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NGO Accountability Charter: PR Substituting for Substance?
The Accountability Charter project of Transparency International, a global anti-corruption watchdog, has the noble goal of seeking to demonstrate "that international NGOs are, and are committed to remain, transparent and accountable, and merit the respect and support they have."

The problem is that actually being accountable and meriting respect is not a requirement for signing the charter. As the former head of accountability for the New Economics Foundation explained, "the charter is a statement of intention: signing up for the charter does not, in itself, demonstrate accountability."

Another NGO researcher writing for Ethical Corporation explained, "Accountability among anti-business NGOs is a case of 'do as I say, not as I do.' For evidence of this, one has to look further than the “accountability charter" launched with much fanfare by arguably some of world’s least accountable NGOs such as Greenpeace...."

The researcher also highlighted that the "charter is more notable for what was omitted, rather than what was included. There wasn’t any statement that NGOs should obey the laws of the country in which they operated, which is a fairly substantial omission."

If international NGOs are really interested in transparency and accountability, they should start by critically examining the information they disseminate and commit to releasing only accurate, unbiased data.

  • See Transparency International Press Release
  • See Ethical Corporation article

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