Understand the context
The accountability picture is fundamentally shaped by local politics, power and incentives in both formal and informal spheres. Development co-operation activities should be based on an accurate reading of the political context of accountability institutions and processes. This means understanding the context before developing the most suitable programming options, rather than applying standardised “best practice”. It also means building on institutions and processes that are already up and running effectively.
Look at accountability systems as a whole
Domestic accountability works as a system, involving a wide range of actors and institutions, information flows and patterns of influence and incentives. Balanced, targeted support depends on a fuller understanding of, and respect for, this accountability system. A “systems approach” can avoid supply-driven, top-down, blueprint assistance targeted only at formal accountability institutions. Instead, it can help donors to understand the specific country context and do much more to work “with the grain” of local institutions and reformers.