the boundaries of public agencies, levels of government, and / or the public, private and civic spheres in order to carry out a public purpose that could not otherwise be accomplished. The concept broke the limitation of top-down form. The definition is widely accepted or referred by research and case studies.
James Bernard Quilligan. 2009. “People Sharing Resources - Toward a New Multilateralism of the Global Commons”. Kosmos Journal, fall.winter 2009.
Chris Ansell, Alison Gash. 2008, “Collaborative Governance in Theory and Practice, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory”. Volume 18, Issue 4, October 2008, Pages 543–571. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/jopart/mum032
Emerson, Kirk & Nabatchi, Tina & Balogh, Steve. 2012. “An Integrated Framework for Collaborative Governance”. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory. DOI: 22. 1. 10.1093/jopart/mur011
Practices in collaborative governance itself sometimes distinguish itself from forms of participatory governance that engage the broader public, and limit itself to engaging with more powerful or influential stakeholders.
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