Accountable Now is a global platform, founded in 2008 by a group of independent non-profit organisations, which is intended to foster accountability and transparency of civil society organisations (CSOs), as well as stakeholder communication and performance. It supports CSOs to be transparent, responsive to stakeholders and focused on delivering impact.
Accountable Now was founded under the name International NGO Charter of Accountability by eleven leading CSOs, including development, humanitarian, environmental, rights-based and advocacy organisations. As Membership and global collaboration increase, CSOs collective voices are strengthened. Today, 29 Member Organisations are active in more than 150 countries and impact stakeholders all over the world.
CSOs are more important than ever before in framing and influencing social, political and economic environments. On the national level they provide disaster relief and social service, promote self-help and self- governance in developing countries where they are operating. In addition they enhance a strong international Civil Society by creating informal but important normative regimes which are influencing international institutions in their decision-making. This greater involvement of CSOs also raises the question of how they justify their activities.
CSOs have a particular interest in meeting standards on accountability and transparency in view of the responsibilities towards not only the cause which they are meant to serve, but also stakeholders of various types, including donors and sponsors (possibly comprising corporations and governments), intended program beneficiaries, staff and the general public.
Accountable Now is considered a contributing element to underscoring the legitimacy of CSOs.
At the International Advocacy Non-Government Organisations (IANGO) Workshop hosted by Transparency International in June 2003, the importance of promoting accountability and legitimacy was discussed by its participants. As they recognised their growing involvement in international issues the need of promoting accountability was highlighted. The Hauser Center for Non-Profit Organisations at the Harvard University was asked for a research paper on the topic to provide a foundation for following discussions. At the following annual meetings in 2004 and 2005 the participants analysed their own concepts of accountability, set up an initial draft and with the help of independent consultant specialists revised the draft until a final version was ready to launch.
The INGO Accountability Charter, signed in June 2006 by eleven leading international NGOs active in the area of human rights, environment and social development, set the course for the establishment of Accountable Now (then known as the INGO Accountability Charter) and it has been referred to as “the first ever set of international and cross-sector guidelines for the NGO sector” and the “first global accountability charter for the non-profit sector”.
The founding signatories were ActionAid International, Amnesty International, CIVICUS World Alliance for Citizen Participation, Consumers International, Greenpeace International, Oxfam International, International Save the Children Alliance, Survival International, International Federation Terre des Hommes, Transparency International and World YWCA.
The charter is based on ten core principles and aimed at enhancing respect for human rights, good governance, accountability and transparency, encouraging stakeholder communication, promoting inclusion and environmental responsibility, and improving organisational performance and effectiveness. It documents the commitment of international NGOs to these aims.
In 2008, the signatory-NGOs decided to found an independent organisation of the same name International NGO Accountability Charter Ltd in order to organise the reporting and vetting process of the member organisations against the charter commitments and develop them further. Today, the organisation operates under the name Accountable Now and has 29 member organisations.
Related codes of conduct
- INGO Accountability Charter
- Brown, L. David; Moore, Mark H. (2001). "Accountability, Strategy, and International Nongovernmental Organizations". Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. 30 (3): 569–587. doi:10.1177/0899764001303012.
- See for example: Maria Francesch-Huidobro: Governance, politics and the environment: a Singapore study, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS), ISBN 978-981-230-831-3, 2008, p. 60
- See also: Kumi Naidoo: Global civic society: Rallying for real change. In: Willie Cheng, Sharifah Mohamed: The world that changes the world: How philanthropy, innovation and entrepreneurship are transforming the social ecosystem, Lien Centre for Social Innovation, John Wiley & Sons, ISBN 978-0-470-82715-4, 2010, p. 331
- Crack, Angela (2013). "INGO Accountability Deficits: The Imperatives for Further Reform". Globalizations. 10 (2): 293–308. doi:10.1080/14747731.2013.786253.
- Schmitz, Hans Peter; Raggo, Paloma; Bruno-Van Vijfeijken, Tosca (2012). "Accountability of Transnational NGOs". Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. 41 (6): 1175–1194. doi:10.1177/0899764011431165.
- Keating, Vincent Charles; Thrandardottir, Erla (2016). "NGOs, trust and the accountability agenda". The British Journal of Politics and International Relations. 19: 13–151. doi:10.1177/1369148116682655.
- Duncan Matthews: Intellectual Property, Human Rights and Development: The Role of NGOs and Social Movements, MPG Books Group, UK, ISBN 978-1-84720-785-2, 2011, p. 229
- Explore Charter background on: "Charter Background". Archived from the original on 2013-05-13. Retrieved 2012-11-23.
- Lael Brainard, Derek Chollet (editors): Global development 2.0: can philanthropists, the public, and the poor make poverty history?, The Brookings Institution, ISBN 978-0-8157-1393-7, 2008, p. 175
- Andrew Stuart Thompson: Laying the groundwork: Considerations for a charter for a proposed global civic society forum. In: James W. St. G. Walker, Andrew S. Thompson: Critical mass: the emergence of global civil society, The Centre for International Governance Innovation and Wilfried Laurier University Press, ISBN 978-1-55458-022-4, 2008, p. 214
- "Who we are". Accountable Now. Archived from the original on 2017-02-11. Retrieved 2017-02-09.
- Charte des ONG (NGO Charter) Archived 2011-09-28 at the Wayback Machine, One World Trust, 1997