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2008 Global Accountability Report PDF Print E-mail

Main findings: a need for a step change in global accountability


The results of this year’s assessment reveal a clustering of overall accountability capabilities scores around the 70% mark, indicating that an organisation has accountability policies and systems in place that meet only some good practice principles. This is the floor, not the ceiling, of accountability capabilities. If global organisations are to be part of the solution to global challenges, there needs to be a step change in their approaches to accountability. They need to start implementing the more challenging accountability reforms which truly empower external stakeholders to hold an organisation to account.


Click on the picture on the right to download the full Report, or here for the 2008GAR briefing, and here to join the online discussions on Accountability Spotlights, case studies contributed by the stakeholders of the assessed organisations on how their accountability policies play out in practice


Organisational scores on overall accountability capabilities


*Denotes organisations that did not engage with the research process


Top scorers


For 2008, the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) is the highest scoring international NGO (INGO), and at the top of the 30 organisations this year with a score of 71 percent.  The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is the highest scoring intergovernmental organisation (IGO) at 70 percent and BHP Billiton ranks highest within the corporate sector at 66 percent.



Cross sector findings


Having assessed 90 global organisations over three years, this year’s Report reflects on what the data from 2006 and 2007 and 2008 indicates about the state of accountability across the three sectors. The findings offer broad insights into common scoring patterns across the four dimensions of accountability, sector strengths and weaknesses, and gaps in accountability in global governance.


Sector strengths


Each year, the IGO sector has consistently scored highest in transparency and evaluation and the INGO sector has, by a large margin, scored highest in participation. Companies present a more mixed picture. While in 2006 and 2007 companies outperformed the other sectors in complaints handling, this year’s results suggest that the picture is perhaps more nuanced and is partly dependent on where the company is headquartered.


Sector weaknesses


Each year, all sectors have failed to consistently score above an average of 50 percent for transparency and complaints handling capabilities. While organisations may struggle in these dimensions, positive reforms can be achieved. Each year we have seen those that buck the trend and score well in both areas.


Overall, the corporate sector lags behind the other sectors in its accountability capabilities. Companies generally address accountability on an ad hoc basis rather than through specific policy commitments against which stakeholders can hold them to account. On a more fundamental level, that companies are established for private gain, rather than public benefit, explains their weak performance in relation to the other sectors whose public accountability is more directly related to their purpose. However, many companies have broad economic, environmental and social impacts which impact the public interest. Reconciling the tension between private purpose and public impact is a central challenge for corporate accountability.


Click on the names of the organisations below to view their accountability profiles - brief descriptions of the accountability policies and systems of each of the assessed organisations below.

Intergovernmental Bodies



African Development Bank


Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation


European Bank for Reconstruction and Development


European Investment Bank


International Atomic Energy Agency


International Finance Corporation


International Organization for Migration


North Atlantic Treaty Organization


Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees


United Nations Children’s Fund

Transnational Corporations



BHP Billiton








Deutsche Post World Net




Royal Dutch Shell


Goldman Sachs





International NGOs



Care International


Catholic Relief Services


Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International


International Committee of the Red Cross


International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements


International Olympic Committee


International Planned Parenthood Federation


Islamic Relief


Plan International


Transparency International


Explore the 2008 Global Accountability Report:


  • Read the full report providing context, analysis and accountability good practice in colour or black and white


  • View the briefing, a four-page summary of the 2008 Global Accountability Report in colour and black and white


  • Join the online discussions on Accountability Spotlights, case studies contributed by the stakeholders of the assessed organisations on how their accountability policies play out in practice.


Related documents and activities:






  • Click here to contact our partners about related activities in different countries


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