Monday, July 6, 2009

Kenneth Anderson Posts Paper on NGO Accountability

Kenneth Anderson has recently posted his book review, What NGO Accountability Means -- And Does Not Mean, 103 American Journal of International Law 170 (2009).  Here is the abstract:

International and transnational NGOs have been under criticism for alleged lack of accountability since they emerged into prominence in the 1990s. In recent years, the debate over NGOs has shifted from legitimacy and "representativeness" to accountability in the narrower senses of internal governance, fiduciary responsibility, relationships with national governmental authorities, and similar issues. The volume under review seeks to cover both aspects of the debate, with emphasis on the latter, narrower issues. The review essay argues that the debate over representativeness and legitimacy - accountability in the large sense - cannot be left aside, but continues to be present, if only because the incentives that led NGOs to claim to represent the 'peoples of the world' in the first place have not gone away but have instead merely been submerged under critical pressure. The review essay argues that the question of NGO accountability as a matter of claims to governance remain salient, because global civil society still seeks a role in global governance in a way that relies upon claims of representativeness and that is not satisfied by narrower mechanisms by which NGOs make themselves accountable for other, narrower purposes, such as internal corporate governance or fiduciary accountability for charitable assets.


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Kenneth Anderson is totally right... Recently, the french media exposed the NGO "Aide et action" for losing 660,000 euros in donations in a risky financial placement, something forbidden in NGO code of conduct (see article of the French weekly Canard Enchaine, dated July 8). Accountability to donors is important, whether USAid or a grandmother who sponsors a child. Accountability to beneficiaries is also non-existent. It is urgent to address these issues.

Posted by: Grabu | Jul 29, 2009 2:23:23 AM

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