Policy Document

Partnership for Transparency, 'Expanding Civil Society Contributions to the Governance Agendas of Sustainable Development Goals and International Financial Institutions ', Report

Vinay Bhargava • 6 August 2019

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"The government, civil society and business leaders from around the world met this month at the UN and will meet again at head of state level in September to review progress in implementing several SDGs including SDG16 that embodies targets for reducing corruption and increasing government transparency, accountability and participation. The monitoring reports for SDG16 make it clear that progress in the 4 years of implementation is unsatisfactory. Leaders have called for actions to accelerate progress in SDG16 as well as overall Agenda 2030. As a recent report by Transparency International has pointed out “SDG16 is the key to the 2030 Agenda”. 

One promising avenue for accelerating progress in SDG16 is to expand CSO led programs to complement government led initiatives to enhance good governance and reduce corruption. The PTF report examines the issues related to such an expansion and makes recommendations for consideration by development partners such as your organization. The 7 key messages of the report are: 

1. The adoption of SDG16's governance targets in the Agenda 2030 marked a breakthrough.

2. Four years into implementation, progress is lagging and the governance related targets in SDG16 are unlikely to be achieved according to the Background Note on SDG16prepared for the 2019 UN HLPF review of SDG Implementation. 

3. CSO play influencer, implementer and monitor roles in and have significant multi-country and national programs for enhancing governance in line with SDG 16 targets.


4. Research and evaluation evidence supports the view that an expansion of context-sensitive CSOs programs would accelerate progress on SDG16 governance targets. (This approach is described in a 4-minute video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teot2V_Qym0)

5. Expansion of CSO programs would require actions to alleviate constraints by frontline CSO and their supporters e.g. international CSOs and financial institutions (IFIs), philanthropy, and other donors. 

6. IFIs are uniquely positioned to help CSOs expand the work on SDG16 as they: (i) have pledged to support SDGs; (ii) have adopted targets of their own for more transparent, accountable, participatory government; (iii) have commendable policies to engage citizens and civil society in the billions of dollars of funding for projects they fund; and (iv) can influence government policies and programs through policy dialogue and demonstration effects. 

7. The actual support of IFIs for CSO engagement is far below potential due to a variety of internal and external reasons.


Report outlines detailed recommendations for consideration by IFIs, international CSOs and philanthropists, donors and government.