Freedom from conflict and violence is the most fundamental human entitlement, and the essential foundation for building peaceful and prosperous societies. At the same time, people the world over want their governments to be transparent, accountable and responsive to their needs. Personal security, access to justice, freedom from discrimination and persecution, and a voice in the decisions that affect their lives are development outcomes as well as enablers. So we are calling for a fundamental shift—to recognise peace and good governance as core elements of well-being, not an optional extra.

EXAMPLE Click here to read about how Liberia is working to solidify peace and stability.

Capable and responsive states need to build effective and accountable public institutions that support the rule of law, freedom of speech and the media, open political choice, and access to justice. We need a transparency revolution so citizens can see exactly where their taxes, aid and revenues from extractive industries are spent. We need governments that tackle the causes of poverty, empower people, are transparent, and permit scrutiny of their affairs.

Transparency and accountability are also powerful tools for preventing the theft and waste of scarce natural resources. Without sound institutions, there can be no chance of sustainable development. The Panel believes that creating them is a central part of the transformation needed to eradicate poverty irreversibly and enable countries across the world, especially those prone to or emerging from conflict, to develop sustainability – and that therefore institutions must be addressed in the new development agenda.

Societies organise their dialogues through institutions. In order to play a substantive role, citizens need a legal environment which enables them to form and join CSOs, to protest and express opinions peacefully, and which protects their right to due process.

Internationally, too, institutions are important channels of dialogue and cooperation. Working together, in and through domestic and international institutions, governments could bring about a swift reduction in corruption, money laundering, tax evasion and aggressive avoidance, hidden ownership of assets, and the illicit trade in drugs and arms. They must commit themselves to doing so.