One World Trust briefing papers

The One World Trust has been engaged in analysing and assessing CSO self-regulation since 2005. Beginning in 2009 we are developing a series of publications examining various aspects of CSO self-regulation worldwide. Current publications include:

Ensuring Credibility and Effectiveness: Designing compliance systems in CSO self-regulation (2010) Robert Lloyd, Virginia Calvo and Christina Laybourn

Drawing on the One World Trust’s database on CSO self-regulation, this paper explores the different approaches that have been taken by initiatives to address the issue of compliance, the benefits and challenges associated with different arrangements, and the factors which shape their adoption.

Responding to development effectiveness in the global South (2010) Jeannet Lingan, Amy Cavender, Thomas Palmer and Beris Gwynne

This joint One World Trust- World Vision International paper identifies some of the common principles that drive southern effectiveness efforts through self-regulation, the key characteristics of institutional design, and specific drivers and challenges. The paper seeks to provide valuable and timely input into the debate on how development effectiveness is understood and how self-regulation is being used to strengthen the legitimacy and performance of NGOs and CSOs in the South.

Addressing Accountability in NGO Advocacy (2010) Michael Hammer, Charlotte Rooney and Shanna Warren

This paper examines how NGOs have begun to address the accountability challenges they face when engaging in advocacy. It considers some of the strengths and weaknesses of existing self-regulation for NGOs engaged in advocacy, and identifies a set of initial good practice principles for advocacy organisations.

Responding to NGO Development Effectiveness Initiatives (2009), Jeannet Lingán, Amy Cavender, Robert Lloyd and Beris Gwynne

This paper provides a picture of existing self-regulation efforts at international level and at national level in the global North. It describes their underlying principles, content, and compliance mechanisms; and reflects on the way in which NGOs may wish to engage with initiatives or to improve effectiveness by using the best and most relevant parts for their organisation’s purpose. (Witten by One World Trust in partnership with World Vision International)

Civil society self-regulation: the global picture (2009), Shana Warren and Robert Lloyd
This paper provides an overview of the state of CSO self-regulation worldwide. It examines the various types of initiatives currently in use and offers insights into current patterns at national, regional and international levels.

NGO Self-Regulation: Enforcing and Balancing Accountability (2006), Robert Lloyd and Lucy de las Casas
This paper explores the benefits and challenges of NGO self-regulation and explores the weaknesses and gaps in a selection of self-regulatory initiatives.

The Role of NGO Self-Regulation in Increasing Stakeholder Accountability (2005) , Robert Lloyd
This paper examines the rise of NGO self-regulation and investigates the debate that surrounds such initiatives. The paper is particularly concerned with developing an understanding of under what conditions self-regulation initiatives can increase the accountability of NGOs to their beneficiaries.

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Relevant Publications

Accountability in Practice Case Studies

A Code of Ethics in Cameroon

NGO Certification Scheme in Paraguay

The Code of Good Practice for NGOs Responding to HIV/AIDS

CIVICUS Civil Society Index (CSI)

The Civil Society Index provides information about the state of civil society in more than 50 countries. The research was conducted by civil society organisations and involved over 7000 stakeholders from government, donors, academics and the public at large. The index can be accessed in the Civil Society Index Indicator Database, which showcases the data gathered during the 2003-2006 phase of implementation.

There is also a CSI blog featuring updates and articles on the progress of the programme.


The Growth of CSO Self-regulation

This article describes the drivers, patterns and trends on civil society self-regulation around the world, and reflects on the challenges ahead. The article is a shorter and updated version of "Civil Society Self-Regulation: the Global Picture". It was published in the December issue of Alliance, a leading magazine for philanthropy and social investment worldwide.

Nonprofit Accountability Clubs: Voluntary Regulation of Nonprofit and NGOs (Gugerty & Prakash, April 2008, University of Washington, Seattle)

This paper employs agency and club theory in order to examine the role that voluntary regulation programs can play in mitigating the governance and accountability challenges. The authors propose that underlying the apparent diversity of self-regulatory institutions is a set of common collective action challenges that can be addressed by the delegation of concrete powers to beneficiaries.

Scoping Paper - Civil Society Legitimacy and Accountability: Issues and Challenges (L. David Brown and Jagadananda)

This paper reports an effort to explore the issues of civil society legitimacy and accountability and the range of initiatives that have been created to respond to them. The paper is also available in the French and Spanish.

NGO Accountability

CIVICUS Legitimacy, Transparency and Accountability (LTA)

The LTA programme provides a platform for CSOs to come together to reflect on and assess the current state of civil society's legitimacy, transparency and accountability, as well as share past experiences and aspirations for the future.

Mechanisms for NGO Accountability (Jordan, 2005, GPPI Research Paper Series No. 3)

This briefing paper discussess the costs and benefits of NGO accountability and proposes a multistakeholder approach that not only considers the accountability to donors but also to staff, the general public and beneficiaries.

Development Effectiveness and Civil Society

The Missing Piece of the Puzzle? The Institutional Importance of CSOs in the Development Effectiveness Agenda (Talyor, 2009, Guidestar International)

This article explores the development effectiveness agenda through the lens of CSOs. The author stresses the unique and independent role that CSOs play in society and highlights the need to acknowledge these organisations not only as implementers of donor projects and programmes, but as important agents for citizens and communities to express themselves, organise and tackle the barriers to progress as they perceive them.

Development Effectiveness: Towards new understandings, (Kindornay & Morton, September 2009, The North-South Institute)

This paper discusses the debate surrounding development effectiveness and describes four ways in which it has been understood.

Improving aid effectiveness: A review of recent initiatives for civil society organisations (Pratt & Myhrman, May 2009, INTRAC)

This paper reviews some of the proposals and problems inherent in the international process around the “Open Forum for Aid Effectiveness” – placing this initiative into a wider political context as well as measuring it against previous and other existing similar initiatives.

Advisory Group on Aid Effectiveness and Civil Society, Synthesis of Findings and Recommendations, August 2008

This document summarizes the main findings and recommendations emerging from the analytical work, multi-stakeholder consultations and case study work of the Advisory Group on Civil Society and Aid Effectiveness.

Regional and national contexts

Ver a Través. Poder, Rendición de Cuentas y Sociedad Civil (Cruz and Pousadela (ed.), 2008, Instituto de Comunicación y Desarrollo)

This book synthesises country reports of Argentina, Bolivia, Brasil, Chile, Costa Rica, Honduras, Paraguay, Dominican Republic, Uruguay and Spain on the accountability mechanisms used by civil society organisations and what different stakeholders' perceptions are on these issues. In Spanish

The Effectiveness of NGO Self-regulation: Theory and Evidence from Africa (Gugerty, 2008, Journal of Public Administration and Development)

Using cross-national data on 20 African countries, this article examines the weakness of four types of self-regulation in Africa: national-level guilds, NGO-led clubs and voluntary codes of conduct. The authors argue that the weakness of current attempts to improve the accountability and regulatory environment of NGOs stems in part from a mismatch between the goals of regulation and institutional incentives. Access by subscription only.

NGO Law in Kenya (Rahma Adan Jillo and Faith Kisinga, 2009, The International Journal for Non-profit Law)

In this article, the authors present a snapshot of a contentious and potentially productive reform process taking place in the NGO sector in Kenya. Ms Jillo critiques the current NGOs Act and compares the virtues and faults of NGO laws elsewhere in Africa, before articulating features the new law ought to include to support a vibrant and accountable NGO sector. Ms Kisinga argues that the broad participation is crucial for a successful new law and proposes specific strategies for cultivating the participation of the numerous stakeholders.

Case studies of specific initiatives

Making a Difference? Evaluating the impact of The People in Aid Code (Alex Sawbuck, 2007, People in Aid)

This report, commissioned by People in Aid, attempts to evaluate the impact of their code of conduct on the organisation effectiveness of humanitarian NGOs. The authors employ a three stage research methodology: a literature review, interviews, a review of available metrics. Drawing on the OECD definition of impact the authors explored both inside-out and outside-in effect in an attempt to identify any causal, correlative or coincidental linkages.

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CSO Self-regulation news

Guardian Article Calls for INGOs to be More Accountable

14 Feb 12

Writing in the Guardian’s Poverty Matters blog, Michael Jennings called for greater accountability from international NGOs. Jennings, a senior lecturer in in international development at SOAS, made the point that while accountability to donors or national governments is often well-established, accountability to the people that NGOs are meant to serve is limited. He also said that while standards such as the SPHERE Project include guidelines on accountability to beneficiaries, unless INGOs can be legally challenged, these standards cannot enforce accountability.

For the article, see here.

For more on NGO accountability, see the One World Trust’s research here.

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New USAID-Pakistan Website Launched

13 Feb 12

Following a Center for Global Development report on the lack of transparency of US development assistance in Pakistan, USAID has launched a new website that aims to provide greater clarity on why and where money is being spent in Pakistan. The website provides information on the five sectors USAID is focusing on, and details on projects by sector, including the allocated budget and results to date. CGD has praised the new website for improving transparency overall, but has criticised certain shortcomings, including the lack of material in Urdu.

For more information, see here.

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Cambodian CSOs Reject Fourth Draft on NGO Law

21 Dec 11

Civil society organisations in Cambodia have rejected the fourth draft of an NGO regulation law. First proposed in December 2010, the law has been a highly controversial topic, with local and international civil society groups accusing it of being a way for the government to restrict democratic space. Although the latest draft has conceded some ground to civil society’s claims, it still requires all NGOs to register, which is one of the main hurdles to acceptance.

For more information, see the Guardian’s article here.

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Open Forum’s Richard Ssewakiryanga Reflects on Civil Society’s Experience in Busan

08 Dec 11

The Open Forum’s Richard Ssewakiryanga reflects on civil society’s experience in Busan in an article for Devex. Providing a first-hand account of some of the talks at Busan, Ssewakiryanga makes the point that while the conference was heavy on progressive language, it was light on any real action on a number of issues, such as meeting prior commitments made at Paris and Accra. While these concerns remain unanswered for civil society, its inclusion in the Forum marks an idea whose time has come.

For the full article, see here.

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The Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation Now Available

08 Dec 11

The Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation is now available. The outcome of the three day High Level Forum, the document sets out the terms of the agreement reached at Busan, including a reaffirmation of the main Paris Principles, the need for a new approach to development on fragile states, and acknowledgment of the diversity of development actors today, including Southern donors and civil society.

For civil society’s reaction to the Partnership, see the Open Forum for CSO Development Effectiveness and BetterAid.

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Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness Underway in Busan

29 Nov 11

The Fourth High level Forum for Aid Effectiveness is finally underway at Busan. Over 2,000 delegates from donor and recipient countries and civil society have gathered to renew past commitments and develop new ways to make aid more effective. This Forum marks the first time that members of civil society will be participating in discussions as full and equal partners alongside government and donor representatives.

For a useful introduction to the Forum and the issues at stake, see Mark Tran’s explainer at the Guardian’s Poverty Matters blog.

For more news and updates on Busan, keep an eye on the One World Trust’s news and blog sections.

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Aid Transparency Continues to Spark Debates Before Busan

16 Nov 11

The aid transparency agenda continues to be a point of contention in the days preceding Busan. Mark Tran at the Guardian’s Poverty Matters blog finds that some Southern donors are wary over making any commitment to making aid more transparent, with China and Brazil openly admitting their resistance to the Paris principles. This follows foregoing indications that many Northern donors, including Australia and Japan, want to water down existing commitments made in Paris and Accra. The One World Trust will be following this and other developments at Busan closely with regular news updates and blog posts.

For the full article, see here.

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Coordinator of UKAN Warns Against Donors’ Self-Interest Driving Agenda in Busan

01 Nov 11

Gideon Rabinowitz, Coordinator if the UK Aid Network (UKAN), warns of donors backtracking on commitments to abolishing tied aid ahead of the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan. Writing at the Guardian’s Poverty Matters blog, Rabinowitz argues that the conference at Busan, now only a month away, cannot address the question of improving development practices without donors putting aside self-interest.

For the full article, see here.

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Publish What You Fund Concerned About Donor Pushback on Aid Transparency

26 Oct 11

Publish What You Fund, a global aid transparency campaign, has expressed concern over indications that several donors, including Japan and Australia, would like to remove references or ease commitments to the International Aid Transparency Initiative ahead of the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness. The IATI aims to make aid more transparent through the use of a common international standard for publishing aid information. The campaign’s response to the Third Draft Outcome Document for Busan notes that commitment to aid transparency has weakened following pushback from certain donors, including removal of any commitment to publish conditions around aid.

For more information, see here.

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UN Experts Warn Cambodia’s Draft International Law Could Breach International Treaty

19 Oct 11

UN experts say that Cambodia’s draft NGO Law could breach an international treaty by violating freedom of association. Mr. Maina Kiai, UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, has commented that requirements in the law for registration of all NGOs and associations, as well as denying refugees, stateless people and non-Cambodian residents the right to form associations, infringes the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. His comments were supported by other UN experts, who stated that the law in its current form hampers freedom of expression and restricts the actions of human rights defenders. The law has come under fire locally and internationally for creating a potentially constrictive environment for NGOs. The Cooperation Committe for Cambodia (CCC), an umbrella organisation representing more than 100 local and international NGOs, has been a particulalry vocal critic of the law, relaeasing a joint statement against it that has been endorsed by 485 organisations.

For more information, see here.

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G7+ Propose New Aid Deal Ahead of Busan

19 Oct 11

The g7+, a group of 17 of the world’s most fragile states, are proposing a New Aid Deal ahead of the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness. The deal calls for revising aid strategies in fragile countries to take account of their unique challenges, including precedence of Peacebuilding and Statebuilding Goals (PSGs) over the Millenium Development Goals.

For more information, see ODI’s blog.

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Tony Blair to Speak at ODI Event on Leadership and Development

17 Oct 11

In the lead up to Busan, ODI will be holding an event on 19th October where Tony Blair, patron of the Africa Governance Initiative, will be speaking about international development. The event is invitation only, but it will be screened live online. Register for the screening here.

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GiveWell Finds Overestimation of Cost Effectiveness in Deworming Studies

17 Oct 11

GiveWell, an independent charity evaluator, recently conducted an important investigation into cost-effectiveness of deworming initiatives. Their surprising conclusion is that errors in calculations have led to an overestimation of cost-effectiveness figures by a factor of 100. GiveWell’s analysis of the implications of this finding stresses the importance of transparency and access to data in order to ensure such evaluations can be carried out for other initiatives.

For the full article, please see here.

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Bond and UK Aid Network Release Joint UK NGO Position Paper for Busan

04 Oct 11

Ahead of the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness to be hosted in Busan in November, Bond and the UK Aid Network have released a paper presenting the joint position of UK NGOs on the Forum. Shaping the future of aid identifies areas that UK NGOs feel the Government should be focussing on in the Forum. These include renewing and strengthening commitments made in the Paris Declaration and Accra Agenda, particularly regarding transparency, accountability and several other areas of reform that have been neglected; developing guiding policies on aid effectiveness in fragile and conflict-ridden countries; finding ways to engage emerging donors in the aid effectiveness process; and monitoring implementation of a Busan agreement.

These recommendations seem especially vital following a disappointing review of the Paris Declaration by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC). The survey is analysed in some detail by Owen Barder of the Centre for Global Development, but one figure is a particularly stark reminder of where the aid and development world currently stands- of the thirteen targets that were meant to have been implemented by 2010, only one has been met.

For more information on the Fourth High Level Forum. see here.

For more information on previous Forums, see here.

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Report released on the transparency of relief organisations in Haiti

19 Jul 10

The Disaster Accountabiltiy Project has released a report on the transparency of relief organisations responding to the 2010 Haiti Earthquake. The report details the results of a five month investigation to determine whether NGOs that solicited donations for Haiti disaster relief produced reports of their activities, and whether those reports were made publicly available. Whilst some agencies are found to be open about their operations, the report concludes that in general there is “a shocking lack of transparency”, and suggests that there is a need for new transparency/information standards in relief operations.

Read Report

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CIVICUS launch first Civil Society Index report on Albania

13 Jul 10

CIVICUS World Alliance for Citizen Participation have just launched a report on the state of civil society in Albania. This is the first Civil Society Index report from the 2008-2010 phase of the CIVICUS Civil Society Index, and was produced by the Institute of Democracy and Mediation in Albania, with support from the CIVICUS CSI team.

The report fills a large gap in authoritative research on Albanian civil society. It identifies challenges with the weakness of civic engagement, low prevalence of membership-based CSOs, underdeveloped philanthropic culture and consequent dependence on foreign resources, which in turn lead to unpredictable flows and short planning horizons. The dimension evaluating ‘practice of values’ is rated favourably, and the levels of organisation and the legal framework for CSOs are also fairly satisfactory. However, gaps between civil society’s own perceptions on impact and trust and those of other stakeholders are identified in the report as a source of concern, as are the larger socio-cultural and political contexts and the high levels of inequality. More Information

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Bond Workshop on Complaints and Response Mechanisms Friday 16th July

02 Jul 10

Tearfund has introduced complaints mechanisms in its humanitarian programmes, including in Darfur, South Sudan, DRC and Afghanistan. As a result they have gained a wealth of learning on how to ensure such mechanisms are effective, with the need to address the challenges of managing community expectations and fears, and the attitudes, roles and responsibilities of project staff. Come along to find out their experiences and what the lessons are for other NGOs.

Chaired by Rob Lloyd, Projects Manager at One World Trust

Date: Friday 16 July 2010

Time: 1.30pm - 5.00pm Venue: Muslim Aid, PO Box 3, London E1 1JX

For more information, and to register for the workshop contact Vanessa Henegan at Bond on 020 7520 0248, or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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Sri Lankan Government prepares new NGO legislation

25 Mar 10

The Sri Lankan government is planning new regulations and comprehensive amendments to the 1980 NGO Act to, according to government officials, bring it in line with ‘modern-day needs and development’. According to Newton Perera, Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Internal Administration under whose control NGOs come, a draft Act has been prepared by the Attorney General and that would be studied by a Committee of Ministers. NGOs and INGOs have grown to several hundred from a few dozens in Sri Lanka since the ethnic conflict broke out in the early 1980s. Since their growth, governments and the authorities have accused them of stepping out of line and getting involved in politics. “It is inevitable that the government wants to control the activities of NGOs. But we knew this was going to happen eventually. We will lose our free hand,” says Jehan Perera, Executive Director of the National Peace Council (NPC). More information

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NGOs in Cambodia fear NGO law proposal restricts their activities

25 Mar 10

A proposed law regulating non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Cambodia is raising concerns among advocacy and aid groups that it will be used by the government to restrict their activities in the impoverished Southeast Asian country. The Cooperation Committee for Cambodia (CCC), an umbrella organisation representing more than 100 local and international NGOs, released a statement in December to say the time was not right for an NGO law. It was signed by some 230 NGOs. More information

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NGO Transparency Bill passed in Israel amid criticisms

23 Feb 10

An NGO transparency Bill was passed by the Knesset Law Committee making mandatory for NGOs receiving foreign funds to register with the Political Party Registrar and declare in all public appearances that they represent an organization that receives funding from such an entity. It is claimed that the bill was passed as part of a campaign against human rights non-profit organisations that receive funds from foreign states and the European Union, as these organisations have exposed alleged war crimes in Gaza. More info here and here

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New Partnership: The One World Trust teams up with Glasspockets

05 Feb 10

The One World Trust has joined forces with online philanthropy resource, Glasspockets, in its mission to bring transparency to the world of philanthropy. The creators of the project, The Foundation Centre, a leading authority on organised philanthropy in the US, aim to inspire private foundations to greater openness in their communications and increase the understanding of best practices in foundation transparency and accountability in an online world. These goals align neatly with the One World Trust’s own objective to encourage civil society organisations to demonstrate their accountability and transparency to their stakeholders, as embodied by our CSO Self-regulation portal. This new partnership will serve to strengthen both organisations’ shared ambition of mainstreaming the issues of transparency and accountability in the discourse surrounding philanthropy and civil society.

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Charity fundraising’s self-regulatory body under pressure to prove its effectiveness

02 Feb 10

Indicative of a trend towards increased scrutiny of self-regulatory initiatives, the pressure is mounting for the UK’s Fundraising Standards Board to prove its sustainability and effectiveness. In a year’s time, the UK Government is due to decide whether the self-regulatory system of the FRSB is to continue or to be replaced by statutory regulation. As a result, difficult questions are being asked of the FRSB’s ability to hold charities to account. The Labour peer Baroness Crawley warned in the House of Lords last year that “the clock is ticking for self-regulation”. She said too few charities were signing up to the FRSB and “if the Government has to bring in a reserve power in 2011, we may well do that”.

More info

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Launch of CSO accountability toolkits

08 Jan 10

The One World Trust, in partnership with the Commonwealth Foundation and local partners, has produced four toolkits on accountability for CSOs in Belize, India, Pacific region and Uganda.

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Humanitarian Accountability Report Survey (closes 25 January)

23 Dec 09

The Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP) International invites individuals involved or interested in humanitarian accountability issues to participate in the survey on perceptions of humanitarian accountability until the 25th of January. The survey will only take 3 minutes and consists of a dozen short questions. HAP will publish the results in the 2009 Humanitarian Accountability Report alongside a chapter on voices of beneficiaries, a synthesis of HAP member agencies’ accountability progress reports, and an overview of humanitarian developments in 2009. Participate in the survey here

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China considers granting legal status to HIV/AIDS NGOs

10 Dec 09

The Chinese government is considering legally recognising NGOs who have committed to fighting HIV/AIDS in China. Currently, NGOs have to be a subsidiary of legal groups to have a bank account and operate. It is hoped that with legal status, these organizations would have a better work environment and the ability to develop sustainably. More info

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UNFCCC considers complaint mechanism for REDD

04 Dec 09

Discussions regarding a potential complaint mechanism for REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries) have taken place during a side event at the recent Barcelona round of UNFCCC climate talks, the last round before Copenhagen. Central to these discussions was a presentation by Kristen Hite, a staff attorney for the Climate Program at the Center for International Environmental Law in Washington DC, who outlined six key principles for the design of such a complaint mechanism: accessibility, transparency, independence, credibility, efficiency and effectiveness. If acted upon this could be a positive step towards making REDD accountable to those people most affected by its programmes.
To watch the presentation in full, click here (starts at min. 15.43 of the video).

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NGO Watchdog launched in Sierra Leone 

26 Nov 09

A new initiative, designed to monitor the accountability of NGOs and other institutions, has been given the official go-ahead to commence operations by the government. Accountability in Action - Sierra Leone has been created as a non-partisan, independent, research program aimed at providing leadership and direction in addressing issues of accountability and transparency within the NGO community and those government institutions which handle donor funds. More info

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Telephone fundraising code to be revised to comply with the law

17 Nov 09

The Institute of Fundraising’s code of practice on telephone fundraising does not comply fully with the law and is set to be revised. The code says fundraisers should not telephone supporters who have asked not to be called, but exempts “calls undertaken in the course of the administration of support that has already been achieved”. The code is likely to be changed so it covers all telephone calls by fundraisers. More info

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Umbrella group launch NGO week in Swaziland

05 Nov 09

The Coordinating Assembly of Non-Governmental Organisations (CANGO), a Swaziland NGO umbrella group of 70 members, yesterday launched a week of activites designed to inform the public about their development work. The NGO Week will also allow CANGO to share the Code of Conduct that was adopted in 2008 and which aims at promoting accountability, transparency, involvement and participation of beneficiaries in the work of NGOs. More info

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Consultation reveals lack of awareness of NCVO Code of Good Governance

30 Oct 09

Preliminary results from the consultation on refreshing the National Council for Voluntary Organisation’s Code of Governance has revealed that a quarter of respondents had not heard of the original code. The consultation was opened after a review by not-for-profit research body nfpSynergy last year, which said the code’s principles needed to be easier to understand and applicable to a wider range of organisations. The steering group responsible for the code is half way through the consultation and had received 170 responses as of 20 October. More info

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New model constitution for small charities

30 Oct 09

The Charity Commission has published a simplified model constitution for charities below the registration threshold. The 700-word constitution is aimed at charities that don’t own any property or employ any staff and expect their annual income to remain below the £5,000 threshold for registering with the commission.The constitution explains issues such as membership criteria, trustees’ powers and regulations governing trustee and members’ meetings. More info

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NCVO conduct consultation on code of good governance

16 Oct 09

The steering group of the National Council for Voluntary Organisation’s Code of Good Governance, has opened a consultation on the Code’s key principles. The aim is for the Code of Good Governance to remain voluntary but to have more meaning and to become an effective standard in the sector. The consultation closes on 24 November. To have you say on the Code click here.

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Georgian NGO blocked from UN Anti-Corruption conference

13 Oct 09

The UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) is concerned about reports that the Russian Federation has taken steps to block attendance of a Georgian NGO at an upcoming UN meeting on corruption. The NGO, The Transnational Crime and Corruption Center had been accredited to attend the two previous meetings of the Conference of States Parties for the UNCAC. The Coalition has called for the objection to be withdrawn and for steps to be taken to ensure that NGOs will not be excluded on the basis of arbitrary objections. Read more

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Hong Kong anti-corruption commission launch charity guidelines

13 Oct 09

The Independent Commission Against Corruption has launched best-practice guidelines to help 6,000 local charities enhance internal governance, and transparency and accountability in fundraising activities. The government-supported guildelines address proper budgeting, good record keeping, regular auditing of accounts, capping administrative expenses, safekeeping donations and publicising audited accounts of fund-raising activities. Read more

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New accreditation for Islamic organisations in the US

13 Oct 09

A new accreditation scheme tailored for Muslim groups has been initiated by the charity wing of the Better Business Bureau. The BBB partnered with Muslim Advocates, a legal organization based in San Francisco, to create the Muslim Charities Accreditation Program, which evaluates nonprofits and trains leaders on compliance with the government’s legal and financial rules. Those involved in the accreditation program hope it will help allow many Muslim groups to move past the mistrust that has come to define their post-9/11 relationship with the federal government. Read more

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Guidestar and Experian create third sector database

09 Oct 09

A new database has been launched to make the third sector and its resources more visible to potential private and public sector partners. The paid-for third sector intelligence service merges information held by the charity information service Guidestar with that of information services company Experian making ‘charities and their resources more visible to public and private sector’. Read more

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Indian banks told to exert vigilance with NGOs

06 Oct 09

The Reserve Bank of India has asked commercial banks to take extra care when dealing with non-profit organizations, to ensure that they are not used as conduits for either money laundering or terrorist finance. The banks have been advised to strictly apply the “know your customers”, or KYC, guidelines while dealing with non-profits. In the case of non-profits, banks operating in India are being asked to be vigilant about the nature of their work and sources of funds while operating deposit accounts. Read more.

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Indian NGO network calls for declaration of assets

25 Sep 09

In a move aimed at bringing accountability and transparency in the functioning of NGOs in the Indian state of Gujarat, Janpath, a network of 217 NGOs, has decided to ask the trustees of all member NGOs to declare their assets and publish them on a website. Harinesh Pandya, the secretary of Janpath, who announced the initiative at their recent AGM said: “We passed the resolution at our meeting asking the trustees and managing trustees of all member NGOs to make their assets public. We will design a detailed form to declare the assets, which will be sent to all member NGOs across Gujarat. Read more

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EU grant to promote good governance in Nigerian NGOs

25 Sep 09

The European Union has set aside the sum of 20 million euros over three years to provide assistance to registered Nigerian NGOs. The grant is aimed at fostering pro-poor policy, enhanced service delivery and transparent governance; with the project undertaken in particular at state and local government level, to increase non-state actors effectiveness and impact. It is hoped that the implementation of the programme will provide the opportunity to strengthen the dialogue between the state institutions and non-state actors in Nigeria. Read more

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Non-Profit Standards of Excellence launched in Puerto Rico

25 Sep 09

During the 6th Forum of Institutional Excellence of the Third Sector in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Dr. Flordeliz Serpa , President and CEO of Non-Profit Evaluation & Resource Center, Inc., presented the International Declaration of Fundamental Principles of Standards of Excellence for Non-Profit Organizations. The Declaration was proclaimed and unanimously approved by those attending the forum. It is hoped that the standards of excellence will succeed in fostering integrity, transparency and accountability among non-profit organizations.
More info

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Latest issue of ICNL focuses on ‘closing the door on aid’ to civil society

10 Sep 09

The recently released August issue of The International Journal of
Non-Profit Law includes a special section devoted to the restriction being placed on foreign funding to civil society. The issue features a comprehensive overview of the topic and also includes articles on the challenges that confront civil society in the Middle East and North Africa; prospects for reform in NGO law in Kenya; state policy toward the Polish civic sector and corporate social entrepreneurship.
Read more.

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GFG respond to INTRAC criticism of aid effectiveness forum

07 Sep 09

The Global Facilitation Group (GFG) has delivered a strong rebuttal to criticism from the International Training and Research Centre (INTRAC) of the CONCORD Open Forum on Aid Effectiveness. The GFG, who represent the Open Forum, claim that INTRAC’s review of recent CSO initiatives for improving aid effectiveness provides “a premature judgment of the Open Forum, rather than an objective assessment of where the Open Forum stands and where it could lead to in the future”. More info

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Taiwanese self-regulation alliance launches website to ensure transparency of disaster relief aid

04 Sep 09

A collection of Taiwanese civil society organisations, known as the NPO Self Regulation Alliance, have set up a website dedicated to ensuring transparency in the use of donations for relief and reconstruction in the aftermath of Typhoon Morakot. The website will serve as a platform for public scrutiny into the disbursement and delivery of all donations. A number of alliance members have already agreed to post information on the site and it is hoped that non-members, such as World Vision Taiwan, will soon follow suit. More info

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Zambian NGOs fear heightened government restrictions

28 Aug 09

Zambian civil society organisations have expressed concern that the imminent introduction of legislation designed to regulate NGOs may compromise their independence and severely restrict their operations. NGOs will be compelled to re-register every five years and submit annual information on their activities, funders, accounts, and the personal wealth of their officials; failure to comply could result in the suspension or cancellation of registration. Civil society leaders and human rights activists fear the proposed new law could be used by government to silence critics and erode civil society. More info

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Good Governance: a Code for the Voluntary and Community Sector is now on consultation phase (UK)

28 Aug 09

The steering group for the code, representing NCVO, ACEVO, Charity Trustee Networks and ICSA with support from the Charity Commission, has launched a consultation on the principles of the code. This new version follows a review by nfpSynergy last year, recommending that the code principles should be easy to understand and should be applied to any organisation regarding sector or size. More info on Third Sector and the Charity Comission

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PQASSO Quality Mark endorsed by Charity Commission of England and Wales

16 Jul 09

The Charity Commission for England and Wales has endorsed the PQASSO quality mark.  PQASSO (Practical Quality Assurance System for Small Organisations) was developed by Charities Evaluation Service 12 years ago and is available worldwide. Within the UK, CES has recently launched the PQASSO Quality Mark certification scheme. Organisations having achieved levels two or three of the mark will be able to display a Charity Commission seal of approval. The Charity Commission’s decision to formally endorse the mark offers an important example of how self-regulatory initiatives and regulatory bodies can work together to promote best practice within the CSO sector.

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Humanitarian Accountability Partnership publishes 2008 Accountability Report

24 Jun 09

The Humanitarian Accountability Partnership, a partnership of NGOs working to improve accountability, has published its 2008 Humanitarian Accountability Report. It highlights the progress achieved by the humanitarian sector in implementing the HAP initiative. The report also includes an independent review, the results of a survey of staff’s perceptions on humanitarian accountability, and discussions with disaster affected communities. It concludes that although participation and beneficiary accountability have improved, there is much more to do, as donor accountability is still perceived to be a priority.

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UK charity survey finds transparency and accountability weakest

16 Jun 09

A self-assessment survey published by the ImpACT Coalition in February 2009 has found that most charities rate donor care as their strongest and transparency and accountability as the weakest aspect. The survey asked 30 charities to rate their effectiveness in transparency-related fields, including governance, donor care and communications. The results show that, despite taking transparency and accountability seriously, many charities do not have dedicated personnel in this area and therefore do not recognise and cater for the entire range of their stakeholders.

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