Myths and Realities of CSOs Promoting Transparent and Accountable Government Institutions

On May 3, PTF’s Chief Technical Adviser, Vinay Bhargava, made a presentation at the 2019 Asian Development Bank Annual Meeting Civil Society Program on Myths and Realities of CSOs Promoting Transparent and Accountable Government Institutions.

Civil society works to improve governance as an influencer of government policies and programs, as implementer of governance programs and as monitors to hold the government accountable. However, there are many myths and realities that shape the role and extent of CSO impact. The talk discussed common myths such as: CSOs lack accountability, governments and CSOs are adversaries, and the civic space is unitary, among others; and presents evidence that dispel these myths and present realities.

Dr Bhargava’s presentation consisted of five main points:

  • The demand for more transparent and accountable (T&A) government is rising; and governments/donors have committed to respond.
  • True government T&A requires input from both “supply” (government) and “demand” (citizen) sides.
  • The many myths and realities of CSOs working to promote T&A.
  • The realities of CSO roles, impact and success factors in promoting T&A.
  • Suggestions for ADB to promote greater government T&A through CSO engagement.

The presentation’s research evidence is based on the draft PTF publication: Expanding CSO Contributions to Governance Agendas of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs). The preliminary Executive Summary of this paper is has been released for public review through May 30, 2019. Click here to download a copy and submit your comments.