Think Piece

Supporting International Transparency & Accountability Interventions: Does Our Existing Knowledge Help?
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Photo: Unsplash

The transparency and accountability (T/A) field has changed at a remarkable speed. In the early 1990s, few countries had tried to implement reforms, advocacy campaigns were a rarity, and international action was a plea. Today, T/A practitioners operate in a world in which many actors from all levels are engaged, and international efforts have become a reality.

However, we know very little about the impact of these different international initiatives. How will they generate change, in both international norms and on the ground? What are the models of change? How are they affected by institutional design and the ways in which stakeholders leverage them? Does context make a difference? What kinds of resources and support affect on- the-ground impact? And what does all this have to tell different stakeholders supporting initiatives in different circumstances?

We need to talk more about both knowledge and practice, and now is the time to do so. In this piece we make a start by identifying what research tells us about the impact of international initiatives in the T/A field, and by beginning to link them to the experiences of civil society organizations.