The Nigerian elections have important impacts on prospects for accountability within Africa’s biggest democracy and beyond. As of writing, it looks like it will be a contested result. Yiaga Africa is among those monitoring, offering updates and explainers.”
Lots more news, research, events, and jobs below. Plus, if you want to access past TAI Weeklies – check out our new website and let us know what you think.
TAI's Executive Director
P.S. Remember, TAI doesn't own the photos. All photos used in this weekly have a link to their source.
Citizens in the dark and missing political will
Some TAI members have been thinking about the transparency of debt processes and there is an interesting live case playing out in Sri Lanka where citizens still don’t know the fifteen debt deal conditions specified by the IMF, and yet the President can casually mention one at his discretion (related to increasing electricity bills.)
Opaque oil-backed loans are problematic in South Sudan. A three-year investigation by The Sentry uncovers numerous red flags related to a 2018 deal that skirted legislation on oversight, transparency, and competition and facilitated off-book government spending.
To prevent such situations, it is good to see new guidance on advancing fiscal transparency for development. Public financial management and fiscal system reform advocates and practitioners please take note!
"There is no political will to combat the problem of corruption," so complains Delia Ferreira Rubio in relation to Argentina. She also highlights the absence of an ethical commitment from officials and little social demand for solutions.
Last week, we partnered with the World Bank’s Global Partnership for Social Accountability to convene a Green Accountability Hybrid Townhall. Speakers, including TAI’s Michael Jarvis, highlighted the importance of accountability in climate finance. We hope Ajay Banga, the US government’s nomination to be the next president of the World Bank is listening.
FROM OUR MEMBERS
OPEN SOCIETY FOUNDATIONS:
OSF president Mark Malloch Brown offers an interesting thread on the prominence of accountability in discussions at the recent Munich Security Conference.
promotes the latest “New Common Sense newsletter” from their Economy + Society Initiative, Eduardo Engel and Benjamín García of Espacio Público share the latest from Chile and the winding path to a new political and economic contract.
Ford Foundation’s Otto Saki says: “We have a responsibility to not only address the extremities but also the complexities of the attacks on social justice leaders. We are called to pursue more innovative and strategic tactics in how we engage to hold perpetrators to account for the ongoing harm they inflict.”
Shares highlights of the Africa Media Festival that took place in Nairobi in partnership with Baraza Media Lab.
We are intrigued by the Atlas of Impunity - a new tool designed to track the abuse of power across five key societal dimensions – unaccountable governance, abuse of human rights, economic exploitation, conflict and violence and environmental degradation. Can it spark debate on the rise of unaccountable power worldwide?
TOOLS & TRENDS FOR FUNDERS
Vu Le reminds us of funders 10 condescending funding practices that we need to stop, such as demanding a sustainability plan, requiring a certain level of experience, or requiring funds to be matched by other sources.
Ben Naimark-Rowse makes the case for nonviolent activism and argues that philanthropy has to recognize that it is an expression of political power, both in society and in relationship to grantees. That’s why shifting power to grantees is as vital as supporting the processes that lead to more just and democratic relationships within a society.
Coalitions are crucial to development. A new paper examines successful initiatives in Bangladesh, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Timor-Leste funded by The Asia Foundation. These are useful reflections on how externally supported coalitions emerge and function and how funders can be enablers.
Have your say on INGO accounting guidance. Consultation is invited on the International Non-Profit Accounting Guidance (INPAG) Exposure Draft 1 through March 31st. See the background from the Latin America and Caribbean Consultation Meeting here (in Spanish).
FOCUSED TOPIC OF THE WEEK
REHABILITATING DEMOCRACY, PROTEST, AND A CLASH OF GOVERNANCE SYSTEMS
TAI was in New York last week talking with United Nations Development Programme colleagues on the future of democratic governance, so we were intrigued to read this review of ways to support political innovation (a live conversations among TAI members). Civil society has attended to social problems for decades while intentionally refraining from overt engagement with politics, but we are right to ask if we can reinvigorate democracy by a willingness to be more political.
What of inspiration from the past? Citizens’ assemblies date back to ancient Athens, where councils were chosen via random selection in a practice known as sortition. Eva Talmadge suggests they can be part of the future of democracy.
Of course, much engagement now happens online, but how do we assess digital participation? The second iteration of the Digital Participation Platforms Ratings was released last week, evaluating 32 digital participation platforms, based on a review by a committee of civic tech experts and includes platform user input from over 400 users.
One need only click on a news site to get a sense of how democratic freedoms are ebbing and flowing. On the positive side, developments in Slovenia since the replacement of the far-right government show that countries can rehabilitate their democracies. For example, restoring independence to institutions like the public broadcaster and revoking and reimbursing fines that were illegally issued to citizens for attending protests. On the darker side, Peru’s democracy continues to slip deeper into crisis. Elizabeth Salazar discusses how current protests are surprising for their “duration, simultaneity, and the absence of visible political or civil leaders,” but notes how the right to protest is still impacted by classism and racism.
At the big picture level, George Soros worries that “while two systems of governance are engaged in a fight for global domination, human civilization is in danger of collapse because of the inexorable advance of climate change.” Both battles matter
PROVIDE YOUR INPUT!
Are you an organization working on anti-corruption, transparency, or accountability? Did you adjust your programming as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic? If so, the Center for International Private Enterprise and Global Integrity would love to hear from you! Take this short survey (available in English and Spanish) by March 3.
Regulators and activists are getting more alert to greenwashing (at last!) - this New York Times piece provides a good review of the state of play (paywalled)
The Adani group has been much in business news given claims of financial irregularities, but Pranam Bardhan urges us to look at a bigger issue as he unmasks India’s “crony capitalist oligarchy.”
The Financial Action Task Force adds South Africa and Nigeria to its grey list for money laundering risks while suspending Russia on the anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine. Investment in all three countries could get more complicated as a result
JOBS AT TAI MEMBERS
Job postings at Hewlett Foundation - ONGOING
Job postings at MacArthur Foundation - ONGOING
Job postings at Open Society Foundations - ONGOING
Job postings at Luminate - ONGOING
Job postings at Ford Foundation - ONGOING
Job postings at FCDO - ONGOING
Job postings at Skoll - ONGOING
Director of Programmes- Ariadne Network
Grants Management Associate, Wellspring Philanthropic Fund
Management Assistant, Porticus
Supervisory Board Member, Legal/Finance, Mama Cash D
Director, Organizational Effectiveness and Excellence, Ford Foundation
Learning and Evaluation Director , Thousand Currents
Policy and Advocacy Manager, Access Now
Consultant for Environmental Assessment, Civil Rights Defenders
Various Roles, Local Government Revenue Initiative
CALLS / OPPORTUNITIES
Call for Research Proposals on Environmental Taxes, Deadline March 3
Call for Research Proposals on Taxing the Wealthy, Deadline March 3
How do we track and report on progress? M&E Sandbox, 1 March, 8.30am EST
Metrics Matter for Locally Led Development, 1 March, 10 am EST
Investing in Women Climate Leaders, March 1, 12 pm EST
What role does OD support play in changing practices in philanthropy? 13-14 March, Brussels
OECD Global Anti-Corruption and Integrity Forum, 29-30 March, Paris, 2023
Summit for Democracy, 29-30 March (multiple locations)
Skoll World Forum, 12-14 April 2023
Rights Con 2023, June 5-8, 2023
EITI Global Conference, Dakar, June 2023
TAI's Executive Director
We’d love to hear from you on how we can further improve TAI Weekly to better serve your needs in program management on the transparency, accountability, improved grantmaking and civic space. Please direct your feedback to email@example.com or