Lack of inclusive governance is widening the divide between rich and poor across Asia and the Pacific.Barriers to governance structures inclusive of disadvantaged and marginalized groups are preventing access by tens of millions in the region – women, indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, victims of natural disasters and others – to critical governance services, as well as preventing them from exercising their human rights and achieving higher levels of human development. Political inclusion of such groups is essential to overcome the deeply embedded social inequities and economic inequalities prevalent in the region.
Although national circumstances differ across the Asia-Pacific region, governments face a common challenge: to create an enabling governance environment that is not only aware of, and responsive to, the needs and interests of the most disadvantaged and marginalized – but that also is willing and able to provide sound, effective remedies to these groups’ concerns.
This publication also examines the application of the principles of non-discrimination, participation, accountability and empowerment in governance arenas, and promotes the use of a human rights-based approach to programming on inclusive governance. Presenting lessons learnt in eight Asia-Pacific countries through ten case studies, a strong case is made for greater inclusion in governance as part of the agenda to deepen and consolidate democracy, ensure effective representation, and develop capacities to better respect, protect, and fulfil human rights.