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INPUTS FOR THE PREPARATION OF THE ROUND TABLE 5 ON STRENGHTHENING MUTUAL ACCOUNTABILITY HIGH LEVEL FORUM 3 – ACCRA 2008 BRIEF ISSUE PAPER ON MUTUAL ACCOUNTABILITY AND GENDER EQUALITY 1. Introduction The 3rd High Level Forum that will take place in Accra in September 2008 will have 9 Round Tables (RT), providing space for in-depth dialogue on selected topics. This Issue Paper was prepared by a group of women’s rights organisations: WIDE, AWID, DAWN, and FEMNET1, to give inputs on mutual accountability and gender equality for the preparations of RT5 “strengthening mutual accountability”. This document provides a brief review of some of the concerns highlighted by women’s rights organisations related to the implementation of the Paris Declaration Principle on Mutual Accountability. It also introduces proposals to promote further mutual accountability towards gender equality and women’s empowerment and presents a list of possible speakers to be considered in the design of the RT5. According to the Terms of Reference (ToRs) proposed by the Co-chairs2, the RT5 on “strengthening mutual accountability” will tackle:  What is mutual accountability, and why does it matter?  Implications of the monitoring and evaluation studies of the Paris Declaration;  Country level systems for mutual accountability;  The role of civil society organisations (CSOs) in mutual accountability;  International systems of mutual accountability;  Mutual accountability in a cross cutting issue: Gender;  Capacity requirements to exercise mutual accountability;  What recourse does a partner country have if a donor does not honour a commitment? The ToRs of the RT 5 provide a very good base to prepare the discussions, following the Generic ToRs for the Roundtables3 in integrating the so-called cross-cutting issues4. We strongly suggest to adopt the proposals put forward at the Dublin + 1 Workshop to substitute the term ”cross-cutting issue” by ”policy priority issue” or ”central goals to development”, as the continued use of the term ”cross-cutting” perpetuates their marginalisation5. Environmental sustainability, gender equality and human rights are not a parallel debate of aid and development policies, but central development goals6. The following sections aim at identifying key bottlenecks and lessons learnt as well as principles and good practice elements from a gender equality analysis and women’s empowerment perspective.


This paper was coordinated by Nerea Craviotto and Suvi Kilpeläinen (WIDE), with inputs from Cecilia Alemany and Fernanda Hopenhaym (AWID), DAWN and FEMNET. 2 OECD DCD/DAC/EFF(2008)2, p. 29. 3 OECD Roundtables Generic Terms of Reference, December 17, 2007. 4 GENDERNET organized a first workshop to discuss the so-called cross-cutting issues in Dublin in 2007 and this meeting was a turning point on the so-called cross-cutting issues discussion. The key messages from the Dublin workshop were: Gender equality, human rights and environmental sustainability: are fundamental cornerstones for achieving good development results; can be advanced through implementing the principles and partnership commitments of the Paris Declaration; and must be harnessed to advance the implementation of the Paris Declaration. In 2008, DFID and Gendernet followed this initiative in the Dublin + 1 workshop, on March 12 and 13 in London. 5 Irish Aid, Joint Assistance Strategies Brief. 6 See the Recommendations from the International Consultation of Women’s Organisations and Networks and Aid Effectiveness organized by the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) and WIDE in Ottawa at the end of January 2008. Download from: ( or


2. What does mutual accountability mean? Stated in the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, “mutual accountability means that donors and partners are accountable for development results” in a variety of ways. Partner countries undertook to strengthen the parliamentary role in national development strategies and/or budgets and to reinforce participatory approaches by systematically involving a broad range of development partners when formulating and assessing progress in implementing national development strategies broad participation in development planning and implementation. Donors undertook to provide timely, transparent and comprehensive information on aid flows, in order to enable partner authorities to present comprehensive budget reports to their constituencies. Both agreed jointly to assess through existing and increasingly objective country level mechanisms mutual progress in implementing agreed commitments on aid effectiveness, including ownership, alignment, harmonisation and managing for results. Indicator 12 measures success in achieving mutual accountability as the “number of partner countries that undertake mutual assessments of progress in implementing agreed commitments on aid effectiveness including those in this Declaration” with target for 2010, that implies that “all partner countries have mutual assessments reviews in place” (Paris Declaration 8, 10). However, with its exclusive emphasis on partner countries, does not fully capture the balance which mutual accountability implies (Roundtable 5). 3. Challenges for the implementation of the Mutual Accountability principle from a gender equality and women’s empowerment perspective. Challenge 1: Accountability is the basis for effective aid, and should be based on rights. Civil society organisations (CSOs), and women’s rights organisations, around the world argue that accountability is the only basis for effective aid. Donors, Southern governments and other actors in the aid system must be accountable for the impacts and development outcomes of aid. CSOs, and women’s rights organisations, believe that these impacts and outcomes must be ultimately assessed in terms of progress towards internationally-agreed human rights, including women’s rights, the right to development and associated economic and social rights. Rights-based obligations should provide a normative and organising framework for accountability in the aid system. In addition, accountability mechanisms must include gender responsive indicators and resultsbased frameworks, in order to ensure steps towards the achievement of MDG37. CSOs demand the inclusion of specific instruments within the ‘new’ aid tools, particularly: gender budgeting, gender audits and monitoring of the implementation of international instruments for gender justice. Challenge 2: Create new multi-stakeholder mechanisms for holding governments and donors to account. At present, accountability in the aid relationship flows almost entirely in one direction: from recipient to donor. As such, donors are often unaccountable vis à vis partner governments and citizens. In order to strength mutual accountability at country level, donors must make transparent and binding commitments to which they can be held to account to the referred constituencies. Mutual accountability in a context of highly unequal power relationships between donors and recipients also requires a commitment to a fundamental reform of International Financial Institutions (IFIs), (Better Aid 2008: 10).


The Africa Gender and Development Evaluators Networks, in partnership with UNIFEM, has been working in identifying indicators that could complement accountability processes in the Paris framework. For further information, please visit:


In addition, CSOs have raised concerns with respect to the practices of the IFIs, as it is not clear how the latter are accountable at the national level. Women’s rights groups, working with CSO campaigns on IFIs, play a key role in monitoring the direct and indirect effects of IFI policies on women’s livelihoods. This lead us to the issue of donor countries’ interest and double standards about trade and development be made explicit and part of the dialogue, along with citizen participation from both recipient and donor countries. Women’s groups have developed extensive gender analyses of trade policies, as well as the relation between aid practices from development countries and their links (and contradictions) with policies in trade and investment, which seriously affect prospects of developing countries to tackle poverty and inequality8. These concerns are a key component of the civil society agenda around “mutual accountability”9. Challenge 3: Mutual accountability, gender equality and women’s empowerment: How to integrate gender equality and women’s rights? The recommendations from the International Consultation of Women’s Organisations and Networks and Aid Effectiveness, as well as from the African Women’s Consultation on Gender Equality and Aid Effectiveness, highlighted concerning mutual accountability that: 

Donor and developing country governments should strengthen the capacities, resources and authority of national women’s machineries to support a monitor line ministries, other government bodies and parliaments in influencing national development planning and budget allocations for gender equality and women’s rights.

All relevant actors must commit to the highest standards of openness and transparency: o Donors and international financial institutions should deliver timely and meaningful information, adopt a policy of automatic and full disclosure of relevant information, and submit to the norms and direction-setting of the United Nations (UN). o Developing countries’ governments must work with parliamentarian elected representatives, CSOs (at local and national level) and the public to set out open and transparent policies on how aid is to be sourced, spent, monitored and accounted for. o Diverse CSOs, including women’s rights organisations, must also exercise accountability and continuously draw their legitimacy from their constituencies.

Donor and partner governments must provide transparent information on Official Development Assistance (ODA) allocations, which must be consistent with policy commitments and legal commitments, including the International Human Rights standards and Gender Equality commitments, as well as transparent and publicly available genderresponsive budgets.

EC / UN research10 also highlights the need of stronger mechanisms for accountability that increase the visibility of gender equality, and suggests:  Improving accountability should make gender equality issues and outcomes more visible in the development agenda, while improvements in enforceability should provide greater incentives for both partner countries and donors to deliver on gender equality commitments. Coherent and systematic inclusion of a gender perspective in accountability mechanisms and frameworks monitoring the implementation and results of donor programmes and national development plan is of ultimate importance in ensuring that these contribute to the objectives of gender equality and women’s empowerment.


AWID, WIDE (2008). Primer #5: Aid Effectiveness and Women’s Rights Series: Making Women’s Rights and Gender Equality a Priority in the Aid Effectiveness Agenda. Download from: or 9 Alemany, C. et Craviotto, N. et al. (2008) Implementing the Paris Declaration: Implications for the Promotion of Women’s Rights and Gender Equality. Canadian Council for International Cooperation: Canada. 10 EC, UN et al. (2008) Information brief on gender equality and the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness to be held in Accra, 2-4 September 2008. Draft March 2008 (


As well as11:  The collection of sex disaggregated data by national statistics offices.  The integration of gender sensitive indicators in performance frameworks assessing national development strategies and donor programmes and linking their spending on GE to development outcomes.  The active engagement of civil society organisations and gender equality and women’s empowerment advocates in accountability frameworks and monitoring mechanisms.  The use of existing country reports on the implementation of CEDAW, Beijing Platform for Action and Millennium Development Goals. Finally, the principle of mutual accountability, where donor countries, recipient countries and citizens should be able to hold each other to account for their development commitments, can only be truly possible where strong, independent, and well resourced civil society and women’s rights organisations exist12. 4. Addressing some key questions for the Roundtable on Mutual Accountability Why does mutual accountability matter from gender perspective? Citing Cathy Gaynor13 accountability must be monitor with gender responsive indicators. Gender equality goals need to be included in central and line ministry plans and results-based frameworks. The accountability roles of national stakeholders and donor agencies in relation to gender equality need to be clarified and monitored. Gender is a key dimension to be tracked in establishing mutual accountability and transparency in the use of development resources. Advancing gender equality, women’s empowerment and human rights are essential to strengthening local capacity, leadership, voice and participation in the formulation, implementation and monitoring of national development strategies. There is often a lack of strong national accountability mechanisms for environmental sustainability, human rights and gender equality through parliaments, audit offices, a free media, an active civil society and all the other means that are used in donor countries to hold government accountable to taxpayers and the community. Implications of the monitoring and evaluation studies of the Paris Declaration. Mutual accountability is the area with lowest reporting and progress registered in the evaluations. More detailed information should come with the 2008 Monitoring the Paris Declaration report. Although its critical importance within the whole process. It is surprising that one of the key principles of the PD is reduced in its implementation to separate exercises to be conducted only at country level in the recipient countries. CSOs, and women’s rights organisations, support the creation of an effective and relevant independent monitoring and evaluation system for the Paris Declaration and its impact on development outcomes. Such mechanism would offer partner countries the opportunity to assess the performance of donors individually or collectively, as well. A unilateral country-level exercise where the partner country sits in front of the whole of its donor community implies an enormous imbalance of power and resources, where the partner country can be easily made accountable for its part in the “ partnership” under threat of seeing its aid cut or reduced but where the donors can hardly be made accountable for any eventual shortcomings. The sum of those reviews cannot be expected to add up to a fair “mutual accountability” exercise. Further, there is neither partner country representation, nor that of any international institution where the interests of partner countries are predominant, in the standard-setting and scorekeeping bodies of the PD, which are essentially the


EC, UN et al. (2008) Mapping studies on Aid Effectiveness and Gender Equality: Cameroon Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Ghana. Draft February 2008 ( 12 AWID / WIDE Primer #5. 13 Gaynor, C. (2006) Paris Declaration Commitments And Implications For Gender Equality And Women's Empowerment. GENDERNET: France (


OECD and the World Bank, even when it is recipient country governments, not donors, which are penalized if those standards are not met14. The role of CSOs in mutual accountability. Diverse CSOs have been engaged in tracking Paris Declaration, both internationally and in developing countries. CSOs have been raising a range of issues and bringing in different perspectives, trying to ensure that this new framework for aid effectiveness translates into effective and accountable development processes. CSOs are promoting a deepening of the aid effectiveness agenda, so that it addresses the concerns of all stakeholders in the development process. CSOs are particularly concerned about the interest and representation of groups, which are often excluded or marginalized, including women and women’s movements. CSOs call for a stronger language in the Paris Declaration regarding gender equality and human rights issues. CSOs around the world argue that accountability is the only basis for aid and development effectiveness. Donors, Southern governments and other actors in the aid system must be accountable for the impacts and development outcomes of aid. CSOs believe that these impacts and outcomes must be ultimately assessed in terms of progress towards internationally agreed human rights standards, including the right to development and associated economic and social rights. Right-based obligations should provide a normative and organising framework for accountability in the aid system. In addition, accountability mechanisms must include gender responsive indicators and results-based frameworks15. Capacity requirements to exercise mutual accountability In order to strength the capacity requirements to exercise mutual accountability “it would be helpful to understand and clarify the accountability roles of donors, women’s machinery [in government], different arms of governments, and CSOs, as different actors, as a way to build support and opportunities to facilitate the political power needed to drive and sustain resources for gender equality goals”16. In addition, women’s rights advocates often face significant challenges at the country level in attaining gender equality accountability from governments. Such accountability proves difficult because the primary focus for aid effectiveness is on institutional procedures of disbursement and accounting, not results or impact on the ground for gender equality goals. Much attention is being placed on the alignment of donors to the Paris Declaration, but not on how donors and governments measures the impacts of the new aid modalities in terms of development results in the recipient countries17. Predictability and aid levels The main and almost exclusive concern of the Paris Declaration is to “reform the ways aid is delivered and managed”. The Paris Declaration recognizes that “while the volumes of aid and other development resources must increase to achieve these goals (the MDGs), aid effectiveness must increase significantly as well to support partner country efforts to strengthen governance and improve development performance” The Paris Declaration makes no commitment to increase aid, demanded by MDG8, but it express the belief that more efficient aid delivery “will increase the impact aid has in reducing poverty and inequality, increasing growth, building capacity and acceleration achievement of the MDGs18”.


Bissio, R. (2007). Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness: Application of the criteria for periodic evaluation of global development partnerships – as defined in Millennium Development Goal 8 – from the right to development perspective: the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. Human Rights Council – Working Group on the Right to Development: Geneva ( 15 ISG (2008). From Paris 2005 to Accra 2008: Will aid become more accountable and effective? A critical approach to the aid effectiveness agenda. ( 16 Alemany, C. et Craviotto, N. et al. (2008) : 15. 17 Ibid. 18 Bissio, R. (2007): 6.


What needs to be done to reinvigorate mutual accountability from a gender equality and women’s empowerment perspective? Women’s rights organisations and advocates demand the inclusion of specific instruments within the ’new’ aid tools, particularly: gender budgeting, gender audits, gender-sensitive indicators and monitoring mechanisms for the implementation of international agreed instruments for gender equality and women’s empowerment (CEDAW, BPfA). As well as the improvement of sex disaggregated data, which must become regular, and consistent to support planning, negotiations, monitoring, and evaluation of development and aid policies. In addition, the current monitoring process for the Paris Declaration is asymmetric – donors monitor themselves, while the World Bank and others monitor recipient countries19. These kind of asymetries need to be addressed and solved. Because gender equality has not been explicitly addressed in the Paris Declaration, its implementation process needs to be used to promote a wider development effectiveness approach, where gender equality and women’s empowerment is essential and a cornerstone for development effectiveness. Supporting Gaynor (2006), paragraph 4720 of Paris Declaration should notice that gender is a key dimension to be tracked in establishing mutual accountability and transparency in the use of development resources when as the paragraph 48 21 should notice that women have a key part to play in strengthening the parliamentary role in national development strategies and/or budgets but also reinforce participatory approaches and involvement of a broad range of development partners, which include women’s rights organisations, in formulating and assessing progress in implementing national development strategies. Possible entry points for incorporation of gender in the Paris Declaration principles and monitoring, can be22: 

 

  

Develop mechanisms to strengthen mutual accountability of donors and partner countries for promoting Gender Equality, Poverty Reduction and Human Rights. There are already ongoing strategies for integrating gender-sensitive indicators in accountability mechanisms in the Paris framework (i.e. AGDEN initiative23) that donor and partner governments could learn from and adopt. Promote accountability towards citizens and people, including women and girls, and not just between partner and donors’ government. Ensure meaningful participation of civil society, including women’s rights organisations, in accountability and review processes, they should be officially recognised as a monitoring partner and be able to bring its own monitoring and evaluation frameworks. Access to financial resources is also crucial for the sustainability of CSOs, and women’s rights organisations, participation in these processes. Build capacity towards a strong voice for women in areas where they currently are weak e.g. fiscal, trade and financial policy arenas. Strengthen national capacity in formulation of gender sensitive performance indicators and inclusion of gender analysis. As well as to promote Gender Auditing Systems and Gender Budget Initiatives. Active engagement of gender specialists throughout Paris Declaration monitoring processes, by involving them in the different task teams and working groups.


ISG (2007): 6. Paragraph 47 of Paris Declaration mutual accountability means that donors and partners are accountable for development results. A major priority for partner countries and donors is to enhance mutual accountability and transparency in the use of development resources. This also helps strengthen public support for national policies and development assistance. 21 Paragraph 48 of Paris Declaration partner countries committing to: strengthen as appropriate the parliamentary role in national development strategies and/or budgets and reinforce participatory approaches by systematically involving a broad range of development partners when formulating and assessing progress in implementing national development strategies. 22 Built from Gaynor, C. (2006). 23 Ibid: 20


List of suggested speakers to consider on the design of the RT5: Carmen de la Cruz Carmen de la Cruz is member of WIDE since 1988. She is an International consultant in gender and development. During the last 20 years, she has gained a broad working experience in development cooperation and humanitarian action in conflict and post-conflict environments in Africa, Middle East and Latin America. Since 2005, she is working on the gender related impact of new aid modalities. She is author of a considerable number of articles and papers on women’s participation in peace-building; gender planning; gender, globalisation and women’s rights; financing for gender equality as well as gender and human development. She holds a BA in Geography and History, a diploma on Advanced Studies in Social Anthropology from the Autonomous University in Madrid and an expert title in International Relations and Gender in Development. Florence Etta Florence E. Etta is currently an independent research, monitoring and evaluation consultant in the fields of Information and Communication Technology Policy, Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D), Education, Environment, Gender and Development. She holds graduate degrees from the Universities of London and Lagos in the Psychology (Cognitive) and Sociology of Education. Her primary training was in Science Education. In 2007 & 2006 she completed refresher courses in Results Based Management, Appreciative Inquiry, Open Space and Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation. Florence has extensive research, monitoring & evaluation (M&E), capacity development, facilitation and project/ NGO management experience. She has been/is a consultant to a handful of International organizations including UNICEF, USAID, Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Foundation, IDRC, UNECA ACGSD and UNIFEM in West, Eastern and Southern Africa. She spent 6 years (1998 -2005) at the International Development Research Centre, Nairobi progamming in ICT4D during which she supervised the research and publication of five seminal books in the subject matter. She is currently Chair of the steering committee of the African Gender and Development Evaluators Network, which is a Special Interest Group of the African Evaluation Association AfrEA, and the Vice Chair of PimaNet- a network of measurement professionals in Kenya. Hamida Harrison, Senior Programme Officer in charge of training and capacity building at the ABANTU, Ghana. She holds MA degrees in International Relations, Public Administration (Development option) and Sociolinguistics in addition to a Post Graduate Diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication. Her rich work experience as a lecturer in both local and foreign universities makes her an effective training resource person. Some of the publications and papers she authored include ‘The State of Women in Public Life in Ghana- An Overview,’ The state of the Media in Ghana, and mainstreaming Gender in Policy-making. Mrs. Harrison has participated in many conferences on women and development in the recent past. These conferences covered a range of topics such as The International Women’s Organizations (Uganda), Direct Foreign Investment and its Impact in Africa (Tanzania). She also participated in the UN Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (USA) in 2005 and 2008. She is a member of many women and other professional organizations. These include African Council on Communication Education, Women in Law and Development and Association of Women’s Rights in Development.


Mutual Accountability and Women's Rights  

Inputs for the preparation of the round table 5 at the High Level Forum 3 - Accra 2008

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