Governance based on science and innovation for sustainable development
President Diaz-Canel co-authors article with Mercedes Delgado focused on innovation, information technology and the government’s role in integrating all social, economic and environmental dimensions of development, especially at the local level
Author: Ventura de Jesús | email@example.com
march 5, 2021 08:03:37
Photo: José Manuel Correa
More consistent growth, with an improved productive base, is an obligatory objective of government management in the pursuit of sustainable development for the present and future of Cubans.
This encouraging observation summarizes a recent article by Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez and Mercedes Delgado Fernández, published on the Ministry of Economy and Planning website, under the title “Innovation-oriented government management: Context and characterization of the model.”
The text seeks to examine the exercise of government in a socialist society and specifically in Cuba, outlining a model that must be oriented toward innovation, with principles, components, management cycles and an evaluation system to serve this purpose.
Integrating economic, social and environmental dimensions
The text reaffirms a well-known thesis that has been established in other guiding documents: the Conceptualization of the socio-economic model for socialist development, the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines, and the National Economic and Social Development Plan through 2030, which constitute the foundation for the country’s vision, and along with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, combine the economic, social and environmental dimensions of the nation.
The article explains that to meet these goals, without discarding a multifaceted approach, government management requires innovation policies, stating, “Understanding the nature and dynamics of problems and processes is necessary… to take into account all stakeholders, the most relevant aspects for the country or region and their transformative impact on the economy and society.”
At the same time, the authors note, government policies must promote exports and the Cuban economy’s insertion in global value chains; the attraction of investment and an effective, efficient contribution to the economy by all productive and service sectors.
After citing Cuba’s accomplishments in the fields of education, health, sports, culture and social justice, they emphasize that, at this time, the economic battle is a priority for the country, a battle which must be won essentially at the local level.
“What we want is that harmony and development emerge at the grassroots, in the municipality, with intelligent, appropriate management, with proactive work, based on its needs and also aspirations, its experience, its culture, its productive potential and the talent of its qualified workforce.”
Results-based quality management
In developing this idea, the authors emphasize the importance of increasing citizen participation in decision-making and improving problem-solving capacity, essential elements in the management of public institutions and which, in turn, demand the implementation of the network model, legislative modernization and results-based quality management.
The document also addresses the role of the state as regulator of the market economy, and argues for a systemic and comparative approach, noting the urgency of making use of new technologies, and the need for a government that coordinates the entire spectrum of interests in a currently difficult context.
Policies and strategies designed by public administrations must be clearly focused, above all, to avoid disregarding possible innovations which broaden and facilitate access to information across the board, and especially in terms of promoting accountability, they point out.
Another related observation is that “E-government facilitates transactions between government agencies, as well as between enterprises and citizens to the benefit of quality services and transparency in the financial arena.”
In addition, the authors highlight new digital government efforts, which favor agility, user-centered design, data-driven decision-making, and horizontal platforms creating transformations in the governance model and the accountability process.
In the interest of learning from other experiences, the authors note that Chinese thinking on socialism with their country’s specific peculiarities, in this new era, according to its leadership, is focused on culminating socialist modernization and revitalization of the nation.
The objective is the comprehensive construction of a modestly affluent society, to achieve China’s transformation into a powerful, modern, prosperous, democratic, civilized, harmonious and beautiful socialist country by the middle of the current century.
According to Chinese leader Xi Jinping, the economy has moved from a stage of rapid growth to a one of high-quality development, with supply-side structural reform for better quality, greater efficiency and consolidation of economic growth.
In the Chinese context, governance only focuses on basic questions regarding how to allocate resources among sectors, regions and organizations; what and how much to produce; and where and for whom to produce.
This approach is based on the development of an economy that is “dynamic, innovative and competitive, with institutional reform on the basis of creating new products and services of better quality, creating and applying new technologies, new materials, processes and products, as well as increasing productivity and the efficiency of resource allocation.”
Xi Jinping believes, the authors note, that innovation is the primary driving force advancing strategic development in the construction of a modernized economic system, with the unleashing and development of the productive forces.
Another quality sought in the immense country is social governance, which among other advantages promotes a common destiny for all of humanity and cooperation between countries and regions.
Díaz-Canel and Delgado likewise cited the theses of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam’s Prime Minister, Nguyen Xuân Phúc, who insists that the construction of a solid government, to serve citizens and enterprises, will help his country complete industrialization and national modernization. For this, he says, needed are great effort, innovative solutions, a holistic approach to public administration and effective preparation of public servants.
The article clarifies that in Cuba, socialist rule of law and planning are central components of the system for directing economic and social development, performing the essential role of projecting and leading strategic development, maintaining an appropriate balance between resources and needs.
To gain momentum, of course, “needed is preparation of cadres and the strategy adopted to promote the change of mentality required for implementation of the aforementioned Guidelines, the updating of the economic and social model of socialist development, as well as the construction of socialist rule of law, with a full legislative agenda based on the new Constitution of the Republic of Cuba.”
And another key idea is highlighted: “A change of mentality is one of the most difficult processes to achieve and is generally accomplished over the medium and long term,” something that local governments and the enterprise system must embrace in order to develop agile and efficient management.
Foresight grounded in science
As the guardian of the people, government administration requires foresight and coherent integration of plans, development programs and policies, with the active participation of all members of society. Establishing a model of management with a forward-looking approach, supported by science and oriented toward innovation, can contribute to sustainable development. Not to be overlooked are quality management models and computerized support tools to facilitate the in-house, participatory, innovative process of articulation of interests of all local actors and different levels of administration, based on the leadership of municipal governments.
Concluding their article, the authors assert that good governance is supported by principles, a coherent legal framework that is appropriate to the country’s context and needs, as well as institutional and strategic planning oriented toward innovation in government management and all areas of society.
Within this framework, the text summarizes that an integrated leadership, supported by information technology, is in a better position to comprehensively evaluate any task, no matter how difficult it may be.