Global Accountability Week: What is it and why it matters to Australia’s region

Jocelyn Condon

02 Oct, 2019

This week, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) are celebrating Global Accountability Week. It is a week celebrating the work of nine accountability networks who have joined forces to create the Global Standard for CSO Effectiveness and who are working to grow effectiveness amongst every CSO around the world.   

ACFID Director, Jocelyn Condon, gives three key takeaways on ACFID’s work in driving civil society effectiveness through our partnership with the Global Standard and the exciting opportunities to build accountability in our region.

1. At the heart of the Global Standard and its push for CSO accountability is this idea of ‘dynamic accountability’. By choosing to be accountable this way, we can completely reframe how our organisations interact with our stakeholders.

When I first started working on the Global Standard with ACFID, one of the things that attracted me most about the project was the concept of dynamic accountability.  It sounds complicated, but transforming our thinking about how we hold our organisations to account is actually surprisingly simple.

Dynamic accountability removes the jargon. We put aside whether we’re being accountable ‘upwards’ or ‘downwards’, whether the log frame is right, or how the monitoring and evaluation will be done. It simply asks you to focus on one question: are you placing the people you’re seeking to bring about change for at the heart of your work? In the end, this is what it boils down to, but all too often we lose sight of it.  

When we hold ourselves to account in this way, we can really ground our projects, make decisions confidently and see clearly how to improve our work and why.

2. When we prioritise accountability in this way, we can see how the Global Standard for CSO effectiveness is more than just another standard.

As a partner to the Global Standard, ACFID has been working for several years with partner organisations from around the world to come up with a common language and set of standards for the important work that civil society does together.

This process drove home the message of dynamic accountability and the need for agility. It highlighted for all organisations involved that the ‘best’ way to do this was going to look different in every context. This underpinned the decision for the Global Standard to be a ‘reference’ standard. This means it is not intended to replace existing standards currently used by various standard-managing organisations and their members. But rather where a pre-existing standard is in place, the Global Standard can be used a reference point with which to align. This strengthens common principles across existing accountability standards and codes, giving strength to the global movement for effective CSOs and dynamic accountability.

3. The sky’s the limit for accountability – imagine what’s possible!

Right back when we started work on the Global Standard, we got involved because we knew that strong civil society was at the heart of powerful and effective action on the issues that affect our region. And we knew that through empowering the organisations that our members partner with in the Pacific and across Asia to improve, prove and demonstrate their effectiveness, our collective voice and action would also be strengthened.

In this context, the need for effective and prepared civil society actors at every level who are responsive to the needs and voices of affected populations as their highest priority has never been more important. The Global Standard offers an opportunity for organisations to map the journey, regardless of where that journey starts. But for every CSO, now – more than ever – it’s time to get the accountability journey started.

ACFID is a partner to the Global Standard for CSO effectiveness, a global reference standard transforming civil society accountability. You can read more about ACFID’s partnership with the Global Standard here. Read more about the standard here.

  • Jocelyn Condon
    Jocelyn Condon

    Jocelyn Condon, Director of Development Effectiveness, ACFID

    Jocelyn leads ACFID’s effectiveness and engagement team, which manages NGO membership, work under the ACFID Code of Conduct, and ACFID’s learning and innovation program. She has recently returned from four years in Timor-Leste where she worked with the International Labor Organisation, and is studying a masters of Development Policy at ANU. Prior to moving to Timor, Jocelyn worked as a Business Risk Consultant at Deloitte.

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