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Building Trust in Government

Innovations in Governance Reform in Asia

image of Building Trust in Government
The ability of governments and the global community to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, ensure security, and promote adherence to basic standards of human rights depends on people's trust in their government. This book seeks to answer many of the questions raised in reference to means of strengthening trust in government within the Asia Pacific region. Through analyses of trends within North-East Asia, South-East Asia, South Asia and the Pacific Islands and specific innovations and reforms at the country level, it provides various perspectives on the causes of the decline in trust, countries and institutions that have managed to maintain higher degrees of confidence, and governance innovations and practices that have played an important role in strengthening trust once it has faltered.

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Conclusion: Trust is a must in government

A democratic government will not survive long if it does not build and sustain the trust of its citizens. Trust is a must in government, and not only for democratic government. Ironically, even rulers who may have come to power through a coup d’état or another form of unconstitutional seizure of power can gradually build trust among citizens, respect their rights, and enjoy popular support. In contrast, rulers elected through fair and free elections may rapidly lose trust if they do not deliver and live up to people’s expectations. Trust in government is the central element of good governance – it can be built up with sound policies enhancing people’s welfare and safety. But it can also be lost. It is not something a priori given. Our research that culminated in this book demonstrates in various examples how trust in government is difficult to build, and how it is easy to lose.

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