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Why don't we see social accountability in the Pacific?

Nicholas Menzies's picture
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Transparent notification of fees on the main door of a rural church-run hospital in Western Province, Papua New Guinea.

From participatory budgeting in Porto Alegre, Brazil (pdf) to health clinic scorecards in Uganda social accountability mechanisms are a familiar feature of the development landscape across most regions of the world…so why not in the South-West Pacific?

One reason service delivery is poor in many Pacific states is that the same challenges that make it difficult to deliver services also make it difficult for officials to go out and account for them - dispersed populations; high transport costs; and a limited number of trained officials to supervise. This lack of oversight by government officials contributes to shoddy or non-existent services.

Can social accountability make up for some of the shortcomings in government accountability? Social accountability is the fostering of direct linkages between citizens and service providers. It can be thought of as working both prior to the delivery of a service (for example, residents meet with local government officials to set budgets so that spending aligns with community needs) as well as after a service has - or has not - been delivered (such as a complaints mechanism for residents to report police who fail to respond to calls for help).

Departing thoughts on NT2: The simple importance of information

Nanda Gasparini's picture

It’s now that time for me when you have to sit down and write goodbye and thank you emails, throw away all those trees you’ve cut over the years (that would be paper), wrap up work, pack up your stuff and say goodbye.

Empowering the poor: Helping urban slums to help themselves

Chris Pablo's picture

The poor need to be empowered, and solutions have to be designed by them. Community organization, a difficult yet key element to successful slum upgrading, is often successfully carried out.

China’s growth surprises on the downside

David Dollar's picture

Although exports have slowed down, they contributed to China's GDP growth in 2008. But in this gloomy global economy, some factories will close and workers will lose jobs as it slows down further.
China’s growth rate in the third quarter fell to 9.0%, the lowest rate since the SARS crisis in 2003. Everyone expected that the global slowdown and disruption from the Olympics would take some of the froth off China’s economy. But the median forecast among specialists who follow China was 9.7%, so it is fair to say that the drop was a big surprise.

The details of the third quarter report provided some good news. Exports are slowing gradually, but still contributed to the GDP growth in 2008. Retail sales growth hit its highest level in nine years and was at 18% in real terms in September. So far, Chinese consumption is holding up. And the easing of inflation to under 5% means that the government has scope to loosen monetary and fiscal policy. The government is planning to respond to the potential for further growth declines with accelerated spending on reconstruction of the earthquake-affected areas and with infrastructure projects more generally.

Matching governance demand and supply

Naazneen Barma's picture

For over a decade, the World Bank has emphasized the centrality of good public sector governance and anticorruption efforts in achieving sustainable development impact in low- and middle-income countries.  But more recently the Bank has widened its analytic and operational lens on governance to include what is being called the “demand-side” of governance.  What does this mean, and what are the implications for Bank work in its client countri