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Responsability & accountability of civil society organisations

17-12-2008

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) are under external pressure (donors, governments, corporate, broader public) and internal demand (members) to further address the issues of their own responsibility, ethics, governance, legitimacy, accountability and transparency. This evolution raises major questions.

A variety of initiatives have been carried out by civil society organisations across Europe, to further address these issues.
- Today, where do current initiatives stand in that respect?
- What are the conditions - and pitfalls to avoid - for such initiatives to support CSOs in the realisation of their mission rather that burdening them with yet another layer of work?

The Foundation for Future Generations, together with the Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation and the Bernheim Foundation, has organised a working seminar on 17 December 2008 in Brussels for CSOs to share their experience and findings with fellow CSO representatives.

Resources

Background

This initiative takes place in the follow-up of the European survey on the responsability and accountability of NGOs. About 50 representatives from civil society organisations and platforms of NGOs across Europe have contributed to a European survey on the responsibility, ethics and governance of civil society associations, carried out from 2003 to 2007 by the Foundation for Future Generations in partnership with the Bernheim Foundation, the Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation, CEDAC and GRESEA.
 
The lessons of this survey have been synthesised in a publication: « The accountability of citizen associations. A contribution to the international debate on civil society responsibilities ». This publication takes an helicopter view and clearly settles down the challenges of associations accountability and governance.

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