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The Fourth Branch of Government?

Photo: Nikahang Kowsar

The idea of the fourth branch of government is an innovative and forward-thinking approach to government that could potentially be beneficial for transitioning countries where civil society and the rule of law are still developing. It is based on the premise that in addition to the traditional three branches of government - executive, legislative, and judicial - there should be a fourth branch, the National Trust Fund, that is designed to manage and protect the country's natural resources.

The National Trust Fund would be responsible for managing all publicly-owned national wealth, including national parks, underground resources, and other natural resources essential to society’s development and sustainability. It would ensure that these resources are used to benefit the entire population and promote entrepreneurship and innovation. This would be achieved by providing low-interest loans to entrepreneurs, enabling them to develop new businesses and create jobs, thereby contributing to the growth and prosperity of the country.

Moreover, the National Trust Fund would also manage water resources, preserve the environment, and protect national parks. It would ensure that the natural resources are utilized based on the best practices of sustainability and preservation, guaranteeing the continued life of the nation's environment for future generations.

One of the significant advantages of the National Trust Fund is that it provides access to credit to all members of society. This approach enables individuals from all social and economic backgrounds to take advantage of the resources and create opportunities for themselves and their communities. This inclusiveness ensures that the wealth generated from natural resources is accessed equally among all members of society.

However, one potential challenge of the National Trust Fund is the balance of power between the executive branch and the National Trust Fund. For example, the executive branch, for political reasons, might require access to the National resources addressed to politically powerful entities. In such cases, it is crucial to ensure that the National Trust Fund's mandate is maintained and that its resources are not used for purposes that do not align with its objectives.

Another potential challenge is the issue of corruption. There is a risk that the National Trust Fund could become vulnerable to corruption, with individuals or groups attempting to exploit its resources for personal gain. To address this risk, the National Trust Fund must have strict governance mechanisms in place, with transparency and accountability at its core.

Overall, the concept of the fourth branch of government is an innovative approach that could be beneficial for transitioning countries. It provides an opportunity to manage natural resources in a way that benefits the entire population and promotes entrepreneurship and innovation. However, it is essential to ensure that the National Trust Fund is governed transparently and is protected from potential abuse by those in power. If implemented successfully, the National Trust Fund could provide a new model of governance that would benefit societies across the globe.


Kamal Y. Azari graduated from NYU Engineering with an MS in engineering in 1977. He received his Ph.D. from Fordham University in comparative politics. He is the author of Axis of Hope: A Perspective for Community Centric Government for Iran and Other MENA Countries, which was published to favorable reviews in 2014.


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