Accountable and effective institutions

Aid and domestic accountability


Accountability and Democratic Governance

The ability of citizens to demand accountability and more open government is fundamental to good governance. There is growing recognition of the need for new approaches to the ways in which donors support accountability, but no broad agreement on what changed practice looks like. This publication aims to provide more clarity on the emerging practice. Based on four country studies Mali, Mozambique, Peru and Uganda, a survey of donor innovations and cutting-edge analysis in this field, and the findings of a series of special high-level international dialogues on how to best support accountability support to parliaments, political parties, elections and the media. The publication takes the view that a wholesale shift in behaviour is required by parts of the development assistance community - moving outside conventional comfort zones and changing reflexes towards new approaches to risk taking, analysis and programming around systems of accountability and ‘do no harm’ efforts in political engagement.
This piece is aimed at a range of development practitioners, as well as a wider audience, including civil society actors and citizens around the world who interact with donors working on accountability support. 

Accountability and democratic governance: Orientations and principles for development

Aid and Domestic Accountability

 Poor governance constrains development. Accountability – the ability of citizens to hold governments to account – plays a key role in shaping the quality of governance. Aid that improves citizen-state relations can help reduce poverty and support rights, equity and justice, in particular for marginalised populations. The DAC Network on Governance (GOVNET) works on aid and domestic accountability to influence donors to  provide aid to promote effective citizen-state relations in developing countries through support to parliaments, political parties, media, civil society organisations, audit institutions etc.



 Partnership and ownership

Representatives from developing country accountability institutions together with donors and relevant experts guide this work, which builds on human rights, anti-corruption and taxation efforts. They also co-operat on ownership and accountability with the DAC Working Party on Aid Effectiveness, with particular relevance to work on mutual accountability.


Multi-stakeholder consultations in Mali, Mozambique, Peru and Uganda

At the heart of this work lie in-country, multi-stakeholder dialogues that identify challenges and opportunities for enhancing citizen-state relations, taking account of the politics and impact of aid on domestic accountability. Donors and a team of local and international analysts support these case studies. The dialogues in each country bring together donors, government officials, civil society and representatives of various accountability institutions to discuss how donors can improve their support to effective citizen-state relations across sectors, using such entry points as the budget process, service delivery in the health sector and electoral processes. As part of the work on electoral processes, draft Principles on International Support to Elections are also developed.



Building on evidence from dialogues, GOVNET aims to deliver:

  • a policy paper on the impact of aid on the scope and capacity for domestic accountability, exploring the effects of different types of aid delivery on support for effective citizen-state relations.
  • operational guidance for donors on how to maximise the impact of aid on domestic accountability. This guidance also emphasises support to domestic accountability institutions that takes proper account of country context and focuses on emerging accountability systems rather than on individual accountability institutions alone.






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