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GPSa Knowledge Platform

GPSA Webinar
The role of civil society organizations in closing the gap between transparency and accountability

About the Webinar

Albert-van-Zyl 
This webinar took place on April 30th, 2014. Albert Van Zyl, from the International Budget Partnership (IBP), presented a research paper on “How Civil Society Organizations Close the Gap between Transparency and Accountability”.
Based on a set of 21 case studies commissioned by the IBP, this research paper argues that CSOs play a more important role in bridging the gap between transparency and accountability than the literature recognizes. Some authors mention a partial role for CSOs in the transparency-accountability equation, however, none of them discuss the diverse and strategic ways in which CSOs can make up for the deficiencies of formal oversight actors and thus lubricate the gears of the accountability system. This research aims to bridge that gap, showing that CSOs do this in four main ways:

  • by accessing, interpreting, and distributing information to multiple stakeholders in useable and accessible formats;
  • by demanding accountability of government directly;
  • by supporting and encouraging formal oversight actors to demand accountability (such as legislatures, auditors, judiciaries); and
  • by supporting and encouraging other actors to demand accountability (such as executive insiders, political parties, donors).

Paper’s reference: Van Zyl, A. 2014. How Civil Society Organizations Close the Gap between Transparency and Accountability. Governance, Volume 27 (2) 347–356.
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Albert Van Zyl joined the International Budget Partnership (IBP) in August 2005 and is based at IBP-Cape Town. He is the manager of research and learning at the IBP. Van Zyl has consulted to finance ministries, NGOs and legislatures in Burkina Faso, Chad, Ivory Coast, Mozambique, Niger, South Africa, and Uganda and a range of non-African countries. He established and managed the macro-economic and budget offices in the Western Cape Government in South Africa. Between 1997 and 2002 van Zyl worked at the Budget Information Service (BIS) at the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (Idasa) and directed it from 2000-2002. Van Zyl holds a MA degrees in Politics, Philosophy and Economy from the Universities of Stellenbosch and Bordeaux, France. He has published on a range of public finance issues including fiscal policy, social service finance, environmental issues and subnational finance.


Download Albert van Zyl’s Presentation

April 21, 2014

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The role of civil society organizations in closing the gap between transparency and accountability"

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