Transparency and Accountability

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Peacebuilding Theme Name: Transparency and Accountability


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Description

Transparency and Accountability is a term to describe the field of efforts to promote peace by ensuring good governance.

Larry Diamond lays out the relationship between non transparent, unaccountable governance and peace in this way:

It is a general trend throughout history that there will be people in power who consolidate authority into a monopoly on wealth and power. In a poorly governed system, the goal of those in power is not the generation of public goods but "club goods", goods and services available only to an elite few. This tends to mean that there is rule by strong individuals rather than law and institutions. This frequently results in a violent struggle for power and resources and accompanied by the manipulation of ethnic, clan, cast or other identity ties to mobilize support in the struggle to dominate power and resources.

Accountability institutions and actors pushing for accountability help to ensure peace by preventing poor governance. Accountability is a relationship between two actors, in which one actor monitors the conduct of the other and compels the other to answer for questionable or wrong actions. Accountability requires information, reporting, openness all of which is encapsulated in the term Transparency.

According to the Open Government Partnership : Government must make information and data available: - Proactively - In an accessible fashion

Accountability Dimensions

Through Vertical Accountability, the people hold state actors accountable by means of free and fair elections, a strong and vigilant civil society, dree, pluralistic, skillful and effective mass media, and freedom of information laws.

Horizontal Accountability is a system of monitoring, justification, and enforcement by which various branches and agencies of government hold one another responsible and answerable for their conduct, and thereby deter, detect, punish, and correct the abuse of power. Generally this means that power is separated and dispersed among branches. Usually there is a relationship between a principle and agent which has 1) oversight bodies 2) Answerability (public officials and agencies must explain and answer for conduct) and 3) Enforcement. Agencies of accountability must be independent, enforced by the work of non-governmental orgs

To be effective, civil society needs tools and training, financial support, international political support.

For technology to be applied to achieve transparency and accountability, there needs to be close cooperation and partnership between engineers and civil society practioners as well as governments.

Projects that support Transparency and Accountability