Can greater transparency help people hold big corporations to account? Some new tools that may help

Duncan Green - March 13, 2015

My former boss Phil Bloomer seems to be having fun in his new role running the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre. Here BHRRC researcher Eniko Horvath profiles 2 new interactive platforms on company virtues/vices and how they can help the struggle for corporate responsibility. In Mexico, the Federal Electricity Commission sued activist Bettina Cruz, for her peaceful advocacy on the social and environmental impacts …

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The Four Magic Words of Development, by Tom Carothers and Saskia Brechenmacher

Duncan Green - November 6, 2014

This guest post comes from Thomas Carothers and Saskia Brechenmacher of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Tufts University, drawing from their new paper Accountability, Transparency, Participation, and Inclusion: A New Development Consensus? The penultimate para in particular got me thinking about the different tribes present at the recent Doing Development Differently event. If you are about to visit an organization engaged in international …

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What are the limits of transparency and technology? From three gurus of the openness movement (Eigen, Rajani, McGee)

Duncan Green - April 7, 2014

After a slightly disappointing ‘wonkwar’ on migration, let’s try a less adversarial format for another big development issue: Transparency and Accountability. I have an instinctive suspicion of anything that sounds like a magic bullet, a cost-free solution, or motherhood and apple pie in general. So the current surge in interest on open data and transparency has me grumbling and sniffing the air. Are politicians just …

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Making All Voices Count – promising new initiative (and source of funding)

admin - September 27, 2013

A big new initiative on citizen voice, accountability etc was launched this week. OK it’s a bit obsessed with whizzy new technology, and light on power analysis and politics, but it still looks very promising, not least because it is being run by three top outfits – Hivos, IDS and Ushahidi. It is also a potential source of funding for work on accountability, whether programmes, …

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Ups and downs in the struggle for accountability – four new real time studies

admin - September 5, 2013

OK, we’ve had real time evaluations, we’ve done transparency and accountability initiatives, so why not combine the two? The thoroughlybrilliant International Budget Partnership is doing just that, teaming up with academic researchers to follow in real time the ups and downs of four TAIs in Mexico, Brazil, South Africa and Tanzania. Read the case study summaries (only four pages each, with full versions if you …

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When do Transparency and Accountability Initiatives have impact?

admin - September 4, 2013

So having berated ODI about opening up access to its recent issue of the Development Policy Review on Transparency and Accountability Initiatives (TAIs), I really ought to review the overview piece by John Gaventa and Rosemary McGee, which they’ve made freely available until December. The essay is well worth reading. It unpicks the fuzzy concept of TAIs and then looks at the evidence for what …

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Citizens Against Corruption: What Works? Findings from 200 projects in 53 Countries

admin - May 20, 2013

I attended a panel + booklaunch on the theme of ‘Citizens Against Corruption’ at the ODI last week. After all the recent agonizing and self-doubt of the results debate (‘really, do we know anything about the impact of our work? How can we be sure?’), it was refreshing to be carried away on a wave of conviction and passion. The author of the book, Pierre Landell-Mills …

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What can we learn from eight successful campaigns on budget transparency and accountability?

admin - August 7, 2012

Over the last couple of years, the International Budget Partnership has published a set of fascinating case studies of campaigns on issues of government accountability, budget transparency and access to information. I finally sat down and read them all recently (the summer lull is a wonderful thing). What conclusions do they draw (see end of post for links to the case studies)? As always, good …

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What difference do accountability and transparency initiatives really make?

admin - February 1, 2011

The advice to ‘beware the common sense of the time’ is just as true of today’s developmental buzzwords as it is of the discredited versions of yesteryear. And what could be more commonsensical than ‘transparency and accountability are a Good Thing’? But does supporting them with aid money actually make a difference? Researchers at the UK’s Institute of Development Studies (a bit of personal transparency …

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Robin Hoodies and Robbing Oil Revenues: two fine new youtubes

admin - April 7, 2010

Here’s the latest youtube treat from Richard Curtis for the Robin Hood Tax campaign (whose Facebook fan club just topped 150,000 people). OK, we oldies recognize Ben Kingsley, but test your yoof credentials by naming the rest of them…….. See here for more considered (if less enjoyable) posts on the subject.   Meanwhile Oxfam America’s animated short “Follow the Money” has been selected as one of 16 finalists for YouTube’s DoGooder …

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