Accountability of the NGOs

Accountability has different meanings to different people and institutions. The concept of accountability has different meanings, even in different countries. In international literature, accountability is frequently also used as a synonym for good governance, transparency, equality, responsibility, answerability and integrity.

It is very important to emphasize that accountability does not have just a single definition or a definition that all agree upon. According to Mark Bovens, Director of Utrecht School of Governance “Accountability represents a relationship between an actor and a forum, in which the actor has an obligation to justify his or her conduct, whereas the forum can pose questions and pass judgment and the actor may face consequences.” With CSOs, accountability may be defined as the readiness to accept responsibility and to account for their actions, by being responsible and transparent.

Accountability is defined as an obligation or the desire to hold accountable – in this case the CSO’s – for their actions towards their actors. Accountability is related to being responsible towards the stakeholders; therefore bearing in mind their needs and positions in the decision-making processes. In this context, accountability may be thought of as more of a learning process than a control mechanism.

Being accountable is to be open with stakeholders, by being involved in a continuous dialog and by learning from the interaction. Accountability may generate ownership over actions and projects, as well as ensure sustainability of activities. Therefore, in this organizational manner, Civil Society Organizations are offered a path toward a better performance.