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Key Message

"Governance is the process whereby societies and institutions make their important decisions, determine who they involve in making those decisions and how they render account." From: Institute on Governance Policy Brief No. 15.


Mark Halle talks about the need for greater government accountability on environmental issues.
(Flash Video - 1:59 min)

Networked Governance

Moving from vertical to horizontal approaches to decision making

Networked governance can be defined as the interconnectedness of independent units of authority and power,[1] whether individual, community, state, or corporate. Networked governance moves from vertical to horizontal approaches to decision making and is characterized by systems of communications, knowledge exchange and dialogue. We are working to operationalize the concept of “networked governance”: breaking down institutional silos and creating horizontal channels for knowledge exchange and collaboration, that lead to better informed decision making and more effective implementation. Tad Homer Dixon describes this as “open architecture democracy.”[2]

IISD’s experts suggest that the new information society will be governed through networks of networks, each of which has its own internal logic (such as national governments and their public–private partnerships), but which are all interconnected by a common set of governance protocols.[3] The idea, in other words, is that the architecture of global governance in the future could mirror the architecture of the Internet, and its layers of horizontal communications protocols.

Key contributions