Report by the Centre for Public Impact: “…embarked upon a worldwide project to find out how governments can strengthen their legitimacy. Amidst the turbulence and unpredictability of recent years, there are many contemporary accounts of people feeling angry, cynical or ambivalent about government.
While much has been said about the personalities of leaders and the rise of populist parties, what’s less clear is what governments could really do to strengthen legitimacy, a concept most agree remains integral to worldwide stability and peace. To find out what legitimacy means to people today and how it could be strengthened, we decided to break out of the usual circles of influence and ensure our project heard directly from citizens from around the world. People were open and honest about the struggle for someone in government to understand and to listen. Some shed tears while others felt angry about how their voices and identities seemed undervalued. Everyone, however, wanted to show how it was still very possible to build a stronger relationship and understanding between governments and people, even if the day-to-day actions of government were not always popular.
The aim of this paper is not to provide the definitive model for legitimacy. Instead, we have sought to be open about what we heard, stay true to people’s views and shine a light on the common themes that could help governments have better conversations about building legitimacy into all their systems and with the support of their citizens.
We gathered case studies to show how this was already happening and found positive examples in places we didn’t expect. The importance of governments showing their human side – even in our age of AI and robotics – emerged as such a key priority, and is why we called this paper Finding a more human government.
This is a conversation that has only just begun. …. To see what others are saying, do take a look at our website www.findinglegitimacy.centreforpublicimpact.org”