Global Standard for CSO Accountability

An initiative of nine well-established CSO accountability networks from across the world

Vibrant civil society organisations (CSOs) are a fundamental building block of every well-functioning democracy and help drive sustainable development. Shrinking political space for CSOs, however, and diminishing unrestricted funding, increasingly threaten to undermine this very role. It is time to invest into a strong CSO infrastructure.

Accountability is at the heart of civil society organisations, underpinning their legitimacy and driving their effectiveness. Implemented in the right way it also helps creating a more enabling environment for CSOs to flourish as it generates public trust and reputation. Key gatekeepers of CSO accountability are self-regulating CSO networks operating across the globe. Bringing together their expertise, reputation and network skills will significantly accelerate their individual and collective impact to strengthen civil society globally.

The project in a nutshell
The Global Standard for CSO Accountability is an initiative of nine well-established civil society accountability networks from around the world. The overarching aim is to strengthen the effectiveness of CSOs worldwide by devising a collective Global Standard on CSO Accountability. The networks will over three years cooperate to learn from each other, gain a truly global view on CSO accountability, improve their codes and reduce transaction costs. The Global Standard will be built bottom up, carving out the significant existing overlap on core parameters for CSO accountability in all participating codes. It will be used as a key reference standard for the nine networks and serve as a global point of orientation for CSO accountability globally. The Global Standard will be written in a succinct language and serve as a collective base for CSOs from the North and South to engage from.

It is the ambition to mutually recognise the Global Standard reporting requirements between all participating networks. Their constituencies, representing nearly 1500 CSOs across the world, will be actively engaged in developing and testing the Global Standard parameters and sharing it with other CSO networks.

The INGO Accountability Charter has been the driving force in developing this project and is one of the nine Project Partners. The International Civil Society Centre is the Implementing Partner and responsible for the smooth and efficient implementation. We will work closely together with CIVICUS and other key stakeholders in the sector and will seek to align our work with essential accountability initiatives such as the Istanbul Principles and the Core Humanitarian Standard.

Between February-April 2016, the Charter has consulted with 13 Members on the Standard’s zero draft. The outcome from the Charter and other project partners’ consultations was used to devise a revised Standard draft in July’s meeting in Belgrade. In December in Uganda, the project partners will discuss on the latest draft and deliberate on guidance documents.

The project is funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) and has officially started in spring 2015.

Project Partners:

Implementing Partner:

International Civil Society Center

International Civil Society Center
First Global Standard meeting in August 2014, Berlin.
Photo by Christian Ihrybauer




“The key problems of our time are global – and so are the values and work approach of civil society. But most people don’t know and our sector doesn’t capitalise on what unites us globally. Currently civil society’s promise to the public is codified in more than 300 accountability frames, most written in very technical language and all covering similar issues in different wording and frameing. At the Charter we believe it is time to bring all of these together. Devising a Global Standard with a, unified and compelling narrative on civil society organisation’s commitment to the public will help improve our work, support public trust and allow people to better hold us account to our promises. ”

Karenina Schröder, Executive Director, INGO Accountability Charter

Webinar on the Global Standard
Photo by Christian Ihrybauer

Due to the great relevance of the Global Standard Project for the Charter in the coming years, we offered two webinars on this topic to our Members. Presenters from World Vision and Oxfam underlined the importance of the Global Standard for their organisations.

While presenters from the INGO Charter and Viwango reflected on lessens learnt and the difference between the various accountability codes.

Have a look at the first webinar outcome. Or watch the lessons from Viwango and the INGO Accountability Charter.

Lessons from the Global Standard