In spite of the limited diffusion of innovative accountability mechanisms around the world, it is a fact that an enormous range of institutional creation and experimentation has been put in place in recent years in a large number of countries and sectors, including also in the transnational dimension. These institutional initiatives are intended to solve most of the accountability shortcomings that traditional accountability procedures present for regulatory governance. Among them, how to solve the relationship between agencies' independence and accountability has emerged as a major challenge, one that is scrutinized in several chapters of this volume.
However, there are also other challenges to make regulatory governance fully accountable, as other chapters in this volume point out.
Among the most challenging issues is the emergence of multi-level governance in the politics of regulation (Jordana and Levi-Faur 2004) and how to keep representative democracy a valid model capable of monitoring and steering regulatory governance in an increasingly global context (Braithwaite 2008). To be accountable in complex, multi-level arenas, where regulators and regulatory agencies play simultaneously at several levels, requires developing and expanding a new generation of accountability mechanisms, while keeping active most of the already existing mechanisms.
All the chapters in this volume, in one way or another, deal with these challenges, examining current institutional tensions related to the accountability of regulatory governance while providing some insight into the main directions of change in the politics of regulation.