International agreements on the promotion of good governance

Following the Second World War, the importance of ensuring state power is exercised responsibly was laid down in numerous agreements and resolutions including, for example, the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights and the 1966 United Nations' human rights pacts.

Good governance became a key development factor in securing peace, ensuring security and tackling poverty. Many of the goals set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (adopted in September 2015) can only be achieved with the help of good governance. Indeed, goal 16 deals specifically with this issue, stating that by 2030 the international community intends to "…provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels." During the 2030 Agenda negotiations, Germany was an extremely vocal advocate of the aspects laid down in goal 16.

In the 2005 Paris Declaration, the 2008 Accra Agenda for Action and the 2011 Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation, the international community made a commitment to step up its support for good governance promotion in partner countries in order to make develop cooperation efforts more effective.


The Development Assistance Committee (DAC) at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has a governance network ("GovNet") that fosters knowledge-sharing between experts from the realms of research and practice. Its aim is to enhance the effectiveness of development cooperation activities in the field of governance and increase the efficiency of developing countries’ governmental institutions.


According to Article 6, paragraph 1 of the Maastricht Treaty on European Union, the European Union is founded on the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law. The EU’s international and development activities are also based on these principles of good governance.

This is reflected in the EU’s new Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy (2015–2019). Adopted in July 2015, the plan is intended to underline the European Union’s commitment to protecting human rights and promoting democracy across the globe.

The "Agenda for Change", presented in October 2011, also highlights the importance of good governance in ensuring sustainable development in as many areas as possible. It thus requires EU development programmes to concentrate more on promoting democracy, human rights and rule of law in future.


The African Union (AU) seeks to promote good governance in its member states and its 2002 Constitutive Act declared the promotion of good governance to be an important aim of the signatory states. In 2004, that aim was reiterated in the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.

2001 saw the establishment of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), at the heart of which is the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). The APRM is a voluntary, transparent process in which the African states engage in an official dialogue concerning good governance and good economic and fiscal policy. 35 members of the African Union have acceded to the mechanism to date (January 2016).

Latin America

The Organization of American States (OAS) considers democracy to be the best basis for peace, security and development in the region. Article 1 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, which was adopted in 2001, stipulates that all American peoples have the right to democracy and that is the duty of their governments to promote and defend it.

In recent years, the Inter-American Development Bank – like other regional development banks – has stepped up its governance activities. In 2014, it approved loans worth around 2.2 billion dollars for governmental reform/modernisation projects. In 2004, the loans granted for this area only just totalled 884 million dollars.

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