Keywords: professional ethics, work ethics, good governance, sustainable development, equity, accountability, integrity, transparency, capability approach, sustainability, ethical issues
Embedding governance and sustainable development in ethics
Governments all over the world seem to be notoriously known for their lack of commitment to entrench ethical norms in their practices, which demand from them accountability, equity, integrity and transparency; perhaps they are just overwhelmed by the atrocious malpractices in their midst. It is not surprising that allegations and counterallegations of corruption, nepotism, cronyism or inadequate and appalling supervision and the mismanagement of government departments and companies' policies and funds (Round and Sampford, 2002) are rife. However, governments cannot be expected to govern without the commitment and collaboration of civil society. After all, governments are the people and governments are 'for' and 'about' the people. Hence, accountability and equity as governing functions demand from civil society not only participation in governance through the ballot box, but also accounting for other actions that might jeopardise or be in contrast to good governance practices. In this paper, I argue that a critical analysis of the ethical issues inherent in the concepts' governance and development should be based on professional ethics and work ethics and then be guided by the capability approach in order to enable a people-centred governance and development agenda.