The adoption of social accountability approaches in South Asia is creating significant impact around the world, said Mr. Robert Chase, Lead Economist, South Asia Human Development, the World Bank in his inaugural address during the event ‘Social Accountability in South Asia: Improving Development Outcomes’ on Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at Constitution Club of India, New Delhi organized by CUTS International in partnership with Affiliated Network on Social Accountability South Asia Region (ANSA SAR). Narrating the example of Ethiopia, he said that now after exposure of Ethiopian delegation to south Asian social accountability progress, 90 percent of the districts of Ethiopia have posted their budget on the website and 80 percent of the districts have feedback collection mechanism in place.
He further said that the exchange of knowledge on social accountability through Community of Practice of Social Accountability (COPSA) has potential to add great value in the improvement of development outcomes. He also informed the audience that the World Bank has launched Global Partnership for Social Accountability (GPSA) in Washington only 12 hours ago mainly to support civil society in social accountability interventions. He congratulated Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) for anchoring such an initiative in south Asia.
Ms. Bhvana Bhatia, South Asia Regional Coordinator, the World Bank Institute, mentioned about it various initiatives being taken up in the area of social accountability. She talked about the initiative of promoting knowledge exchange through ANSA and community of practices (CoPs), Capacity building of relevant stakeholders, engaging CSOs in budget process to demystify the budget process, motivating innovative practices and their documentation, use of information and communication technology and others. She also talked about COPSA and e-learning for the encouraging achievements.
In the opening remarks, Mr. George Cheriyan, Director, CUTS International, said that social accountability interventions can play a vital role in improving the public expenditure outcomes and this has been proved through several pilots implemented by various organizations in several parts of south Asia and outside. He mentioned that even less the one percent of total budget for introducing accountability mechanism can surprisingly improve the development outcomes.
Government and other agencies of development want to strengthen the impact of its development effort by improving accountability at various level of development process. Engaging citizens in the process from project design to outcome assessment has been constantly bringing better outcomes by ensuring transparency and accountability. This approach called ‘Social accountability’ has been found very successful in the several interventions made by Civil Society Organizations and that has motivated government resulted in to adoption of the approach in several government mega schemes like social audit in NREGA, Community based monitoring in NRHM, School, School Health and Management Committees (SDMCs).
The event was specially organized to sensitize the government, media, donor agencies and civil society organizations on social accountability approaches, adopt and support such approaches. The event witnessed the participation of all eminent personalities from various donor, government and media agencies including Ministry of Rural Development, British High Commission, The World Bank, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative and others.
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