Closing the Implementation Gap


In every country, sound laws are a key foundation of democratic governance and economic development. Crafting such laws, however, is only part of the path to success. The other half is making sure that the laws are properly implemented – which is often more challenging.

When laws and regulations are not properly adopted, such discrepancy creates an implementation gap – the difference between laws on the books and how they function in practice. This gap can have very negative consequences for democratic governance and the economic prospects of countries and communities. When laws are not properly implemented, that undermines the credibility of government officials, fuels corruption, and presents serious challenges for business, which in turn hampers economic growth.

This is especially true at the local level.  Implementation gaps are particularly visible and often most painfully felt at the local level, where poor governance and weak administration of laws have the greatest impact on the daily lives of ordinary citizens.

To help better understand why implementation gaps happen and how they can be addressed CIPE and Global Integrity launched a new guidebook, Improving Public Governance: Closing the Implementation Gap Between Law and Practice. The guidebook is based on extensive experience from both organizations’ work with local partners around the world on advancing accountable, transparent, and honest public governance and business environments.

With a particular focus on closing implementation gaps at the local level, the guidebook looks at possible scenarios and approaches that the three key stakeholders – governments, the private sector, and civil society – can take to improve public governance through making sure that laws on the books are implemented on the ground.

While solutions to closing the gaps will differ significantly based on the local context, the Improving Public Governance guidebook offers starting points for identifying implementation gaps in various laws and regulations, asking why these laws and regulations are not fully adopted or practiced, and coming up with private sector and civil society-driven strategies for better implementation.

If you are interested in improving governance within your community, read the guidebook! We are looking forward to hearing your comments or your experiences with implementation gaps.