PTF Urges Increased ADB Support for Citizen-led Programs to Improve Governance

Dr. Vinay Bhargava discusses citizen engagement in good governance on
the Asian Development Bank’s “Knowledge Asia” series.

Citizens in countries around the world view corruption as the world’s most important problem according to WIN/Gallup International’s 2013 Annual Poll. Despite the large amounts of money spent every year by governments to improve the situation, the majority of citizens believe corruption is getting worse. Most also agree that governments themselves are part of the problem and are therefore relatively ineffective in fighting it. So, what else can be done to increase government transparency, accountability and responsiveness?

In a presentation to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on July 10, 2014, Vinay Bhargava called for increased support for citizen-led programs. Based on real word experiences from projects supported by PTF, Dr. Bhargava illustrated the incredible accomplishments of citizens who successfully fought corruption and used them to discuss the broader question of what can be done when government systems and political will to fight it are weak and/or ineffective. He specifically drew from examples of PTF supported projects where everyday citizens successfully demanded basic health benefits in India, monitored medicine supply in the Philippines, and protected forest resources in Nepal.

Dr. Bhargava also discussed related issues, such as the theories of change underlying social accountability, evidence that social accountability can improve results and development effectiveness and how social accountability approaches can be integrated in country partnership strategies and lending operations of multilateral banks such as the ADB.