Need for demand side accountability mechanisms in the country urged

Karachi: Amidst the ongoing governance crisis in the country and failure of supply side accountability to cope with this crisis, there is an immediate need for demand side accountability mechanisms to promote good governance in the country, said Gulbaz Ali Khan, Sr. Research Associate, Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in a meeting held at Hisaar Foundation, Karachi on Wednesday.

He was speaking at the formal launch of Sindh Chapter of ‘Pakistan Social Accountability Network (PSAN),’ a SDPI initiative and network of organizations promoting social accountability at all tiers of the government. The event was attended by the representatives of organizations implementing social accountability and likeminded civil society organizations such as Shehri-CBE, IUCN, WWF, LCDP, WDF Badin, PWPC and organizations from Karachi and all across Sindh.

Gulbaz Ali Khan briefed the participants about proposed network and concept of social accountability, its approach, tools and implementation for effective citizen engagement towards enhancement of public service delivery. Social accountability, he said, revolves around civic engagement, where common citizens and social organizations could directly participate in demanding accountability of the respective authorities. He mentioned some tools and mechanisms employed to ensure social accountability including Citizen Report Cards, Participatory Budgeting, Community Score Cards, Citizen Charts, Public Expenditure Tracking, Social Audits and People’s Right to Information Act.

He said that Social Accountability initiative is meant to achieve the broader goals of reducing poverty, increasing the effectiveness of development works and to empower the marginalized sections of society. However, the efficacy of the concept towards achieving the desired goals can only be enhanced if additional measures are taken to link up the supply and demand side of services, capacity of staff upgraded and an effective Monitoring and Evaluation system is put in practice, he added.

Ms. Farzana Saleem, Chief Operating Officer, Hisaar Foundation informed the participants of her organization’s work in employing Social Accountability tools in Saddar Town of Karachi. Mr. Khatib Ahmad, from Shehri-CBE also described his experience of implementing Social Accountability tools in urban areas of Karachi.

Participants unanimously agreed to formally launch the Sindh chapter of PSAN Network with an active collaboration of civil society organizations, NGOs and community based organizations. Hisaar Foundation was selected by the core committee of the PSAN– Sindh chapter to host the network secretariat till 2014. They also decided to mark the propagation of Social Accountability concept, its approaches, tools and implementation as objectives for the first year of the Network. They outlined measures such as capacity building initiatives along with networking and alliances building to achieve the broader objectives and to reach out to existing and as well as prospective members in remote areas of Sindh.

For more information, contact:
Faisal Nadeem Gorchani
Coordinator, Policy Advocacy and Outreach
Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI)
38 Embassy Road, G-6/3 Islamabad, Pakistan
Postal Code: 44000
Tel: +92-51-2278134, (Ext: 113)
Fax: +92-51-2278135
Cell: 00-92-333-559 2210

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