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Report • Working Seminar - FGF

Report • Working Seminar - FGF

Citizens'

Citizens' Accountability: A Dangerous Burdensome Process Or A New Window for Improved Impact?Concluding remarksAt the end of the workshop, Erik Rydberg (Research Group for an Alternative EconomicStrategy, GRESEA) took a ‘helicopter view’ to single out some of the key lessons andperspectives of the day. No easy task, given the manifold richness of the debates andthe numerous vistas thereby opened: this will be each and everyone's task throughfurther networking.One way to sum up this workshop is, in plain English, that we'd all like an easy way out –give us solutions, please! It's only natural. We all feel the pressure to move forward andact. But the accountability issue goes much further than that, it raises fundamentalquestions that needs to be addressed – a necessary process to which this seminar offereda modest contribution.So, to conclude on the fundamentals – and this entails at the outset to take nothing forgranted – we would be well advised to start with a complete re-think. Here's thepicture…AccountabilityResponsibilityRepresentation/ independenceLegitimacyDemocracyWhat story does it tell?Clearly this: that we usually start (top down!) with the matters that ought to be end resultof the thought process.Indeed, we start with “technicalities" (what kind of accountability? responsibility towhom? and so on and so forth), enlarging the concept range to broach matters dealingwith legitimacy and representation.Strenuously so, because this enlargement is in fact restrictively obstructed andpredetermined by the technical framework chosen at the outset – in order, finally, tocome across the one big issue from which (bottom up!) we should have started in the firstplace! The democracy issue: what is it to us? how do we define it? how will we make itwork? When we'll find an answer to this enquiry (no easy process…), the rest will follow suit.Report Working Seminar 17 December 2008 6 / 7

Citizens' Accountability: A Dangerous Burdensome Process Or A New Window for Improved Impact?Additional resources & informationA very short list of additional resources and information introduced during the workingseminar.Slideshow presented at the working seminarTaking a helicopter view on the responsibility of citizen associationsand some ongoing initiatives: fundamental questions and furtherelements to make one’s own mind when addressing the debate onthe accountability and responsibility of citizen associations.Available onhttp://www.foundationfuturegenerations.org/index2.php?section=news&ID=84Publication « The accountability of citizen associations.A contribution to the international debate on civil societyresponsibilities ».A European survey layed the foundations for this critical publication onthe responsibility, ethics and governance of civil society associations. Ithas involved dozens of representatives from civil society organisationsand platforms of NGOs across Europe and at European level, throughworkshops and interviews. The survey has been carried out since 2003by the Foundation for Future Generations in partnership with theBernheim Foundation, the Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation, theCEDAC and the GRESEA.This publication takes a helicopter view and clearly settles down thechallenges of citizens associations accountability and governance.Available in English and French onhttp://www.foundationfuturegenerations.org/index2.php?section=publication&ID=28Good third sector governance across EuropeAn initiative of the Euclid Network, that is to be followed in 2009. More information onhttp://www.euclidnetwork.eu/events.php?id=64CSO effectivenessAn ongoing process led by Concord. More information on www.cso-effectiveness.orgReport Working Seminar 17 December 2008 7 / 7

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