New Delhi, March 16, 2010

Corruption prevalent in the system forms a net which taps most of the public expenditure before reaching it to the bottom. This is emphatically true for the south Asia region. To break this net of corruption and to promote good governance a network named Affiliated Network for Social Accountability – South Asia Region and Global Partnership Fund (ANSA – SAR & Global) was formally launched by Dr. Mohammad Golam Samdani Fakir, Acting Vice Chancellor of BRAC University at a press meeting at Journalism Training and Research Initiative (JTRI), BRAC University, Dhaka. This network will cut the net of corruption on the fashion of ‘diamond cuts diamond’, He wished.

“We need to move from elections to what happens between votes in order to establish effective social accountability practices.” Said Dr. Gopakumar Thampi, CEO of ANSA – SAR & Global during inaugural ceremony. Social Accountability refers to the ways and means by which citizens can hold public institutions accountable in terms of delivering public services, improving people’s welfare and protecting people’s rights and entitlements.

Barrister Manzoor Hasan, Director of The Institute of Governance Studies made the opening remarks and explained about the activities of Institute of Governance Studies (IGS) located at BRAC University.

While speaking in the launch meeting, representing organizations from India, Mr George Cheriyan, Director, CUTS International, said, “Citizens have a right to demand accountability and the public actors have an obligation to be accountable to the citizens. This is a basic contract between the government and the citizens. In the past the formal mechanisms to ensure accountability failed and this resulted in citizens and civic groups engaging in activities to ensure public accountability”. George further said that with the launch of ANSA SAR, the civic groups engaged in social accountability in the region is getting a formal platform to coordinated efforts to ensure transparency and accountability, which require hand holding.

Funded by a World Bank Institute (WBI) seed fund, ANSA, for fighting corruption, will keep pumping money which is nearly 1.5 million US dollars for the initial one-year period. It will not only work as a network, but also as a platform promoting the exchange of knowledge and capacity building for the organizations promoting social accountability tools and mainstreaming governance agenda in the South Asia Region and elsewhere.

Currently there are three regional ANSA hubs – Africa, East Asia Pacific, and South Asia, as well as the Global Partnership Fund component to promote ANSA in different regions. These networks have been set up against a compelling context of poor accountability and weak institutional capacities in many countries. The growing body of knowledge and examples of Social Accountability and Good Governance at work has also inspired these initiatives.

Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS International) along with 17 other organizations from countries as such as Argentina, Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Kyrgyz Republic, Philippines and Sri Lanka signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ANSA-SAR & Global for a persistent fight against corruption using social accountability tools.

Representing CUTS International, George Cheriyan (Director, CUTS) and Om Prakash Arya (Project Coordinator) attended the launch event held in Dhaka.