TAI Weekly

TAI Weekly|Digital Tightrope: Human Rights in Tech's Crosshairs

By TAI (Role at TAI)
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WHAT'S NEW?

What are corruption and integrity risks in the renewable energy sector? A new paper from the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative offers provisional answers (TAI was glad to provide input). EITI, together with a group of companies, think tanks and civil society organisations issued a call to action at COP for advancing transparency and accountability in the renewable energy sector. Joanne Jones and our own Michael Jarvis explain why this matters.


Also, in time for COP, the Natural Resource Governance Institute releases a review of national oil company policies and how they may be diverging from public interest - both financially and in terms of transition goals.


Civicus outlines some of the ways civil society is mobilizing to demand climate action. The report also highlights the forms of repression in response to actions antagonizing powerful economic and political interests. 


Amid OECD estimates that donors finally met their $100 billion climate finance commitment, Jonathan Beynon reviews estimates of climate finance based on three different approaches: financing needs, liability, and justice, and argues all are underserved. ONE also expose the distortions in many funder claims of providing climate finance - a challenge to donor accountability.


The UK spends in Europe more than anywhere else subsidizing the cost of structural inequality in favor of the rich, according to an analysis by the Equality Trust.


Leading anti-corruption groups have a joint statement addressed to the UN Convention Against Corruptino Conference of State Parties. The statement urges State Parties to commit to bolstering transparency in political finance.


Many nonprofit leaders perceive lobbying, as it is currently practiced and understood, as corrupt conduct that may result in undue influence to the detriment of fair, impartial, and effective policymaking. But, according to Alberto Alemanno’s new publication, lobbying—a right that democracies guarantee—can be an antidote to such secret dealing. 


In Guerrero, Mexico a government fertilizer program was improved by a collaborative social accountability campaign led by a network of agrarian community leaders. 

ESSENTIAL WATCHING!

We invite you to learn about the work of Fiquem Sabendo in Brazil, dedicated to bridging the gap between citizens and the government in Brazil, fostering a culture of transparency and informed public policy, and strengthening participatory democracy. You can read their recent publications (in Portuguese) here.

FROM OUR MEMBERS 

OPEN SOCIETY FOUNDATIONS:

Announces a new $25 million fund to support women’s political leadership. The fund will be headed by Suyen Barahona, who recently spent 606 days in Nicaraguan jail for her political involvement and human rights activism.


HEWLETT FOUNDATION:

Jennifer Harris will rejoin the foundation as director of its Economy and Society Initiative, overseeing an expanded annual grantmaking budget of $20 million that seeks to foster a “new common sense” about how the economy works and the aims it should serve.


OPEN SOCIETY FOUNDATIONS:

President Mark Malloch Brown outlines a crisis of legitimacy facing both the philanthropy sector and multilateral institutions.

TOOLS & TRENDS FOR FUNDERS

Participatory grantmaking is key to shifting the power, says Deborah Doane. The conclusion of a prototype trial on participatory grant-making undertaken through the RINGO Project is that it is time that funders cede power and control over decision-making, empowering the constituents they aim to serve.


Philea unveiled the 2024 edition of the European Philanthropy Manifesto, which includes four key recommendations to establish a Single Market for Philanthropy: EMPOWER philanthropy; FACILITATE cross-border philanthropy; ENGAGE with philanthropy; PARTNER with philanthropy for public good.


The positive effects of MacKenzie Scott’s massive, unrestricted gifts are increasingly apparent and, to date, the experiences of recipient organizations belie widespread concerns about negative unintended consequences from her approach. 


Vu Le, who recently addressed one of TAI's members, the MacArthur Foundation during the past week, compellingly presents the case for the pivotal role of intermediary organizations within the philanthropic and civic sector.

TOOLS FOR FUNDERS DATABASE

ESSENTIAL LISTENING!

VOICE, an intermediary funder supported by TAI member Hewlett, presents its final evaluation report and this podcast sharing learnings about intersectional approaches, including integrating transparency, participation and accountability, and funding locally-led initiatives in a proximate leadership approach.

FOCUSED TOPIC OF THE WEEK

Navigating the Nexus: Tech Giants, Human Rights, and Information Resilience

There is a fraught relationship between large tech companies, human rights, and transparency. That is one of the themes of a new compilation from Carnegie’s Digital Democracy Network on how digital technology impacts governance, politics, and society.

 Courtney Radsch, who developed TAI’s overview of what makes for a healthy information ecosystem, reflects on the recent OpenAI drama and concludes that we need to take on big tech monopoly power or “we will lose a critical opportunity to restructure the AI ecosystem by breaking up malignant concentrations of power that inhibit innovation in the public interest, distort our information systems, and threaten our national security.” Katharina Pistor would likely agree - she writes about why OpenAI’s efforts to preserve its founding non-profit mission never stood any chance

 Last September 20, Courtney and TAI Executive Director Michael Jarvishared their insights in The Chronicle of Philanthropy. They emphasized that philanthropy and global leaders must recognize how misinformation and disinformation undermine the efforts they support and invest in building healthy information ecosystems. They urge a holistic approach encouraging donors to coordinate their efforts, advocate for policy change, and invest in research.

HAVE YOU SEEN OUR PREVIOUS WEEKLIES?

ESSENTIAL READING!

In this briefing paper, Oxfam argues that austerity measures are a form of gender-based violence. Its core argument is that ending austerity must be a priority. The paper shares feminist economic alternatives -- including taxation, participation, and transparency.

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We’d love to hear from you on how we can further improve TAI Weekly to better serve your needs in program management on the transparency, accountability, improved grantmaking and civic space. Please direct your feedback to  contact@transparency-initiative.org or

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