Steering Multi-level Accountability
Systems from the Ground Up
Communities in Cambodia are being displaced and their livelihoods are under threat because of infrastructure and development projects that they have very little control over. These communities urgently need to find ways to have greater influence over decision making concerning the projects before they occur, and make the projects more accountable for their effects after they occur.
The primary aim of this project is to investigate what communities want in terms of accountability and ability to influence development projects, as opposed to the frameworks and perceptions of accountability held by international institutions, governments and NGOs. The objective is to ensure that accountability mechanisms put in place as part of a development project (e.g. by governments, aid donors, development institutions), and advocacy programs implemented by NGOs, are actually consistent with the type of accountability the community is seeking and the methods it is comfortable using.
The project will explore existing barriers to community influence, self-determination and redress for the negative impacts of development projects. It will examine the factors enabling some communities to develop relatively stronger community centred accountability processes, and exercise infuence over the way that development occurs, than others.
Drawing on the Cambodia experience, the project also aims to fill an important gap in literature and practice by examining the interaction of multiple and overlapping accountability mechanisms associated with aid and development organisations, financial institutions and transnational business whose activities may impact simultaneously on one community. This will provide a strong basis for generating academic papers and briefing papers that can inform programmes and advocacy as well as a pilot project for building strengthened community driven accountability systems.
The project is funded by a private endowment given jointly to Oxfam and Monash.