Quotes from NGO Accountability: Politics, Principles and Innovations


- ‘In the final decade of the 20th century, there seemed to be a broad-based consensus that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were a good thing – as shepherds of development, as democratic agents and in making sense of globalization. NGOs were seen as the core of active civil societies, supporting the delivery of public services and contributing to an ever-strong wave of democratization that appeared unstoppable after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. However, since 2001, there has been a prolific attempt to build a case against NGOs suggesting that they are undermining national sovereignty and democracy, and have no relationship to any real public. As NGOs increasingly exercise their voice in public policy debates, and assert a pivotal role in defining both the problems (global warming) and the solutions (global treaty), the demand for NGO accountability is growing. The bottom line in the discussion on NGO accountability is represented by the questions: what roles are valid for NGOs to play?; which responsibilities should be clearly articulated as part of these roles?; and to whom should NGOs be accountable? Related questions are where and how NGOs fit in structures of governance locally, nationally, and internationally. The public, the media, academia and politicians have all begun to question who has entitled NGOs to assert such visible and apparently influential roles in differential political arenas. One of the most succinct and powerful expressions levied against NGOs is ‘who do you represent?’ Unfortunately, these questions and the suspicion of NGOs are supported by people whose political views or interests are threatened by particular NGOs or the rise of NGOs as a political force.’ (3-4)
- ‘There are a number of real and important accountabilities to be address by NGOs, which stem from their responsibilities. NGO responsibilities can be categorized roughly in three ways. First, there are organizational responsibilities, which include transparency in decision-making and accounting, efficiency of operations and working within legal confines in a transparent manner. The latter responsibility, however, assumes universal rights are respected in the context within which an NGO operates. Second, there are responsibilities embedded in the mission of an NGO, such as promoting rights for the poor, the alleviation of hunger, children’s rights, or saving the environment. Third, there is a category of responsibilities to different stakeholders that are impacted by or involved in the activities of NGOs. The purpose of this book is to place the question of NGO accountability into the political framework from which it has arisen.’ (4)
- ‘Expanding on the first point, an NGO will be in a much better position to address accountability demands in an environment that is free, democratic and conducive to civic action, as opposed to a situation in which an authoritarian regime is repressing the basic freedoms of association, assembly and expression.’ (5)
- ‘This book treats NGO accountability as an issue of plurality based on the need to apply common principles and universal rights in different contexts, as opposed to being an issue of common standards, tool-box techniques or mechanisms that can be applied universally. We do not believe that there are NGO accountability ‘best practices’ for sale.’ (5)
- ‘A discourse on accountability has been lacking among NGOs, perhaps out of a defensive reflex towards immediate political threats and addressing immediate needs, but also because seriously engaging accountability is expensive.’ (5)
- ‘Even though most NGO efforts to address accountability have emerged just in the last decade, they have begun to consolidate, within individual organizations and across national, global and regional networks. An additional aim of this book is to present these innovations in NGO accountability.’ Our ultimate goal is to help Ngo practitioners further develop the panorama of NGO accountability.’ (5)
- ‘In response to increasing calls for NGO accountability, standard accountability mechanisms have arisen in abundance over the past ten years, such as certification-and-rating systems, developing infrastructure and management capacity and establishing codes of conduct. These accountability mechanisms often focus on the relationship between donors and NGOs, or governments and NGOs (Ebrahim, 2003). They can be helpful in upholding standards in particular fields, but they do not address the rights and responsibilities of NGOs.’ (5-6)
- ‘NGOs have tested the boundaries of political systems by assuming a number of civic rights, especially in authoritarian regimes and emerging democracies.’ (6)
- ‘Governments and multinational authorities welcome some of these roles, but find other activities of NGOs to be of concern, especially those which pertain to monitoring, commenting on or otherwise attempting to influence the market, political process of the government and its authorities in day-to-day operations.’ (6)
- ‘Governments or other power holders use different means and ways to compromise, disturb or stop Ngo activities. We distinguish five categories of the most commonly used tactics, in order of egregiousness: 1. Challenge credibility: Authorities may try to challenge the credibility of an NGO by arguing that it promotes conflict (especially religious or ethnic conflict) or endangers stability by importing foreign values and foreign donor influences. NGO’s voices in public policy discourse are often silenced by declaring them a threat to national security or against the national interest. Another common tactic is to suggest that an NGO is motivated by its own aspirations to garner state power or financial betterment, or that it represents no one. Challenging credibility may also include denying the value of information or denying the relevance of the policy advices as released by an NGO. 2. Co-opt or corrupt: Multinational authorities, governments and private sector actors try to co-opt or corrupt NGOs by bleeding their energies and resources away from key issues and towards governmental programs, commissions or other bureaucratic obligations…3. Challenge legality…4. Disturb operations: Governments can intervene at the operational level of NGO activities by refusing requests for information that are, by law, supposed to be in the public domain (Majot, Chapter 13). They can require information disclosure from NGOs even when there is no legal backing for the request, tamper with communications equipment, mail and monitor computer traffic, or plant an agent within the NGO. They can also impose travel bans for NGO staff and freeze bank accounts (Streetnet International, 2006). 5. Intervene beyond the rule of law: Lastly, rights or the rule of law have no meaning for some authoritarian regimes. These governments may decide to operate beyond the law to impede NGO activities through extortion, damaging property, framing staff as criminal, harassing volunteers or threatening the personal safety of persons affiliated with the NGOs.’ (6-7)
- ‘Specific sub-sectors, like Islamic NGOs, suffer in particular from a loss of the presumption of innocence. Donors have to prove that they are not a conduit for funding violence.’ (8)
- ‘Resistance to granting NGOs the right to participate in public policy discussions is tantamount to resisting civic engagement in public policy or, in short, resisting democracy.’ (8)
- ‘The first responsibility of an NGO is to define its own accountability.’ (8)
- ‘The main features of an NGO are: self-governing, private, not-for-profit and with an explicit social mission.’ (8)
- ‘NGOs can usefully be distinguished from community-based organizations (CBOs), on the one hand, and social movements, on the other hand. CBOs may have goals comparable to NGOs but are small, local and less absorbed into broader networks or alliances. Social movements are foremost qualified by their effective capacity to reach out to a mass-based constituency of support and do not share the characteristics of an organization. An NGO is generally an intermediary organization with a defined legal body and organizational shape, which qualifies it to receive assistance from donors. Both CBOs and social movements directly articulate the interest of their supporters and operate within less formal structures and receive less external financial assistance or none at all.’ (9)
- ‘We refrain from defining accountability very tightly at the outset of this book, as its intent is to unfold a series of different angles, perceptions or conditions that may influence or determine whether or not an NGO is considered accountable. Although it may be grounded in legal obligations, accountability is a normative and socially constructed concept and it always requires interpretation of particular facts, circumstances, action or inaction.’ (9)
- ‘Today, debates regarding NGO accountability are embedded in multiple discourses around development, security, globalization and global governance.’ (9)
- ‘The fashionable development paradigm was to rely on markets as much as possible, to actively [sic] downsize the state and to switch social service delivery to NGOs.’ (10)
- ‘After 20 years of development assistance provided by governments, and multilateral agencies, the poor were not benefiting. The blame for entrenched poverty was placed squarely on the shoulders of developing country governments and justified through arguments that governments were too big and not efficient, or were corrupt. Aid and other financial resources were shifted away from government agencies to NGOs. NGOs claimed a bigger portion of the assistance cake, and in so doing shifted from organizations focused on charity and emergency into carriers of people-centered sustainable development.’ (10)
- ‘From 2001 through to today, the discourse on NGO accountability has two prominent strands. The first reflects greater themes in the development and globalization discourses. The return of state centricity or supremacy is one clear trend. Some states feel that they have ceded far too much authority to NGOs and other private agencies.’ (12)
- ‘Perception of NGO accountability focused on balancing multiple responsibilities to different constituencies or stakeholders, using a variety of mechanisms, servicing accreditation rather than regulation. A competing fifth syllogism is also on the rise, based on principles of human rights and supported by the apparent differences of public trust in different institutions.’ (12-13)
- ‘The public trend of trust toward NGOs competes with the rise of state supremacy and the trend towards greater control over NGOs. Apparently, the global public (at least those bits that have been surveyed) believe that NGOs generally contribute to the public good.’ (13)
- ‘This book is oriented towards the fifth syllogism.’ (13)
- ‘I propose that the debate about NGO external accountability be reconfigured to seek better performance rather than accountability.’ (21)
- ‘If an NGO-related question were to come to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) today, that Court would not allow NGOs to submit their own statements. No NGO participation in the ICJ has occurred since it was established in 1946, and the last requests by NGOs for an opportunity to submit amicus briefs in non-contentious cases were denied ( Shelton , 1994). The ICJ may be the only international arena in which NGOs have lost participatory opportunities since the 1920s.’ (23)
- ‘Although most of the international legal agreements that provide for public participation in international organizations extend that participation to NGOs rather than to individuals, one prominent exception is the World Bank Inspection panel that permits requests for inspection from ‘any group of two or more people in the country where the Bank-financed project is located who believe that as a result of the Bank’s violation their rights or interests have been, or are likely to be, adversely affected in a direct and material way.’ The Inspection Panel is a good example of clear accountability mechanism for an international organization because the Panel reviews whether the Bank’s actions are consistent with a prescribed set of standards – in this case, the Bank’s own rules.’ (24)
- ‘Pursuing a similar theme shortly afterwards, The Economist ran an influential essay ‘Who Guards the Guardians?’, which put forth the ‘novel idea’ of ‘auditing NGOs’ (The Economist, 20 September 2003). More so than any other general interest journal, The Economist has been attentive to the phenomenon of NGOs.’ (24)
- ‘Rather, he says, ‘the glory or organizations of civil society is not democratic legitimacy, but the ability to be a pressure group’ that will speak horizontally to other global elites. Such a horizontal conversation has a ‘worthwhile, essential function in making the world – sometimes, at least, a better place – but it does not reduce the democratic deficit’ ( Anderson , 2000).’ (25)
The degree of legitimacy declined after the international system began ‘embarking on the path of downgrading democratic sovereigns and upgrading the supposed legitimacy of international NGOs’.’ (26)
- ‘So who elected the NGOs?’ David Rieff (26)
- ‘[Martha Schweitz] explains that NGOs have at least three reasons for being that have nothing to do with representing anyone in particular: first, being sources of information and expertise; second, delivering services to people; and third, standing up for a core value.’ (26)
- ‘In [Gary Johns’] view, the only scrutiny needed for NGOs is ‘the ordinary scrutiny of any group of person who seeks to make claims on the public’, that is, the ‘integrity and truth of the proposal’.’ (27)
- ‘One conclusion [Julie Mertus] reaches is that ‘As long as international law fails to articulate a clear and consistent position as to the responsibility of non-State actors’, these actors may continue to neglect human rights.’ (27)
- ‘Jan Aart Scholte, a long-time scholar of ‘civil society’, observes that even though ‘civil society groups have an obligation to answer to stakeholders for their actions and omissions’, most of these groups ‘have operated very limited and unimaginative accountability mechanisms in relation to their own activities’ (Scholte, 2004). He sees such accountability shortfalls as being politically costly to ‘civil society’ work because authorities seize on missing accountability to reject the legitimacy of those groups in global governance.’ (27)
- ‘Hugo Slim offers a working definition of NGO accountability, which is ‘the process by which an NGO holds itself openly responsible for what it believes, what it does, and what it does not do in a way that shows it involving all concerned parties and actively responding to what it learns’ (Slim, 2002). Slim proposes constructing a map of the NGOs’ various stakeholders in a given situation because NGO accountability cannot be expected to be uniform across a wide range of NGO activity. The map may reveal conflicting interests and will help in the design of the right accountability mechanisms, such as social audits or a complaint procedure.’ (28)
- ‘An extremely impressive analysis of human rights NGO accountability has recently been authored by Robert Charles Blitt (2004).’ (28)
- ‘Among the harms [Blitt] notes are the damage to an impugned body’s reputation from misleading allegations, the futility of seeking judicial relief on small-size transactions and the difficulty of private law remedies because of extra-jurisdictional issues. Although I do not agree with every point he makes, his analysis is cogent on the whole and would be applicable to NGOs well beyond the human rights field. Blitt’s solution is industry self-regulation, in other words, the major HROs should establish detailed standards for operations, and invite all HROs to subscribe to them voluntarily. The standards would cover: professional staff and board membership criteria; financial and financial disclose transparency; best practices for research, fact-finding and reporting; and protocols for issuing public retractions. Blitt makes clear that ‘governments would have no role to play in setting HRO standards’. Once standards are adopted, they could be monitored and enforced in several ways, such as an independent monitoring agency, annual ratings of HROs, or best practices for financial agreements. He concludes that ‘while individuals may remain free to establish fly-by-night HROs, recognized HROs will have an authoritative and objective tool that can be harnessed to credential themselves in the eyes of the media, governments, intergovernmental agencies, courts and the public at large’ (Blitt, 2004).’ (29)
- ‘NGO accountability is also being addressed in the reports of major international advisory commissions. In June 2004, the Panel of Eminent Persons on United Nations-Civil Society Relations appointed by Secretary-General Kofi Annan delivered its report and suggested that UN practices for engaging civil society should work to define ‘standards of governance, such as those for transparency and accountability’ (UN, 2004).’ (29)
- ‘While there is now a broad recognition among member states of the UN of the substantial and proven benefits of non-governmental participation in intergovernmental debate on global issues, there are continuing concerns about the legitimacy, representativity, accountability and politics of non-governmental organizations.’ WTO Consultative Board (30)
- ‘Certainly, accountability needs to be in place for physically harmful NGO activities. Whenever an NGO engages in illegal or terrorist activity, then obviously it ought to be accountable to national criminal justice systems or to the UN Security Council. In recent years, the Security Council has often targeted non-state actors with economic sanctions (Hufbauer and Oegg, 2003). Such retaliation against private persons through joint governmental action is not a new development, as multilateral legislation against dangerous organizations began with the Protocol of 1904 against the Anarchist Movement.’ (31-32)
- ‘With respect to external accountability, funding agencies and foundations are likely to demand and obtain some degree of accountability (Ovsiovitch, 1998; Pettit, forthcoming).’ (33)
- ‘1 Delgated responsibilities occur when the international community delegates a task to an NGO. For example, the UN Security Council occasionally requests NGOs to provide assistance…2 Assumed responsibilities occur when an NGO takes on a needed task that no one else is doing adequately. For example, Rotary International has launched a project to eradicate polio…3 Advocacy is the NGO’s use of its voice to influence world policy-making within international organizations and in national capitals…As I see it, the external accountability requirements should be highest for the tasks delegated to NGOs, and lowest for activities that the NGO itself originates, with the assumed responsibilities lying somewhere in between.’ (34)
- ‘Let me suggest the following framework to enhance NGO performance, specifically with reference to international advocacy activities. Rather than try to control what NGOs say and do, we should be improving the quality of public discourse so that good ideas from NGOs are more likely to be accepted by elected officials and bad ideas are more likely to be ignored. The way to improve the marketplace of ideas is to make it as competitive as possible among bureaucrats, NGOs and business participants (Esty, 1998). When NGO outputs are poor, they are not wholly to blame because they receive to little advice on how to be constructive.’ (35)
- ‘NGOs do not compete with legislatures to represent public opinion. At most, an NGO can represent a particular constituency or point of view.’ (36)
- ‘The best check on bad ideas from NGOs is criticism from others…Such a market-like check is sufficient.’ (38)
- ‘In 2003, the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership International (HAP-I) was launched to improve the accountability of organizations engaged in delivering humanitarian services (Callmard in this volume).’ (39)
- ‘Because NGOs are extremely sensitive to threats to their influence, they can be expected to take steps to obviate those threats. Recognizing that NGO influence is now being undermined to some extent by the mantra for greater NGO accountability, NGOs will be eager to cooperate in the expansion of ‘accountability’ mechanisms.’ (40)
- ‘Government regulation tends to be territorial and yet this does not march up well with the domain of NGO action that can be global, or with the membership and participants in an NGO that can be transnational.’ (40)
- ‘Governments should not try to regulate directly the quality of advocacy of NGOs, but rather should improve it indirectly by establishing mechanisms that give NGOs an incentive to upgrade their own performance. NGOs are very likely to be criticizing governments and it will be difficult for governments to appear to be objective were they to supervise NGO statements.’ (40)
- ‘As Richard Mulgar (2000) argues, accountability is external, that is, it entails an act of control by someone that is not part of the body being held accountable. Accountability refers to a certain type of interaction: it is a two-way social exchange (the seeking of answers, response, rectification, and so on). Finally, accountability presupposes rights of superior authority, in the sense that those asking for accountability have the authority to demand answers and impose sanctions.’ (45)
- ‘Many of the social movements that have emerged in different democratic societies in the past three decades (ecological, feminist, peace, youth, anti-globalization, and so on) express identities and claims that were not represented or adequately processed by the existing mediating structures of political and economic society.’ (47)
- ‘There is a second group of societal initiatives that focus instead on the legal dimension of the concept of accountability.’ (48)
- ‘Traditionally, analyses of mechanisms of legal accountability focus exclusively on the interactions that take place within a group of intra-state actors and on mechanisms (such as parliamentary investigative commissions, the courts, electoral authorities) that belong to a broader system of division of power and of checks and balances within the state. However, the emergence of strong human rights movements in different national and regional contexts and of a variety of civic initiatives organized around a common concern for constitutionalizing the workings of the state called attention to innovative forms of civil society-based politicization organized primary around demands for accountable government (Pérez-Díaz, 1999; Peruzzotti, 2002; Goetz and Jenkis, 2001).’ (48)
- ‘The concept of civil society stands on the constituent side of the representative bond; it is not a representative instance.’ (48)
- ‘Because they are not electoral institutions (not representative in the electoral sense) they are free to be pure, unabashed advocates of a point of view; free to ignore all the contradictory impulses that democratic politics requires and the compromises and adjustments and departures from principled purity that politicians must make; and free to ignore entirely what everyone else, the great democratic masses and their leaders, might think in favor of what they themselves believe is the right, the true, and the good. (Anderson and Rieff, 2004)’ (49)
- ‘If civic associations assume public functions and act as partners in governance, a different yardstick should apply and formal mechanisms to regulate and monitor their activities must be established to be able to hold these actors accountable.’ (49)
- ‘Civic organizations that ‘co-govern’ or that have assumed decision-making responsibilities are no longer on the side of the citizenry, that is, they are no longer external to political power; they have migrated from the constituent to the representative side of the equation and are consequently in no position to monitor political power externally. They should be subjected to formal mechanisms of accountability, as any other representative body would.’ (49)
- ‘It would be as erroneous for civil society in representative regimes. It would be as erroneous for civil society to claim or abrogate a representative role, as it is to demand ‘representativeness’ from civic actors.’ (50)
- ‘To equate civil society to the logic of interest group-politics is an unfair and inadequate simplification of the immense forms of collective action and association that develop within the social arena…These value-driven organizations thus differ in their structure and claims from private interest representation; their agenda is not necessarily driven by the defense of specific economic interest, nor are their actions likely to benefit their members directly.’ (51)
- ‘Usually, the literature distinguishes between membership and non-membership organizations. Grassroots or membership organizations differ from other forms of civic associations by the fact that they are internally organized around a classic representative structure: there is a clear constituency, a process of delegation of power to a set of representatives, as well as instances and mechanisms by which the former can make the latter accountable…In this type of organization, numbers matter: the size of their membership is usually taken as a measure of their ‘representative’ weight by government and political parties. A large massive organization will certainly command more attention from them than one only represents a politically insignificant proportion of the electorate.’ (51)
- ‘Other forms of civic organizations like social movements or NGOs, instead, are built on a different type of claim. They are generally non-membership organizations and in many instances are driven by a small cadre of activists and self-appointed leaders. Their voice is neither the voice of numbers or votes, nor the voice of already constituted private interests; they do not claim to represent a certain percentage of the citizenry or electorate, nor specific interests (as private-interest organizations). They entail a different sort of organization – a public-interest organization – whose role and interventions can be subjected neither to the representative logic of parties, nor to forms of private-interest representation. They do not claim (and do not want to be) representative of existing constituencies. Rather, they want to transform the latter’s identities and behavior; they want to mold a new type of constituency.’ (51-52)
- ‘Similarly, many self-appointed NGOs act as advocates of constituencies that do not yet exist, they claim to speak for the unorganized and the voiceless. They engage in what Warren Nyamugasira (1998) has termed an ‘interim representation’ – they are not actually representing a constituency, but rather speaking for a constituency that has yet to be organized and empowered.’ (52)
- ‘ ‘The ultimate objective against which success must be measured’, Nyamugasira rightly argues, ‘is that the people’s voice increases while that of NGOs themselves declines’ (Nyamugasira, 1998). It is this transformative and future-oriented logic that sets many civil society organizations apart from the representative activities of parties and interest-group organizations. While the latter struggle to represent existing constituencies properly, be it a percentage of the electorate or a certain economic sector, many civil society organizations do not attempt to aggregate already constituted interests and groups, but rather to challenge them. It is a future-oriented politics that is initially carried out in loneliness by very ‘unrepresentative’ groups and organizations. The work of human rights organizations in authoritarian contexts, for instance, often is carried out by minor groups that must confront the hostility of both the regimes they are denouncing and of society at large. The significance of such politics rests precisely on its unrepresentative character, that is, in the refusal to abide by the predominant standards of an existing political culture that welcomed or the predominant standards of an existing political culture that welcomed or tolerated human rights abuses.’ (52)
- ‘To attempt to make civic organizations politically accountable to the citizenry at large would destroy one of the most valuable assts of the notion of civil society: its role in generating cultural and political innovation by challenging predominant forms of self-understanding. The question that is frequently asked of civic organizations, ‘Who do you represent?’, is inadequate to weigh the claims of civic actors. The question we should rather ask is ‘What do you represent?’. It is not numbers, but the force of their arguments that give legitimacy to their claims.’ (52-53)
- ‘Given that these organizations fundamentally operate in the public sphere, where they develop counter-arguments that challenge official or predominant interpretations, their credibility and public reputation is crucial to the success of their mission and activities. It is in their best interest to uphold high standards of behavior and to develop a solid reputation. In this respect, civil society organizations and movements are subject to the same informal controls and threats as political parties (and for that matter, as any organization that needs to build and sustain symbolic capital to operate successfully in the public sphere). The fact that these mechanisms are informal does not mean that they are weak; a scandal can have devastating effects on any civic organization since it could irreparably damage its public image and prestige (Gibelman and Gelman, 2001).’ (53)
- ‘We are frequently confronted with a situation that is the very opposite of an ideal accountability relationship: it is the NGO or multilateral agency which is clearly in a power position while the targets of their intervention not only lack equal understanding, but too often stand in a relationship of extreme dependency with regard to the material goods or services that the organization provides.’ (54)
- ‘When, then, can we properly speak of an accountability relationship in the realm of civic organizations? First, in the relationship that many organizations establish with donors. In this case there is a clear act of delegation of power (not political, but economic power) that conditions the NGO-donor exchange.’ (55)
- ‘Three lessons can be drawn from our review of the problem of the representativeness and accountability of civic organizations. First, the reproach that is usually made against civic organizations about their lack of representativeness is misleading, for civil society organizations are not representative but constitutive institutions. Second, that being on the constitutive side of the equation means that these organizations are free of the formal accountability constraints that regulate the interactions of representative institutions and that such a condition is essential to give them ample room for free and creative action. Attempting to subject them to a variety of formal accountability mechanisms would inevitably undermine one of the most valuable features of civil society. Lastly, there should be a cautious use of the term accountability, especially when civic organizations are engaged with disempowered and needy populations. The above stated caveats do not mean that the question of the institutional qualities of civic associations should be discarded altogether, or that the search for ways to make them more open and transparent should be abandoned.’ (55-56)
- ‘Efforts to improve the quality of the associational terrain of existing civil societies should not simply transplant solutions or mechanisms that are adequate for other spheres, as that would compromise civil society as a field of creative self-constitution of new actors and voices. It would be erroneous to establish government- or privately run certification boards or to institutionalize formal structures of civic representation that grant the status of ‘representative of civil society’ to a group of organizations. Instead, efforts should go, first, in the direction of establishing more open and transparent organizations and developing civic actors whose behavior is subject to more demanding ethical and legal standards. Second, efforts should be made to improve the quality and openness of the public sphere to prevent its capture by a small group of corporations, the government, political parties, private interest associations and ‘the usual suspects’ that as civic organizations tend to abrogate for themselves the voice of civil society. Such two-tier politics would mirror the politics that some civic actors are promoting to increase the accountability, openness and transparency of representative institutions.’ (56)
- ‘A politics of social accountability turned inwards is not only feasible, it is also the most adequate way of dealing with the quality and integrity of the associational structures of civil society. By adopting a societal road to institutional transformation, civil society can avoid the dangers of a statist approach to the problem, with the associated risks to its autonomy that this type of solution always entails.’ (56)
- ‘In 1995, the [World] Bank undertook a project entitled ‘Developing Global Standards for NGO Laws’ that focused on the legal aspects of enabling environments, the centerpiece of which was the production of a handbook that would provide suggestions of global standards for the development and improvement of laws and regulatory systems for NGOs. The stated purpose of this effort was to promote a more supportive legal environment for NGOs that would also make them more transparent and accountable.’ (62)
- ‘The envisioned handbook was produced, ultimately entitled the Draft Handbook on Good Practices for Laws Relating to Non-Governmental Organizations (hereinafter Draft Handbook), the primary draft of which was issued in May 1997 as a discussion document. The Draft Handbook proved to be controversial and in the end, some five years later, the Bank decided that is was not an appropriate tool for its use.’ (62)
- ‘The enormous growth in the number of NGOs was one of the hallmarks of the post-cold war era. NGOs came to be viewed by many in the donor community as more reliable recipients of financial support than governments, about which there were often serious doubts about capacity, intention and honesty. Simultaneously, new technology permitted NGOs to coordinate and organize with each other on a myriad of often controversial issues.’ (63)
- ‘In the 1990 financial year projects in which civil society groups had some operational role were only about 10 per cent of the total, while by the 2001 financial year, more than 70 percent of the projects considered by the Bank’s Board included some intended civil society involvement (World Bank, 2001/2001).’ (63)
- ‘It would not be effective for the World Bank to try and press governments to introduce progressive laws in this area. Governments who introduce laws unwillingly are likely to have little intention of implementing them.’ John Clark, World Bank (63)
- ‘In 1995, the Bank engaged the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL), an NGO based in Washington DC to work with it on these issues, and the Developing Global Standards for NGO Laws Project was born.’ (64)
- ‘ ‘the presumption behind all NGO laws should be that individuals, groups, and legal persons are entitled to form associations for any legal, nonprofit purpose’ (emphasis in original; that there should always be a presumption in favor of establishment; that the establishment process should be simple, no more difficult than that for a commercial entity; and that establishment should involve a minimum of bureaucratic discretion, and ‘it is… not necessary for a government official to decide whether there is a need for the organization to exist or not’.’ Draft Handbook (65)
- ‘The Draft Handbook distinguished between two general types of NGOs: ‘public benefit organizations’ (PBOs) and ‘mutual benefit organizations’ (MBOs). The PBO-MBO terminology was critical to the suggested regulatory scheme since it was used to determine the recommended level of regulation. Those NGOs that sought to serve some public benefit were usually to be subject to greater scrutiny by, and accountability to, government. The Draft Handbook’s justification for this approach was that there is a legitimate public interest in the regulation of activities of NGOs that sought to benefit ‘the public interest’, for that reason alone: ‘The activities of PBOs – and the public interest activitites of MBOs – affect the public interest, and the public is entitled to know about them’. Once NGOs to be regulated had been identified, the Draft Handbook called for them to be transparent and accountable, ‘the basic trade-off for relatively easy establishment…in exchange for protection of the laws allowing easy establishment as a legal person’.’ (66)
- ‘We do not believe that advising governments on the sensitive and politically-contested matter of how to organize civil society is an appropriate role for the World Bank; it is a subject which is not within the Bank’s particular competence or experience and the Bank’s staff are generally unfamiliar with the ramifications of such issues. For these reasons, if governments are in need of advice on NGO laws from an international body, we would encourage the Bank to urge governments to make use of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ program of technical assistance. (Three Freedoms Project, 1998)’ (67)
- ‘Governments would no doubt be pleased to be able to cite the World Bank as the authority for imposing new restrictions on NGOs. Critics thus called the Bank’s rule-of-law limitation of the applicability of the Draft Handbook as not only unrealistic, but also naïve.’ (68)
- ‘Any restrictions must be precise and framed as narrowly as possible in order to avoid ambiguity that would lead to misinterpretation or manipulation. In the view of its critics, the Draft Handbook, particularly its transparency and accountability provisions, failed to meet international standards in several respects. Among the concerns were a lack of clarity in the terms and concepts that were central to the proposed regulatory scheme, and the overarching role of ‘activities intended to benefit the public interest’ in justifying greater regulation and scrutiny.’ (70)
- ‘Critics also pointed out that the Draft Handbook’s suggestion that the ‘basic trade-off’ between the establishment of an NGO and the imposition of mechanisms designed to achieve transparency and accountability was not consistent with international law. First, the exercise of freedom of association is a right and the government is obliged to facilitate the enjoyment of that right by making it possible for people to form organizations – there is no quid pro quo to obtaining legal personality.’ (72)
- ‘A much better way to achieve this end would be to ensure respect for the basic freedoms of expression, association and assembly.’ (73)
- ‘In conclusion, criticism of the Draft Handbook’s text was centered on its inconsistency with basic principles of the international law of freedom of association and the risks thus presented to NGOs, particularly those trying to exist and operate in repressive environments. The central concepts on which the Handbook was based were open to easy manipulation by governments that had little or not interest in promoting and protecting a vibrant civil society.’ (73)
- ‘While some changes were indeed made in the succeeding text of the Draft Handbook, they were superficial in nature and did not address the core of CRM’s [Civil Rights Movement of Sri Lanka’s] concerns. The Bank’s response to CRM was typical of subsequent reactions to other critics, namely, there was a willingness to consider, and often make, line-edit changes in the document, but there was no willingness to revisit the overall approach of the scheme suggested or to discuss the appropriateness of the Bank’s role in undertaking the project.’ (74)
- ‘Lessons from the Handbook experience that have broader applicability include the following: Human rights, particularly the freedoms of association and expression, must be at the center of the thinking about the regulation of NGOs. Recommendations of prescriptive rules, particularly those intended to have universal applicability, will seldom be appropriate…Initial questions when devising a regulatory scheme to promote accountability should be: accountable to whom and for what purpose and why should the government have a role? The fact that other approaches to promoting accountability in the NGO sector, for example, self-regulation, greater oversight by donors or members, may be difficult, flawed or present other challenges should not be sufficient to justify a regulatory role for government…The World Bank lacks the mandate and competency for the development of prescriptive rules for the regulation of NGOs by governments. As the NGO Working Group on the World Bank suggested in April 1999, the Bank’s role would best be limited on the facilitation of others, particularly organizations with the appropriate mandate and expertise, such as UN agencies.’ (78)
- ‘The 1995 [Ugandan] Constitution is by and large embraced by civil society organizations as one of the best in Africa because of its emphasis on human rights, which include issues of affirmative action and decentralization; for giving prominence to the role and independence of civic organizations; and for the fact that it was democratically conceived. No wonder that such increased democratic space led to the proliferation of many NGOs in the country. In 1986 there were 160 NGOs; in the year 200 this had increased to 3500; and currently there are 5200 registered NGOs (Sebtongo, 2004). A recent study underlines the contribution that the NGO sector makes to the economy and employment. The expenditures of the civil society sector inUganda are equivalent to 1.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). The work force in the civil sector numbers of 230,000 workers, which represents 2.3 percent of the country’s economically active population and 10.9 percent of its non-agricultural employment (Johns Hopkins,1999). To put this in perspective, the civil society workforce is over one-and-a-half times the size of the public work force.’ (82)
- ‘Several donors, principally the World Bank, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) also extend invitations to relevant NGOs. As far as invitations and consultations are concerned, the situation has improved with most stakeholders.’ (83)
- ‘The proliferation of NGOs led the [Ugandan] government to put in place an NGO Statute (1988/89), which clearly reflected its anxiety about them. First, it set up an NGO Registration Board, located in the Ministry of Internal Affairs – alongside police, prisons, security agencies and immigrations. Second, the Statute required NGOs to go through cumbersome bureaucratic procedures for their annual registration with the Board. Third, Registration Board members were appointed by the Minister of Internal Affairs.’ (85)
- ‘The argument that NGOs are a ‘security threat’ has been echoed many times by different government officials, but no concrete examples are given to support the statement.’ (87)
- ‘It has been tough going for NGOs [in Uganda] since the year 2000, when a religious ‘cult’ in a remote area of the country, apparently registered as an NGO, persuaded its followed to gather in their usual meeting place and accept immolation as a faster means to go to heaven. Over 1000 people perished in the inferno.’ (87)
- ‘Ugandan NGOs are not against legislation, as is sometimes suggested by government officials. In fact, as of now they are discussing ‘voluntary certification’ as a mechanism for self-governance. This means the NGO sector would be: ‘able to control its own activities and is not under the effective control of any other entity. To be sure no organization is wholly independent. To be considered self-governing, however, the organization must control its management and operations to a significant extent, have its own internal governance procedures and enjoy a meaningful degree of autonomy. (UN, 2002)’ (89)
- ‘In response to the [Ugandan] NGO Amendment Bill 2000, which stresses government control, NGOs have sought an option also indicated in the NGO alternative bill to establish a national NGO council to take care of all opportunities, challenges and questions arising from or directed at NGOs. The current national NGO networks, which include the Development Network of Indigenous Organizations (DENIVA) and the NGO Forum, agree that a national council has a role to play above that of the umbrella organizations and networks. Reference has been drawn from a number of countries including Kenya, where a national NGO council is entitled to establish its own structures, rules and procedures for networking purposes and establish a regulatory committee in the council to enforce the NGO code of conduct, also referred to as the process of voluntary certification.’ (89)
- ‘There is broad agreement that there is a need for voluntary certification as a mechanism to clean up the NGOs’ own house, increase their credibility and accountability and demonstrate seriousness of purpose. In addition, voluntary certification would give NGOs security. It is argued that if this is not done, the government is likely to come in with its own control measures in the name of ‘shaping up’ NGOs.’ (89)
- ‘Besides voluntary certification, [Ugandan] NGOs in 2003 and 2004 developed an agenda with minimum standard values. These are values that can be observed and respected without incurring any costs or forfeiting anything. The values mentioned in the standards for voluntary certification include: integrity and accountability, transparent decision-making, active citizen participation, peaceful coexistence, tolerance and reconciliation, effective sharing and separation of powers, openness to change, willingness to negotiate and equitable distribution of resources. The public is expected to hold their leaders accountable based on these principles.’ (90)
- ‘Any stakeholder with a complaint about an NGO should report it to the recognized organ put in place by the NGOs for ‘interrogation’, or go to a court of law.’ (90)
Given that the [Philippine] Council [for NGO Certification] has only existed sine 1998 and that the nature and the scope of its work are in flux, it would be premature to reach firm conclusions on the issues this chapter considers.’ (94)
- ‘The genesis of PCNC dates back to 1995. In the context of a general overhaul of Philippine tax law, the Philippine Department of Finance (DOF) and BIR [Bureau of Internal Revenue] set up a joint task force that, among many other recommendations, proposed eliminating the tax code provision that permitted full deduction of donations to certain non-stock, non-profit organizations, including NGOs.’ (94)
- ‘The task force proposal stemmed from its broader mandate to recommend systemic changes that would increase revenue collection. Another factor underlying the proposed change was the widespread abuse of the tax system by politicians and other wealthy individuals who have exploited the tax system by politicians and other wealthy individuals who have exploited the tax-deductible and tax-exempt status of NGOs to set up fraudulent organizations that serve private and often corrupt ends.’ (94)
- ‘The potential revision spurred leaders of corporate foundations to pick up the pace of discussions among themselves and with the government concerning the status of NGOs under Philippine tax law. Together with leaders of the NGO community and in consultation with government personnel, they began to fashion a mechanism through which legitimate NGOs would retain their donee (that is, tax-deductible) status.’ (95)
- ‘Upon completion of the first stage of the process, PCNC organizes and dispatches an evaluation team to undertake a two-day visit to the NGO. The team typically comprises two or three representatives of other NGOs that have already been certified as donee institutions and that therefore are PCNC members. They perform the evaluation function on a voluntary basis, the only compensation going to cover their expenses. The Council has selected and trained roughly 1200 evaluators.’ (97)
- ‘Does the PNCN certification process help increase of assure an NGO’s accountability? Yes, to at least a modest degree. Each facet of the process – the application, the preparation for evaluation, the evaluation itself, the feedback from the evaluation team and PCNC – may help an NGO think through its goals, operations and structure in ways that contribute to it performing in an honest and responsible manner designed to help it effectively serve relevant groups or organizations.’ (99)
- ‘It is important to bear in mind PCNC’s origins: it was not established as a vehicle for NGO accountability per se. The Council was launched because of the threat of BIR denying tax deductions to corporate donations to non-profits. At its core, PCNC provides assurance to the Philippine government that its loss of tax revenues is justified by the reasonable assumption that certified NGOs probably serve societal purposes. This is an important function that in and of itself justifies the Council’s existence by facilitating funding for many NGOs. Thus, while the Council serves an important role true to its original purpose, it is not a guarantee of NGO accountability.’ (99)
- ‘But what of NGOs that engage in or assist partner populations in resisting arguably unjust laws? Regardless of whether such actions as land seizures by farmers, urban squatting and participation in banned demonstrations are right or wrong (or, for that matter, legal or illegal), they are tools through which the poor sometimes seek to affect political and economic imbalances of power in Philippine society, imbalances that build biases into the country’s legal system. Should the PCNC deny or withdraw accreditation to organizations that promote such ‘criminal’ activity?’ (102-103)
- ‘The very fact that NGOs control the process and that NGO personnel conduct evaluations insulates PCNC at least somewhat from the threat of outside pressure and abuse.’ (103)
- ‘A fundamental question to ask about PCNC is, ‘Compared to what’? Even if not perfect, the organization and its process are preferable to a process controlled by the government. Concerns about potential bias are not unreasonable, but whatever that potential will become a reality remains to be seen.’ (103)
- ‘An NGO may be unsophisticated in articulating its mission and goals, presenting a plan for the future, or otherwise satisfying PCNC criteria for accreditation, but may, nevertheless, possess the qualities or potential to justify funding. This could especially be the case where its leaders lack extensive formal education, yet understand and can address grassroots needs and realities far better than many college graduates or those with MBAs.’ (104)
- ‘In this author’s experience of funding Philippine NGOs for the Asia Foundation in the late 1980s, some of the best organizations to which the Foundation provided start-up support might not have been able to present the clearly defined missions, goals, policies, systems and plans required by the PCNC, except on a pro forma basis.’ (104)
- ‘A potential problem, then, could come where the funding of less sophisticated groups depend on clearing the PCNC bar. Conversely, in a society in which form sometimes substitutes for substance (and the Philippines certainly is not unique in this regard), an applicant organization can easily ‘dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s’ of the certification process, yet in reality lack clarity or dedication regarding its goals.’ (105)
- ‘A final, fundamental risk is that the donor may abdicate responsibility by substituting PCNC judgment for its own.’ (105)
- ‘A potential issue for PCNC is the threat of having its credibility damaged if it mistakenly certifies a group linked to criminal or terrorist activity. There is no guarantee that such a group could not slip through the cracks of an evaluation process concerned with more mundane matters. This does not necessarily reflect poorly on PCNC, for its process can never be perfect. But it might want to portray any anti-terrorism role more modestly, rather than emphasizing that function, to avoid raising expectations about its contribution to such an effort.’ (106)
- ‘It is estimated that 15 per cent of total overseas development assistance is now channeled through NGOs (World Bank, 2001/2002).’ (110)
- ‘In the US alone there are over 70,000 foundations and a further 70,000 donor advised funds (DAFs) responsible for billions of dollars. The US indeed leads the world in terms of private philanthropy, a fact some attribute as much to its inadequate welfare policies and low income tax as to the actual wealth of its economy. (OECD, 2003). In 2000 there were around 62,000 foundations operating in the ‘old’ 15 European Union (EU) member states. Their size and scope relative to their US counterparts are generally constrained by higher taxation.’ (110)
- ‘A particular accountability concern is where aid ostensibly given to further the development of a country is really intended to serve the foreign policy or trade objectives of the donor.’ (111)
- ‘Another concern is that aid is often soaked up by others than the (supposedly) intended beneficiaries. This is so-called ‘phantom aid’, misdirected to highly paid international consultants, requiring purchases of products and services from donor countries and badly coordinated planning and excessive administration costs. It is estimated that…80 cents of every US dollar in aid returns to US companies through tied aid conditionality. Around 61 per cent of all donor assistance from G7 nations has been estimated to be phantom aid (ActionAid, 2005).’ (111)
- ‘Tax breaks on corporate giving are premised on the understanding that their motives are supportive of the public good and so they should be rewarded and encouraged. However, this cannot account for instances where corporations are given tax breaks of public money when they donate to think tanks or research institutes that lobby governments or influence public perception on issues of public policy. This kind of ‘deep lobbying’ can influence a corporation’s profit margins. In this sense tax breaks may constitute little more than the government subsidizing corporations (National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, 2005).’ (112)
- ‘A sixth reason for questioning the accountability of donor practice is because the scale of publicly and privately donated funds has become large enough to have a significant impact on the nature of resource allocation, decision-making and public opinion in societies around the world. As citizens concerned about human rights and democracy, we should question how these funds translate the financial assets of already powerful people, organizations and governments into wider forms of social, cultural and political power.’ (113)
- ‘If an NGO articulating the interests of the poisoned community had to be more accountable to the mining company, or perhaps a government that was strongly influenced by that company, this relationship would not necessarily increase the democratic accountability of decision-making in that context.’ (114)
- ‘The relative power of different organizations must be taken into account in our understanding of the accountability challenge. This understanding of democratic accountability does not make the accountability of NGOs less important. Rather, it means that NGOs should be accountable to those they affect who have less power.’ (115)
- ‘Democratic accountability can be described by answering the four accountability questions as follows:
1. Who is accountable? The person or group that affects some relatively less powerful person or group.
2. To whom? To the person or group they are affecting.
3. For what? For the effect they have on them, particularly if it is negative.
4. How? In a way whereby the person or group affected can change the behavior of the person or group affecting them (with the affected also becoming more accountable to any third parties they affect when exerting this influence).’ (115)
- ‘Proxies for power can be found in property and force: those with more property are more powerful, as are those with more ability to use force, such as governments (who are meant to have a monopoly on the use of force in a society).’ (116)
- ‘Many governments in the global south are uneasy about their lack of control over organizations funded almost entirely by foreign interests. Some governmental concerns may arise from a desire to suppress democracy and centralize power, as has been suggested to be the government’s aim in Columbia (War on Want, 2003). However, there is a significant issue about the influence of foreign-funded groups on domestic culture, economics and politics, especially where the concept of development is contested and hard to attain.’ (117)
- ‘The lack of a commonly understood approach to international development assistance means that it is difficult to hold governments to account for their overseas aid programs. Two key intergovernmental commitments provide something of a benchmark for assessing the accountability of government aid activities. The first concerns the amount of support. In the 1970s, donor-nation governments committed to contribute 0.7 per cent of their GDP to overseas aid (Bissio, 2003). In 2002, only 5 of the 22 reporting countries were meeting this target (German and Randell, 2004). The second concerns the intended development objectives of the donors. In 2000, countries agreed to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which include a commitment to halve those living in poverty by 2015.’ (117-118)
- ‘Corporate funding of NGOs has grown significantly in recent years (Common Dreams, 2003). Some of this is straightforward sponsorship aimed at very explicit marketing and advertising objectives. For example, in 1999, the tobacco multinational giant Philip Morris ‘spent US$75 million on charitable contributions, and US$100 million to publicize these donations’ (National Council on Responsive Philanthropy, 2005).’ (118)
- ‘Many corporations establish foundations to organize their philanthropy. Funding for these can be raised by employee payroll giving schemes, or by donations from the corporate body itself. In most countries these foundations and the donations they receive are tax exempt. In return, the foundation is required to be operationally separate from the company (Common Dream, 2003). However, in many cases the independence of these foundations can be questioned. The Shell Foundation, for example, is housed in the head offices of the oil company Shell, uses their information technology and administrative system, has Shell employees on the board and secretariat and uses the same logo. Given this, it can be questioned why donations by these organizations often gain the same tax advantages as charitable gifts that do not enhance the position of a for-profit company.’ (119)
- ‘In a world where the 200 richest individuals have assets equivalent to the poorest half of humanity, the person views of such donors can have a major impact on societies worldwide.’ (120)
- ‘We offer an initial framework for conceptualizing a donor accountability agenda, arranged around four key principles: consideration of how a donor generates funds, administers itself, disperses funds and influences other donors.’ (121)
- ‘The creation of that wealth involves economic activities that affect society…For governments, this is the economic policy that generates tax revenues that are allocated to overseas development assistance; for foundations, this is the way their investments are managed; and for corporations, the way they conduct the business that generates the profits with which they can sponsor or make donations.’ (121-122)
- ‘Corporations do not necessarily deserve to receive tax benefits for spending on activities that may have societal benefit, in particular, when they benefit from these expenditures themselves.’ (122)
- ‘Given how fund managers usually maintain diverse portfolios, it would not be unusual to find civil donors funding peace work with money made from armaments companies, health work with money made from tobacco companies, labor rights work with money made from anti-union companies, and environmental work with money made from companies with terrible pollution records. The problem is that many do not know, because they are removed from the day-to-day management of their assets and have not made the connections between their missions and their investments (Tasch and Viederman, 1995).’ (122)
- ‘The principle of democratic accountability applied to fund generation suggests that donor should work toward ensuring the accountability of the financial assets they own. Some religious organizations have pioneered work on this issue. The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) has for 30 years advanced environmental, human rights, diversity and other concerns by using their power as shareholders (ICCR, 2005; Viederman, 2002).’ (122-123)
- ‘This discussion is also relevant to government donors, as their revenues arise from taxing companies and financial assets that they (de)regulate in ways that affect the espoused objectives of their aid agencies. Before one can ‘make poverty history’ one must stop making poverty through the normal course of trade and finance. A commitment to democratic accountability suggests that government donors, such as their bilateral development agencies, should increase their attention to the way other organs of their government undermine the accountability or trade and finance to those affected (WDM, 2005). Given the silos of different government ministries, this is no easy challenge.’ (123)
- ‘Donors should publish all accounts, sources of income, wages and funding decisions, unless posing a security risk for the individuals involved.’ (123)
- ‘The next issue is integrity: seeking that the espoused values and goals of the organization apply within its own walls. This includes assessments of human resources policies, governance, procurement and buildings management. Charity scandals concerning high salaries and lavish expenses have brought these issues into the media.’ (123)
- ‘Improved governance, environmental performance, labor rights and equitable wages, low overhead and ethical purchasing are all important for an organization aspiring to democratic accountability.’ (123)
- ‘The democratic accountability agenda of donors in this regard mirrors accountability demands by donors on the governance of NGOs who receive money from them.’ (124)
- ‘One of the most significant influences a donor has is through decisions on who or what to fund. The first challenge is to improve the transparency of the donors’ decisions and their responsiveness to feedback in a way that influences and improves future grant-making.’ (124)
- ‘Key to transparency is to have clear goals by which a donor’s performance can be evaluated. For government donors, the MDGs are a useful start, as are the Millennium Declaration and the 20/20 initiative. The latter is an agreement between donor and recipient countries that an average of 20 percent of donor aid and 20 percent of Southern government spending should be for basic social services, such as water, sanitation and education.’ (124)
- ‘In addition to setting clear goals for donor practice, information about specific grants is important for democratic accountability. For instance, donors could publicly register applications, along with their reasons for or against making a funding decision, as well as the opportunity for a publicly recorded response from the applicant. Initiatives such as www.guidestar.org, which provides online information on the grant activities of grant makers as well as grantees in the US, could be expanded.’ (124)
- ‘The third challenge for the democratic accountability of fund provision is simply that the donors are in charge…once it is established that potential recipients are aspiring to democratic accountability themselves, they then should be eligible for more untied funds. Untying bilateral aid in conjunction with more recipient country ownership of the aid process would theoretically allow more of it to be used for the purpose of sustainable human development. This principle is enshrined in the Monterrey consensus on the MDGs and is therefore a key guideline for their accountability implementation (Cidse, 2005).’ (125)
- ‘Democratic accountability reflects an ideal state of society. Given complex interactions and power relations in society, one individual organization can never reach a state of democratic accountability, but should rather aspire to help move society towards that ideal.’ (125)
- ‘How might such change among the broader donor community occur? Individual donors can take a lead in implementing processes that accord with a commitment to democratic accountability.’ (125)
- ‘For corporate and charitable foundations, this ultimately means that national regulations should encourage different aspects of the donor accountability agenda described in this chapter. For government and multilateral donors and lenders, this means that more processes of scrutiny need to be created, including intergovernmental oversight of commitments they make. Ultimately, it also means looking at new ways of generating funds for global public needs that overcome the problems of national interest.’ (126)
- ‘In 2005 the European Foundation Center and the US Council of Foundations established a Joint Working Group on Accountability in International Giving.’ (126)
- ‘The last 20-year period of reform and opening up in China has led to an ‘explosive growth’ of NGOs. They have not only grown in number but also in their variety, scope of activities, capacity and roles. However, compared with their counterparts in other countries, China’s NGOs must still be characterized as being far from well developed.’ (129)
- ‘Chinese NGOs are either lacking in independence and under strict governmental control, or are not formal organizations. They do not have legal person status or the status of a legal social organization. Sometimes they engage in for-profit activities without paying taxes according to the law.’ (131)
- ‘All [Chinese] NGOs observe an iron law: they must not offend the strong government. NGOs know very well that if the government is offended they will achieve nothing, the organizations may be banned and the leaders may be jailed.’ (132)
- ‘The Law on Welfare Donations provides that NGOs must use the donations they receive to finance activities and undertakings that are consistent with their purposes, manage and use donations according to the wish of the donors, regularly report to competent government departments about the usage and management of donations for the purpose of supervision by the government, and make public the receipt, management and usage of donations for supervision by the general public.’ (133)
- ‘The newly released Regulations on the Management of Foundations (March 2004) provide that a public that a public donation foundation must use no less than 70 percent of its total income of the previous year for public welfare undertakings identified in its charter, and the proportion for a non-public donation foundation is no less than 8 per cent of the balance of the fund of the previous year. Staff salaries and the running costs of a foundation shall not exceed 10 per cent of the total expenditure of the year.’ (133)
- ‘Non-governmental public welfare organizations need to strengthen institutional capacity building, to establish a complete financial management system and to increase transparency and public trust before they can lay down a basis for trust and cooperation with enterprises.’ Austin Hu, 2003 (134)
- ‘In the West, the most important internal governance mechanism of an NGO is the board. The board represents social interests and holds decision-making power, thus holding the NGO responsible to the society. However, the situation in China is different. Generally speaking, a board in its real sense does not exist.’ (135-136)
- ‘In short, the professional supervisory units of NGOs hold all the powers of NGO boards in other countries.’ (137)
- ‘Due to a lack of legitimacy, independent NGOs do not have much local fundraising ability. Overseas companies do not support them either, since they are not welcomed by the government. In this connection, almost all independent NGOs rely fully on funds from overseas NGOs, which consequently have a decisive bearing on the NGOs’ project choices and even their survival and development. This is why successful NGOs and their leaders usually have an overseas background.’ (139)
- ‘A self-disciplinary mechanism among NGOs does not exist and there are no NGOs specialized in consultancy, review and supervision.’ (139)
- ‘In China most NGOs can do anything they want. They enjoy privileges without undertaking any social responsibilities.’ (140)
- ‘Before 1989, the West had placed its hope for China’s democratization on reformists within the Chinese government. The hope was broken by the Tiananmen incident. Some people then turned to the idea of ‘civil society resisting the state’, reflecting on the drastic changes in Easter Europe and Tiananmen incident, which brought them new hope. As a result, the West started to expect bottom-up changes, the best tools of which are NGOs. In the eyes of Western governments and international organizations dominated by developed countries, NGOs are the main tools to promote democracy, human rights, market mechanisms and bottom-up peaceful evolution.’ (141-142)
- ‘It is, however, impractical to expect NGOs to change the Chinese political and social structure in the near term.’ (142)
- ‘How to improve the governance of Chinese NGOs is a very important question. If the question is to be answered, the starting point must be based on reality rather than on empty idealism or prescriptions based on misuse of Western social experience.’ (143)
- ‘The most serious problem is the lack of a rational legal framework. As a result, citizens and vulnerable groups in particular, are not able to realize their rights of association fully, and some other rights provided by law (such as preferential tax treatment) are absent. A further consequence is that NGOs do not have sound internal governance. GONGOs lack autonomy and are heavily dependent on their professional supervisory units.’ (143)
- ‘Good governance of NGOs requires boards responsible to public interests, effective external supervision and a sound legal environment.’ (143)
- ‘NGOs should not wait passively for the external environment to improve. They should, on the one hand, cooperate with other players to facilitate improvement of the legal environment and, on the other hand, improve their own internal governance.’ (143)
- ‘Experience also suggests that self-discipline alone is not enough and without effective external supervision it is not possible for NGOs to develop healthily. Unswerving and strict external supervision can effectively promote NGOs to fulfill their roles.’ (144)
- ‘Prior to 1998 [in Indonesia], there was only one labor organization and one farmer union acknowledged (and controlled) by the government; now there are no less than 40 national labor organizations and 300 local labor unions, more than 10,000 labor associations at the corporate level and hundreds of peasant organizations. Social-religious groups, research institutions, study groups and think tanks have also grown in numbers.’ (147-148)
- ‘Towards the end of the 1980s, ‘civil society’ in Indonesia consisted of a series of single-issue or single group-oriented umbrella organizations for farmers, workers, women, sailors, officials and many other groups, all effectively controlled by the government.’ (149)
- ‘Within this limited space, NGOs active in human rights and in environmental protection and preservation began to emerge, in line with global trends.’ (150)
- ‘The advocacy groups established in the 1980s were a building block for the democracy movement. They formed an important element in the aggressive public pressure on the Suharto government that emerged in the mid-1990s.’ (150)
- ‘With the growth of a professional and more critical middle class, a reassured urban working class and sensitized political parties, the necessary preconditions and the right constellation of actors for a political transition were in place. The Asian economic crisis that started in 1997 provided the trigger.’ (150)
- ‘What is still missing is an organization that monitors the NGOs themselves, or at least a professional association of NGOs.’ (151)
- ‘Newspapers are free to write what they want and are often very brave in doing so. There are dozens of television talk shows discussing in a very open and inclusive manner the problems of government and society.’ (151)
- ‘Unfortunately, however, there was no limitation to the activities that a yayasan [foundation] could implement, so many yayasan were used as profit-making entities or even for money laundering purposes by the founders.’ (151-152)
- ‘The basic aim of the new Law 16/2001 is to promote transparency and accountability in yayasan governance.’ (152)
- ‘Companies are more willing to collaborate with civil society organizations in community development projects. A number of multinational corporations, directly or indirectly, through their community relations department or corporate foundations have begun to provide assistance for communities surrounding the locations of their business, through programs in community health, clean water and sanitation, agriculture and the development of small-scale enterprises, all in collaboration with NGOs. These kinds of relationships were almost unheard of in the past.’ (154)
- ‘Donors see that there are at least four important areas for improvement among Indonesian NGOs. First and foremost is internal governance. This includes decision-making processes, division of roles between the board and executive, establishment of accountability mechanisms to constituents, as well as issues related to the establishment of a clear vision, mission and objectives. The second area to be addressed is accountability, both to the government and to the public. So far, NGOs mainly attempt to be accountable to donor agencies in the form of narrative and financial reports on projects. Third, NGOs need to improve external relations with other NGOs and with the public or its beneficiaries. If an NGO is working directly with the underprivileged then it needs to understand how it can really empower them so that they are stronger and more critical. For advocacy NGOs, networking and alliance building with other NGOs are important tools so that activities at the community level can be promoted at the national level. The fourth area needing improvement is NGO management, including strategic planning, program development and financial and human resources management.’ (155)
- ‘A majority of [Indonesian] NGOs do not have any criteria or parameters to track program achievements. Outcomes become the indicator for success (an indicator of success for a training session is thus often that ’30 persons were trained’), without any real substantive way of measuring the medium- and long-term impact of the activities.’ (155)
- ‘The foundation (yayasan) form of NGOs often encourages a powerful role for the director of the institution, who usually is the founder. This may lead to a situation in which most decisions are taken by the top layer of the organization’s leadership without involving field staff. The leadership is often (aspiring) middle class with university degrees but little knowledge of grassroots mobilization (Sidel, 2004). There have been cases of great distance between NGOs and the communities they were working for, geographically, culturally, socially and economically.’ (155-156)
- ‘The above list of weaknesses and problems is framed by the continuous reliance on assistance from foreign donors.’ (156)
- ‘Since 2002, the Agency for Research, Education, Economic and Social Development (LP3ES), a national [Indonesian] NGO, has taken the initiative to prepare and implement a code of ethics and to establish an NGO association or umbrella organization, particularly for NGOs that are working in community-based social and economic development.’ (157)
- ‘The program eventually managed to formulate a written code of ethics. The code, signed by 252 NGOs from 8 provinces, contains matters related to integrity, accountability and transparency, independence, anti-violence, gender equality and financial management, including accountability to external parties such as beneficiaries, government, donors, other NGOs and the public at large.’ (158)
- ‘The NGOs participating in formulating the code of ethics also agreed to establish regional associations on NGOs, which are responsible for the implementation of the code, and to help NGOs in their capacity building.’ (158)
- ‘Satunama, a Yogyakarta-based NGO that is active in education, training, and management consultancy, has launched a program called ‘Certification Indonesian NGOs’….During the preparation of the instruments, the program received valuable input from the Philippine Council for NGO Certification.’ (158)
- ‘While the number of NGOs has grown significantly since 1998 as part of a broader development in which Indonesian civil society is ‘coming out of the closet’, most NGOs have little experience in positively engaging with government, the corporate sector or other stakeholders.’ (161)
- ‘ALPS [ActionAid Accountability, Learning and Planning System) recognizes that social development, rights or social justice cannot be planned for, managed and delivered in a linear fashion. It recognizes that the principles and attitudes and the ways in which we do things are more important than plans and reports.’ Chapman (169-170)
- ‘Transparency is also seen as a key element of becoming more accountable to the communities with which we work. It requires ActionAid [Uganda] to begin sharing information more openly and encourages us to move towards a time when the community groups with whom we work are actively involved in planning, budgeting, assessing the value of our interventions and participating in the recruitment of front line staff.’ (170)
- ‘The [Ugandan] country director rooted the process in a leadership team that shared a common vision and represented all aspects of the organization, hence from the start the work was carried out with a large group of AAIU leaders. The process was supported by an organizational development specialist who facilitated discussions with key staff on how to proceed.’ (171)
- ‘The staff were supported to analyze what they did in the field and what was and was not working well. They were also supported to explore relations with ActionAid beyond Uganda. The process involved extended discussions in different teams – the field team, the thematic and the enabling teams around the same set of issues, to give people room to express different views and opinions, and to allow disagreement and questioning. Some staff found the questioning difficult and expressed feelings of disempowerment and confusion, but this approach signaled the start of a critical process of identifying issues and areas of agreement and shared thinking, as well as areas of conflict that form an essential element of change. One thing that emerged clearly from this initial stage was that AAIU: had a highly skilled, perceptive and well trained staff, yet they were not fulfilling their potential. The organization was hierarchical and fragmented, with staff working in tight teams with little horizontal communication, relying on instructions and memos to do their work. There was little questioning or discussion about ways or working; these were driven by extensive systems of top down management, accounting and reporting. (Wallace and Kaplan, 2003).’ (171)
- ‘A change process was then began with some initial structural changes: designed to breakdown the separate hierarchies and draw the organization into one functioning whole. A major shift was to understand all the functions of AAIU as inter-related, represented by an overlapping structure of three circles, each representing a different team. The work of the field, thematic and enabling teams was clearly seen as inter-related and complementary, not separate and in competition.’ Wallace and Kaplan, 2003 (172)
- ‘Regionalization led to the devolution of decision-making and resources to the lower level to enable AAIU to serve the community better.’ (172)
- ‘The review looked at how far AAIU had achieved its goals and whether these goals, which had been set five years earlier, were still relevant in the fast changing context of Uganda.’ (172)
- ‘At the end of both exercises a forum was organized for all staff to hear feedback from both consultants. This meeting was characterized by heated arguments. Some found it very difficult to hear their work criticized, particularly as the critique was endorsed by their peers. Some were angry the despite their conviction that they were doing useful work, things were being changed. Others were hostile towards the leadership that suddenly expected them to make bigger decisions and take on new responsibilities.’ (173)
- ‘In the words of Allan Kaplan, one critical moment was when people were asked to perform a role-play of how they saw their roles in the organization. Many strong images of being subservient, followers, unquestioning doers were presented, the most memorable being the image of AAIU staff as ‘African cows following their leader in and out of the homestead every day, unquestioning, uncomplaining and obedient’ (Wallace and Kaplan, 2003).’ (173)
- ‘The task was immense: ‘moving an organizational culture from one able and willing to do what was asked of it, to carry out orders, to undertake myriad and multiple activities without asking questions to a responsive, questioning, thinking and learning organization’ (Wallace and Kaplan, 2003).’ (173)
- ‘Learning – should be central to the process. This might include issues of best practice, challenges, failures and measuring change, both qualitative and quantitative.’ (174)
- ‘Vertical and horizontal (for instance between colleagues) information collection, analysis, use and sharing should be encouraged to ensure efficiency, effectiveness and openness.’ (174)
- ‘The information collected should be such that it can flow back to the community who has contributed to it. Partners should be able to identify with and understand this information.’ (175)
- ‘To avoid information overload, information should only be collected and shared if deemed necessary to the intended users.’ (175)
- ‘Accessible (simple, retrievable, user-friendly) information that satisfies intended customers/clients – the information collected should be user-friendly to women and men across all generations and poverty categories. It should take into account the educational and conceptual levels of the various categories of intended users. We should therefore avoid jargon and language that might marginalize users. This might mean using different languages and different media to communicate.’ (175)
- ‘The introduction of PRRPs [Participatory Review and Reflection Processes] has led to a marked shift in the way ActionAid documents its work. Previously ActionAid program reports concentrated on activities. Currently, reports are more concise and give more emphasis to the changes AAIU and its partner have brought about in people’s lives.’ (176)
- ‘The introduction of Kanambut has created a much greater degree of self-questioning and openness about difficult development issues, which is evident in almost every report presented. Staff are no longer simply reporting on activities, but delve into what they do, question why and how much their work is appreciated, understood or seen as relevant by those they are working with.’ (176)
- ‘AAIU has started work toward increasing downward accountability and transparency through greater involvement of finance staff in participatory review processes.’ (177)
- ‘1. Who is accountable? Duty-bearers with a responsibility towards crisis-affected populations. These include: governments, armed forces, NGOs, the International Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement and United Nations agencies.
2. To whom? Duty-bearers are accountable, first and foremost, to the populations and individuals affected by disaster and conflict. They are also accountable to their staff and donors.
3. For what? To meet responsibilities as defined by international legal standards, ethical principles, and professional, agency or inter-agency codes, standards or guidelines.’ (185)
- ‘HAP’s [Humanitarian Accountability Partnership’s] contribution to the betterment objective is that it has placed accountability to affected communities at the center of its concern.’ (186)
- ‘HAP argued that the dominant and unquestioned message of the heroic Western intervener saving the lives of hapless (non-Western) victims is both problematic and inappropriate to address the present and future challenges confronted by humanitarian agencies.’ (186)
- ‘The humanitarian ethos cannot remain defined through and by one single actor (the intervener), but must take its moral cue from those suffering and surviving crisis situations (Slim, 1997).’ (186)
- ‘The most often-cited concerns by crisis-affected individuals included: lack of information regarding relief entitlements and their future; the inability to recognize and identify who is who; the impossibility of raising issues or asking questions; misunderstanding, misinformation or disinformation regarding relief entitlement; security, ranging from cars driving too fast to human rights abuses; and corruption. These problems appeared especially acute as far as the poorest, women-headed households, children and the disabled were concerned. Sexual violence and exploitation constitute the most dramatic illustrations of abuse of humanitarian power.’ (188-189)
- ‘HAP research work has shown that to be accountable to beneficiaries, agencies should inform, listen, monitor, respond to concerns and report back. In particular, agencies should be encouraged to set up mechanisms allowing them to listen to complaints from beneficiaries and respond to them.’ (189)
- ‘A more cost-effective and sustainable way of ensuring accountability to beneficiaries is therefore to work through existing operational agencies and ensure that individually, but preferably collectively, they implement strong accountability mechanisms.’ (189)
- ‘Involve crisis-affected populations in project planning, implementation, evaluation and reporting.’ (189)
- ‘Under self-regulation, rules are developed, administered and enforced by those whose behavior is to be governed, with the ultimate aim of improving the services offered to claimants.’ (190)
- ‘Under any circumstances, individuals, societies and governments find it difficult to see the relativity of their own perspectives by taking into account those of others. This is particularly challenging in crisis situations, where the ‘others’ are so clearly in need; under this extreme power imbalance we have it all, while the other is frail to the extreme.’ (192)
- ‘Peer review constitutes a particularly important mechanism of quality (HAP-I and WHO, 2003).’ (192)
- ‘Accountability requires more than participation, even though this is a step in the right direction. It also requires questioning one’s own power and the exercise of it. It requires, in the case of humanitarian actors, moving away from the image and practice of the heroic Western intervener. Consequently, it demands consideration of crisis-affected populations as subjects of the humanitarian universe. Accountability also requires education the public and donors about alternative approaches to humanitarian actions; heroism sells well.’ (193)
- ‘Despite a shift in the way accountability is perceived from a traditional to a more dynamic approach, there has been very little change in the practice of accountability, especially in the global arena.’ (197)
- ‘NGO participation in World Bank-financed projects, for example, increased from 6 percent of all projects in 1973-1998 to 50 per cent in the late 1990s (Reimann, 2002). IGOs also have formal institutional links with other stakeholders, such as the World Bank’s Committee for Non-governmental Organizations, or the World Trade Organization’s NGO Forum to enable engagement around policy issues. However, there is often real concern over the degree of influence and meaningfulness of this type of engagement.’ (197-198)
- ‘The inability of governments from around the world to set globally binding social, environmental and financial laws has resulted in ineffective accountability mechanisms to protect less powerful stakeholders from the negative impacts of corporations’ work.’ (198)
- ‘Although IGNOs lead in this area, it should be stressed that engagement is largely confined to the grassroots level in relation to projects and programs, and is not replicated at the national, regional or international level of the organization. Nor is there much engagement around advocacy work.’ (199)
- ‘First, in terms of governance, the [Global Accountability [R]]eport found that INGOs had fairer and more representative governing structures at the board level than other global organizations, ensuring that a minority of stakeholders did not dominate decision-making.  Second, in terms of transparency, the report showed that INGOs were not that transparent, especially in comparison to both the corporate and the intergovernmental sector.’ (203)
- ‘Most INGOs employed geographical formulas to ensure that different regions were fairly represented at the executive level and no one region could dominate (Amnesty International, International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICTFU)). Only CARE International and Oxfam International represented all national member organizations directly on the executive.’ (204)
- ‘For all of the INGOs, however, changes to the governing articles must be decided by a supermajority, preventing a small cabal of members from blocking change.’ (204)
- ‘It is important to note that the study did not look at the actual regional make-up of the member offices of INGOs, therefore avoiding asking just how international these INGOs really are. Many INGOs have grown out of Northern-based NGOs and therefore have a limited number of members from developing countries, reflecting their historical roots. What is problematic is that often many of these INGOs have numerous country offices within developing country, but these country offices are not considered national members and are prevented from gaining access to governing and executive board decision-making processes. The weak financial muscle of developing country offices compounds this problem. INGOs that suffer from this problem should take into greater consideration how they can make their governance more international and truly representative of the places and people they purport to assist.’ (204)
- ‘INGOs, in particular, stood out from the other organizations because of a lack of consistency in publishing annual reports. Three of the INGOs did not provide an annual report online: CARE International , Amnesty International (which publishes only to members) and ICFTU (which publishes a report every four years). The failure to provide this important document makes scrutiny of an INGO’s finances much more difficult….One idea would be for a global standard to be created that clearly indicates what should be included in a basic annual report of an INGO.’ (205)
- ‘The report also found that INGOs were not very transparent when it came to issues surrounding their governance, although it should be pointed out that none of the sectors did very well in this area. Despite the majority of INGOs putting their governing articles online, governance information varied widely.’ (205)
- ‘As a group, INGOs make limited disclosure of documentation from their governing bodies.’ (205)
- ‘It is important to highlight, however, that providing greater access to information by itself does not enhance accountability. The quality of information and its relevance is crucial. Limited, but highly relevant information, is far more beneficial than excessive information of no real value.’ (206)
- ‘All too often, INGO evaluation material is largely positive, glossing over problems or failures and lacking in critical analysis. This is because there are fears within the sector that being honest and open about program and project failings may jeopardize the ability to access funds…The problem lies first with donors, who need to give more reassuring signals to INGOs that greater honesty in evaluations will not result in a withdrawal of funds. Second, it lies around collective action problems; no INGO wants to be the first organization to expose potential failings and be scrutinized. INGOs need to work collectively on this issue and move towards more frank disclosure.’ (207)
- ‘Another example is Save the Children UK’s feedback committees in Zimbabwe. This involved establishing children feedback committees as a channel of communication independent from the agency to enable complaints from children, who were key beneficiaries of the projects, but whose views were previously little heard, to make complaints and have them responded to (McIvor, 2004).’ (208)
- ‘The most important challenge facing INGOs in the future is the need for a more proactive approach to the accountability issue by the sector itself. It is no longer tenable for an INGO to claim that their accountability rests on moral authority alone. Today, INGOs are required to be accountable to a wide number of stakeholders: trustees, staff, donors, governments and, most importantly, to their beneficiaries – the individuals and communities they serve. Calls for greater transparency, more constructive measurement and evaluation of NGO programs and clearer and more robust governance structures are increasingly heard. These demands need to be viewed positively. They provide a welcome opportunity for the sector to not only [sic] strengthen its own internal learning mechanisms and to become more efficient and effective, but also to embrace and embed the legitimacy and standing of INGOs within society.’ (208)
- ‘As John Elikington notes citing the corporate sector’s experience: ‘Shell, in 1995 was totally taken by surprise by what happened to them (Brent Spa), as was Anderson. People don’t see stuff coming and I think it’s the same with NGOs. There’s a very real risk that one or more NGOs will be caught up in an accountability issue.’ ’ (209)
- ‘The corporations and intergovernmental organizations that have been successful in this area are those that have faced the challenge proactively, admitted weakness and mistakes and have in an open and transparent manner tried to rectify them. INGOs need to learn from the experience of other sectors and take action before an Enron-style scandal forces them to take it.’ (209)
- ‘Both local organizations has been trying to persuade the World Bank to drop the project, insisting that poverty reduction in Uganda should be the Bank’s primary interest. Because the market for high-priced hydroelectricity in Uganda was tiny, the project itself would not help alleviate Uganda’s high level of poverty (SBC and NAPE, 2000). Instead they suggested, electricity generating capacity should be increased through upgrading Uganda’s distribution system, which was losing as much as 40 per cent of its power through faulty transmission lines (Basalirwa et al, 2000). They also voiced their concerns about the level of corruption in Uganda and pointed out that the Bujagali Dam project had been excluded from an open competitive bidding process (SBC and NAPE, 2000).’ (213)
- ‘The public release of the stunningly complex power purchase agreement was a key point in the campaign because this document ultimately proved the poor economics of the project. That the public had a right to see this document and a right to be offered an explanation of its terms were both objectives in and of themselves.’ (214)
- ‘The strategy included the development of a discourse on energy conservation and on generating options other than the dam at Bujagali Falls.’ (214)
- ‘The international NGOs and local organizations together developed and implemented media and public outreach strategies. This is another extremely sensitive area, in which the use of the wrong frame or even a single word can have negative or even dangerous consequences. One crucial element of these strategies was to refrain from spreading gossip or rumor, and to maintain and ensure accuracy in detail and analysis.’ (215)
- ‘The international advocacy campaign for optimal energy development in Uganda continues, even as Uganda’s government moves forward with plans to dam Bujagali Falls.’ (215)
- ‘For strategic and tactical thinking to be truly informed by a coalition, highly detailed and ongoing communication must be consistent and continuous. This raises the always difficult challenge of the working language. Wanting and recognizing the need for as much ongoing translation as possible while pressed to move information quickly and accurately, ICDRP maintained English as the working language on the day-to-day operational level of the coalition. Hearings and submissions, however, took place in multiple languages. Still, the use of English as the working language necessarily contributed to the elite nature of the core group of the ICDRP. The conundrum of a coalition intended to be wide reaching and democratic, yet exhibiting elite qualities, was deepened by the primary means of communication – computer and telephone.’ (219)
- ‘[Although] democratization of decision-making at the global level can bring significant advantages, ultimately advances in principles and practices must be translated to and implemented at the national level and below. However, as the experience of the WCD [World Commission on Dams] suggests, efforts at global and national democratization are mutually reinforcing.’ Dubasah et al, 2001 (221)
- ‘As a model, the WCD process has very high value, bringing critics and defenders of large dams together and asking them to unanimously [sic] put forth findings and recommendations that should, in the long run, help protect indigenous rights, the environment and human rights – as long as, and this is key, the individual and joint efforts of NGOs of all kinds, including social movements, are considered integral to the WCD process.’ (221)
- ‘The question of legitimacy benefits from both inwardly and outwardly directed scrutiny. Civil society calls for and assesses it in public officials, in corporations, in agencies ranging from the local to the multilateral and vice versa. Importantly, NGOs can and do demand it of each other.’ (221)
- ‘The ideologically-based targeting of INGOs is the first step in a kind of sequential discrediting that leads directly to local organizations, CBOs and social movements.’ (222-223)
- ‘[The World Bank[… is besieged by single-issue fanatics in the West who condemn it whenever it fails to make their issue a top priority. James Wolfensohn, the World Bank’s president since 1995, has made strenuous efforts to accommodate the NGO swam. Every infrastructure project the Bank funds must meet rich-world standards; nothing pretty may be bulldozed unless strictly necessary, and no worker may be asked to do anything that a Californian might find demeaning. As a result, fewer dams, roads, and flood barriers are built in poor countries. More poor people stay poor, live in darkness and die younger.’ EconomistSeptember 23, 2004 (223)
- ‘There is a clear difference between the principled scrutiny of NGOs legitimacy and the targeting of that legitimacy as a means to undermine them.’ (224)
- ‘Avoiding embarrassment by putting on a false front (‘I must always appear to know what I’m doing, and appear to be right about it’) and maintaining self-denial (‘I do always know what I’m doing, and I am always right about it’) are among the two most deadly toxins in international campaigning. They are forgivable only very briefly and only because of the universality of their affliction.’ (225)
- ‘Without well-executed international advocacy campaigns, critics of participatory democracy get what they want, which is, as IRN executive director Patrick McCully recently put so succinctly, ‘to get international advocacy NGOs to shut up’ (McCully, 2004).’ (226)
- ‘Both the Bujagali Campain and the NGO work surrounding the WCD are aimed not at limiting development or stopping particular projects; rather, they are aimed at expanding the role of civil society in determining how best to provide for basic needs.’ (226)
- ‘IRN [International Rivers Network] had hoped that the World Bank inspection panel would require the Bank to disclose the Power Purchase Agreement. This did not occur. Following the petition of the Ugandan NGO, Greenwatch, the Ugandan High Court asked the Ugandan government to release the Agreement. The government responded to the request, insisting that such a document did not exist. The High Court eventually received a leaked copy from a local NGO (name not released to the public) and subsequently ordered the report’s public release.’ (227)

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