The New Nation, March 11, 2010

Dhaka: Proper budgetary allocation, monitoring and raising peoples’ voice could ensure accountability and transparency in public and private organizations while decentralisaion is an effective way to curb corruption.

Participants at a programme in the city said that citizens could hold public institutions accountable to deliver public services, improve people’s welfare and protect their rights and privileges through ensuring social accountability. They stressed on the importance of increased contacts between people and the government.

Their observation came at the launching of the ‘Affiliated Network for Social Accountability – South Asia Region and Global Partnership Fund (ANSA-SAR and Global) at the Journalism Training and Research Initiative office in the capital.

The first ever network in South Asia has brought together organisations of neighbouring countries to work under a common theme of social accountability and to promote governance activities in the South Asia Region and elsewhere. Funded by the World Bank Institute, 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.

Thirty-five participants from Argentina, Egypt, India, Kyrgyz Republic, Philippines, Sri Lanka and host Bangladesh were also present on the occasion.

Dr. Gopakumar Thampi, Chief Operating Officer of ANSA-SAR and Global said Procurement Act and Right to Information could ensure social accountability in Bangladesh. Capacity building, stimulation of citizens’ actions, formation of platforms of expertises and sharing of knowledge could help ensure accountability and strengthen the capacity of public and private organisations.

George Cheriyan from Centre for Consumer Action, Research and Training (CUTS) of India said that the citizens have a right to demand accountability and this is a basic contract between the public and the government.

Professor Dr. Md. Golam Samdani Fakir, acting Vice Chancellor of BRAC University and Barrister Manzoor Hasan, Director of the Institute of Governance Studies, BRAC University, among others, were present.

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