TAI Weekly

TAI Weekly|Effective Participatory Governance as the Key

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

In case you missed it, the priorities revealed in the UK's 6th open government plan are anti-corruption, aid transparency, and public procurement.


Simon Johnson and Daron Acemoglu argue that opaque offshore money corrupts democracy and strengthens authoritarian regimes by facilitating support for candidates and manipulating public opinion (with mention of AI tools for tax evasion detection.) 


Brian Levy poses the question of whether a "socially embedded bureaucracy" could address disillusionment with the public sector. He defines such a bureaucracy as having "problem-focused relationships of cooperation between staff within public bureaucracies and stakeholders outside of government.”


In a recent ICFJ Disarming Disinformation masterclass, investigative journalist Garance Burke provided insights on effectively reporting on AI's role in elections.


Lucina Di Meco, co-founder of #ShePersisted, addresses gender-based online disinformation and suggests actionable measures on digital gender justice.


The latest impact report from Accountability Counsel provides intriguing insights on ways to compel institutions to ensure accountability for communities.


Sarah Katz-Lavigne suggests that large-scale mining companies exploit the demand for Congolese cobalt by portraying artisanal and small-scale mining as problematic. They aim to present themselves as "cleaner" than locally legitimate artisanal mining.


Among the numerous year-end reflections, Sarah Lister's, head of UNDP Governance, stood out as a reminder of intriguing problems and program responses. The agency's 1300 governance practitioners give it a footprint beyond any other donor on these issues.

ESSENTIAL READING!

How much should donors challenge democratic governance failings? Catherine Davison looks at the situation in Bangladesh, where democratic decline (including the problematic elections last week) raises awkward questions These days there is little appetite for aid conditionalities, but as Nic Cheeseman reminds us, “Aid typically is going to be most effective in countries with accountable governments. Thinking about the political conditions that are necessary for aid to be effective is really important.”

FROM OUR MEMBERS 

OPEN SOCIETY FOUNDATIONS: Read OSF President Mark Malloch Brown's declarations on the year of elections ahead and what’s at stake.


FORD FOUNDATION: Asserts that diversity is intricately connected to excellence - Diane Samuels, Chief People Officer, discusses the foundation's dedication to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion across all organizational levels.


LUMINATE: During 2021 and the early months of 2022, Luminate granted coaching stipends to 78 partner organizations, supporting over 200 leaders in receiving executive coaching. Explore the insights gleaned from the feedback provided by recipients.


USAID: USAID's localization agenda isn't just about funding — it's also about making sure more projects are locally led. Localization senior advisor Sarah Rose speaks to Devex about what that looks like in practice.

TOOLS AND TRENDS FOR FUNDERS

PILnet, together with Eversheds Sutherland and other partners, presents a Global Employment Compass that aims to strengthen the resilience and autonomy of non-profit organizations by providing an easily accessible and user-friendly guide on employment laws in numerous jurisdictions. It also offers free-of-charge pro bono legal service for nonprofits.


Digital Freedom Fund undergoes a leadership transition, shifting to a new collective leadership model. 


Austrian heiress Marlene Engelhorn wants 50 Austrians (a committee selected from all age groups, federal states, social classes and backgrounds) to determine how €25m of her inheritance should be redistributed. 


Civil society institutions have an important role to play in reversing our collective trust deficit and Spitfire Strategies experts lay out steps NGOs can take to win stakeholder trust.

ESSENTIAL READING

Community health workers in Chhattisgarh, India, extend their rights-based efforts beyond healthcare. Shriyuta Abhishek and Samir Garg explore the significance of a collective identity for advocates of rights, shedding light on the motivations behind their multi-issue activism. 

FOCUSED TOPIC OF THE WEEK

Democracy in the Spotlight

As we enter 2024, over 60 elections globally mark a decisive year for democracy. The Washington Post underscores the significance of these elections, portraying them as a period where the fate of global democracy hangs in the balance. 

Certainly, there are concerns in the Americas, where the director of Human Rights Watch for the region warns about the decline of democracy and the rise of authoritarianism. One trend for Latin America is the introduction of more direct democracy measures by populist leaders - a trend confirmed by Yanina Welp and Saskia Ruth-Lovell, although they find that the willingness to turn to referendums and the like is conditioned by levels of presidential approval. 

Turning to Europe, the implementation of "citizens' panels and citizens' assemblies" is recommended as integral to the European Union Commission's proposed "Defense of Democracy" package. They are proposed to enhance citizen participation and strengthen democratic foundations, but what of more radical approaches? Samuel McIlhagge delves into Anne Norton's Wild Democracy exploring the relationship between the people's will and the state. Emphasizing the importance of "outside" space for anarchy in democratic flourishing, the discussion shifts towards individuals and collectives actively "ruling the law" rather than merely obeying it. 

ESSENTIAL READING!

In Feminist Political Economy: A Global Perspective, Sara Stevano, Sara Cantillon and Odile Macket provide compelling insights into the relations between the economic, the social and the political in the reproduction of inequality.

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