The global recession has forced governments and private
foundations to drastically review and reduce their plans
for public spending and grant giving.
At the same time, public trust in many organisations involved
in humanitarian and development aid, public service delivery
and policy advocacy is declining. Big donors are inevitably
becoming more discerning in determining who they will fund.
In particular charities and other civil society organisations
(CSOs) are coming under increasing pressure to demonstrate
In recent years, the sector has been hit with various high
profile scandals, including the sexual abuse of children
and women by aid workers in war-torn and disaster areas
and wasteful use of public donations such as in the case
of UNICEF Germany.
However, knowledge among CSOs working at global and national
levels of accountability tools designed to improve effectiveness
and strengthen public trust is fragmented and underdeveloped.
A leading expert on issues of global governance and accountability,
the One World Trust, has spent the last year compiling the
first ever comprehensive inventory of CSO sector self-regulatory
initiatives such as such as codes of conduct, certification
schemes and rating agencies aimed at improving accountability.
The database provides detailed information on accountability
initiatives worldwide, which include their scope, compliance
mechanisms, and which CSOs participate in them.
It will enable potential donors to make more informed decisions
about which organisations they might support and will help
CSOs decide which initiative is most suited to their needs.
To date, 309 self-regulatory initiatives have been identified
worldwide, most of which have only been developed since
Robert Lloyd, projects manager at One World Trust, said:
“We are all significantly more careful about what
we do with our money now than in previous years and this
goes for charitable donations too.
"Individuals and businesses ought to have the peace
of mind that the CSO to which they are donating –
no matter where in the world they are located – is
working towards achieving the quality and accountability
they would expect.”