- Working groups
- Civil society
- Technical cooperation
- Country systems capacity
- Enabling Environment
- Fragile situations
- Sector strategies
- Case stories
- Net search
Civil society: Key resources
- Executive summary
- Examination of evidence
- Operational implications
- Key messages
- Key resources
- Case stories
Voice, accountability and civic engagement: a conceptual overview: Discussion Paper #14, UNDP Oslo Governance Centre
This discussion paper provides an overview of current thinking on voice, accountability and the role of civic engagement in promoting more responsive democratic governance and sustainable development. It reviews recent reports, studies and evaluations of key donors and institutions and lays out lessons learnt in promoting voice and accountability mechanisms and strengthening civic engagement. These lessons include the importance of political relationships in the functioning of state institutions, the recognition that the creation of voice can be a messy, conflictual and difficult process, and the need for development practitioners to focus on both ‘voice’ and ‘accountability’ simultaneously. (Source: UNDP)
Civic Engagement in Policy Development M. Adil Khan 2008
How have states attempted to bring civil society organisations into policy discussions and policy development? What lessons can be learned from these attempts? This chapter from the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs World Public Sector Report 2008 examines initiatives to promote civic engagement in policy development. It argues that political leadership, institutional changes and capacity-building are of crucial importance for the success of participatory initiatives.
Capacity building is likely to become increasingly important throughout the life of the Civil Society Partnerships Programme. The team recognises that it is important, early on, to develop a clear understanding of current principles and practice in capacity building for Southern organisations involved in using research-based evidence in policy processes, and establish a common position and vocabulary as a starting point for engagement with potential partners.
This note makes the case that strengthening accountability is a critical CD strategy. The capacity of any system requires appropriate feedback loops to self-regulate, adapt and effectively achieve its objectives. This applies to living organisms and people, to organizations and to societies. In any given society there are a multitude of accountability relations and thus also a wide range of entry points for accountability as CD strategy. This implies further unbundling how accountability mechanisms actually work as well as identifying in more operational ways what can be pursued as promising strategies and instruments.
This paper reflects on the debate on capacity development from the perspective of southern civil society organizations. It is a synthesis of lessons from various global, regional and local initiatives undertaken by the International Forum on Capacity Building (IFCB).
Useful Web-sites and partners
- Impact Alliance Resource Center: This section of the Impact Alliance web site contains resources covering a wide variety of capacity building themes. The resources include documents, web links, events, discussions and much more. There is a specific focus on topics related to organizational development and institutional strengthening--including a growing library of core management themes relevant to organizations serving the interests of civil society. Theme pages of particular interest to this resource corner include: Advocacy, Anti-corruption, Capacity Development, Good governance and social accountability, and Human Resource Management.
- GSDRC topic guide on voice and accountability: This guide introduces some of the core debates and considerations around designing and implementing effective voice and accountability (V&A) interventions. It looks at the changing context of V&A work, tools for citizen engagement and how to measure the impact of V&A work. It explores relevant debates around deepening democracy, citizenship, rights, power and representation. It also highlights ways to develop pre-conditions for and create spaces for participation, including poverty reduction strategies (PRS), poverty and social impact analysis (PSIA), decentralisation and other participatory approaches to development.
- GSDRC topic Guide on Service Delivery: How can we ensure that basic services reach the poorest? What is the best way of involving service users and ensuring that providers are accountable to them? Are non-state service providers pro-poor, and how should the state engage with them? What are the particular challenges for delivering services in conflict or fragile environments? This guide provides an introduction to a few of the key recent debates for development practitioners involved in the provision of basic services, particularly health, education, water and sanitation. It includes academic articles, donor reports and case studies from a range of developing countries.
- Affiliated Network for Social Accountability (ANSA-Africa): Accountability in Service Delivery: ANSA-Africa is a network, jointly created by the World Bank and the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) in 2007, to be a leading African advocate of citizen involvement in demand-side governance initiatives. ANSA-Africa Secretariat is now hosted by Idasa based in Pretoria, South Africa. The objectives of the Network are to: develop cross-country collaboration on social accountability and demand-side governance initiatives; provide technical assistance to different countries so the quality of social accountability initiatives is greatly enhanced; deliver training programs on specific tools and techniques; and share country experiences and lessons from social accountability and demand-side governance initiatives regionally and globally.
- Capacity.Org Resource Corner on Accountability: Building on Issue 31 of Capacity.Org journal on accountability, this resource corner explores the issue of capacity development for accountability and good governance from diverse perspectives. It highlights citizen-led initiatives from around the world, as well as the ongoing international dialogue emanating from the 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, aimed at enhancing mutual accountability in donor-recipient relationships.
Other knowledge resources
- Debating the Provision of Basic Utilities in Sub-Saharan Africa: Despite the World Bank’s ample support for privatisation and exaggerated promises for privatisation’s performance, it has performed miserably in sub-Saharan Africa. Is it time to rethink supporting the private sector in this region?
- Can Privatisation and Commercialisation of Public Services Help Achieve the MDGs: This working paper argues that reliance on private sector provision will fail to address the central challenges of public sector delivery. The process of privatisation creates an incentive framework that undermines, rather than strengthens, the accountability and capacity of the State to provide accessible and affordable services.
- PPP for Basic Services Delivery (Human Development Viewpoint) Supporting formal and inclusive tripartite partnerships at the local level between government, business and communities is an effective way to unleash local development and alleviate poverty by increasing poor people's access to basic services.
- A capacity building framework: McKinsey, the management consultancy, conducted case studies on 13 nonprofit organizations that engaged in capacity building over a 10 year period. The research led to the creation of the ‘Capacity Framework’ which defines seven essential elements of nonprofit capacity. The elements are: Aspirations; Strategy; Organizational Skills; Human Resources; Systems & Infrastructure; Organizational structure and Culture.
- New Directions in State Reform: Implications for Civil Society in Africa: There is a gap between the discourse of civil society and the pressures for state reform in many countries in Africa. Whereas civil society discourse celebrates the power of social groups and organizations to contribute to the institutional changes necessary for democracy and development, the debate on state reform cautions against such optimism.
- A note on capabilities that contribute to the success of non-governmental organisations: Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are increasingly important actors in the field of development. They are diverse, in terms of their organisational form, structure and culture, and the issues they address. Correspondingly, the capacities that NGOs need in order to deliver on their mandate range across a broad spectrum.When asked,NGOs themselves list an interesting set of capacities that they believe make them sustainable and effective.
- Multi-Stakeholder Engagement Processes: Multi-Stakeholder Engagement Processes (MSEPs) are (structured) processes that are used to ensure participation on a specific issue and are based on a set of principles, sometimes inspired by the rights-based approach to development1. They aim to ensure participatory equity, accountability and transparency, and to develop partnerships and networks amongst different stakeholders. MSEPs can create the conditions for confidence building and trust between different actors and serve as a mechanism for providing mutually acceptable solutions and win-win situations. The inclusive and participatory nature of the processes promotes a greater sense of ownership over its outcomes, and consequently, strengthens its sustainability. MSEPs also stimulate transparent and inclusive decisionmaking, strengthened stakeholder networks, accountability, and a sense of empowerment, thereby contributing to improved governance.