IDS at GPSA: citizen action for open, accountable & inclusive societies

1 November 2017

IDS is showcasing work on accountability from two international research programmes, Making All Voices Count (MAVC) and Action for Empowerment and Accountability (A4EA), at this year’s Global Partnership for Social Accountability (GPSA) Partners’ Forum. This annual event convenes a dynamic and diverse group of stakeholders to “explore a new shared vision for the field of social accountability, to connect and equip participants to develop and implement elements of this vision into fruition.”

GPSA Partner Forum 2017 logo

The fourth edition of the World Bank’s Global Partners’ Forum, co-convened this year with the Open Government Partnership and Making All Voices Count, has aligned with Sustainable Development Goal 16 and focuses attention on the role of citizen action in building effective, accountable and inclusive societies.

In its final year, the Making All Voices Count (MAVC) is presenting findings on the role of ICTs in improving government responsiveness to citizen voice and on efforts to strengthen citizen engagement in the Open Government Partnership.

Dr Fletcher Tembo, MAVC Director, will also be taking part on a final plenary looking at civic tech and whether technology is transforming social accountability.

Dr Tembo said, “The starting point for transformative accountability change has to be context-based collective action; the technology must be introduced to fit the context, which means adjusting it to provide answers for those actors that are facing the problems. We privilege technology over the understanding of the prevailing power-laden relationships in any given context."

A panel of researchers from the Action for Empowerment and Accountability (A4EA) programme, which is looking at how social and political action can contribute to empowerment and accountability in fragile, conflict, and violent settings, are sharing emerging findings at the first plenary of Day 3 of the Forum.

John Gaventa, Director of Research at IDS and leading the A4EA research programme will be chairing the session.

Professor Gaventa said:

Accountability is crucial to reducing inequality and increasing access of marginalised citizens to essential services and is central to fighting corruption and strengthening democratic governance.

Yet there are major challenges in contexts where political authority is fragmented and private (non-state) actors play a vital role in providing public services – this is especially true in fragile, conflict, and violent settings.

A4EA will be going into the heart of what accountability even means in these contexts, how accountability bargains are negotiated and struck, women and social and political action, and the role of external actors in these contexts, that is international organisations such as donors, NGOS, etc.”

Jeff Thindwa, who is Program Manager for the GPSA, is a member of A4EA's international advisory group.

Launch of the Action for Empowerment and Accountability (A4EA) programme at Carnegie

Following the GPSA event, an official A4EA programme launch will be hosted by Tom Carothers at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, on 2 November.

Speakers will include Anuradha Joshi, Sarah Khan, Stephanie de Chassy, John Gaventa, Maha El Said, Joy Aceron, and Jonathan Fox.

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Further resources on accountability

Image: GPSA Partner's Forum logo reproduced with kind permission from the World Bank.

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