The Seven Triads of Sustainability:



The Governance Triad

covering transparency, efficiency and accountability
Sustainability is about good local governance - with transparency, efficiency and accountability
The Governance Triad has transparency, accountability, and efficiency as its three defining corners. Good governance occurs when societal norms and practices empower and encourage communities to take increasingly greater control over their own development, without impinging upon the accepted rights of others.

Good governance is enabled by the free flow of information. Processes, institutions and information are directly accessible to those concerned with them, and enough information is provided to understand and monitor them (transparency). In an innovative community, empowered and responsible members have more authority and responsibility for decision-making, can improve delivery of the city's aims and objectives, and can improve management of human and financial resources (accountability). Making the best use of proximate and available resources to maximize the output achieved is also a key ingredient of a community governance system (efficiency).

Governance also includes such issues as community empowerment, impartiality of resource allocation, adaptation of external and internal pressures, responsiveness, representativeness, information disclosure etc.

In Abidjan, given the hardships caused by structural adjustment, the Mayor of Adjame has opted to focus on unemployment, poverty and environmental degradation. Neighborhood committees (CDQs) were established to engage the energies and resources of local communities and channel efforts towards improving their living conditions and economic situation. CDQ activities range from environmental improvements that provide a sanitary setting for housing to the building and operation of community facilities and services.

By building up the capacity and governance capabilities of CDQs, the municipality promotes individual self-improvement initiatives and economic self-reliance among its communities. The CDQs are involved in many different activities including street cleaning and garbage collection; security services; and operating commercial enterprises. They also undertake some infrastructure improvements such as road maintenance, cleaning of drains and street lighting. In 1994, the Commune launched two new CDQ initiatives. The first aims to create a health center in each of the 19 quarters, managed by a health CDQ. The second initiative combines micro-incubators and training programs to encourage young Ivorians to start commercial enterprises.

Role of intermediary non-profit support organization that promotes good governance in community is widely being recognized these days. Tides Center in San Francisco, US, provides core management services and advises to new and existing efforts promoting social change in society. It is now working on more than 300 hundred projects in 40 states in the US and in 12 other countries, many of which are environmental organizations. Support by Tides Center helps community-based groups and organizations have good governance for their activity and management. They include funding application, helping create reports and documents to meet official requirement, personnel management, or overall managerial advise on plans and activities. Community-based initiative usually starts with strong mission and good will, but often with little capacity in organizational management.

For example, there are community groups that cannot hire a full-time professional financial officer. With some support and advice by Tides Center, they can prepare competitive funding applications to secure enough funds for effective management of projects and activities. The group also can create accountable activity/financial report or rules of the organization both for official use and for information for its members and general public. Organizational management (ex. Decision-making system, financial/personnel management, or reviewing/assessment system) needs transparency to everyone in order to run projects effectively and acceptably in the community. Intermediary support organization like Tides Center contributes to good governance in local community-based activities by empowering capacity of the people involved.

The Seven Triads of Sustainability:


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