Promoting transparency and accountability

There are discernible efforts that are globally being undertaken to promote transparency and accountability. We are witnessing the creation of multistakeholder and citizen-led approaches because in, e.g., African countries, traditional accountability measures, such as internal audits or intra-government controls, are no longer considered sufficient due to corruption (McGee et al., 2010). Global transparency and accountability efforts include but are not only limited to; e-Government development initiatives which are expected to create more effective, transparent and accountable and inclusive institutions; The European Public Sector Information directive which requires all European governments to release public sector information to the public for further use and the development of new electronic services (The European Union, 2003); The Global Open Data Initiative which was launched in 2013, and aims to globally champion open data for enhanced transparency and accountability; effective service delivery, and economic growth (Alonso, 2013); The Open Governance Partnership (OGP) initiative that was established in 2011 and has 70 participating members — it promotes partnership between nations and their civil society organizations with an aim of effecting reforms at a national level. It is also a partnership between nations and enhances collaboration and the sharing of good ideas and practices on issues of transparency, integrity, and public safety. The OGP goals of increased transparency, accountability and engagement seek to: (a) improve public services; (b) improve public integrity; (c) more effectively manage public resources; (d) create safer communities; and (e) increase corporate accountability (Macaulay, 2014). Admission to the OGP requires countries to have a legal basis that promotes access to information by the citizens (Harrison & Sayogo, 2014).

The Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency was launched in 2011 with the objective to promote fiscal transparency, engagement, and accountability in countries around the world (International Budget Partnership, 2011), The International Aid Transparency Initiative was launched in 2008 with an aim of making information about aid spending easier to access, use and understand (International Aid Transparency Initiative, n.d.), The Open Contracting and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiate were launched in 2002 at the World Summit on Sustainable Development — it has the aim to improve the management of natural resources, reduce corruption, and mitigate conflict (Haufler, 2010). Though there is a global push for transparency and accountability as demonstrated above, it is not all the citizens of the globe that are enjoying the fruits of these global initiatives. Gaventa and McGee (2013) and Joshi (2013) contended that the available evidence on the impact of transparency and accountability initiatives is fragmented and limited. A good example of how government transparency and accountability initiatives can fail citizens is demonstrated in the efforts to rebuild post-conflict societies through the establishment of Truth and Reconciliation Commissions (TRCs) as the section below demonstrates.

 
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