U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from a U4 Partner Agency. The U4 Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International in collaboration with the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre based at the Chr. Michelsen Institute.

Query

What is international practice with regard to asset/wealth declarations of non-public officials, such as members of non-governmental organisations? What does scholarly discussion say about the inclusion of members of non-governmental organisations in asset/wealth declaration systems?

Content

  1. The importance of civil society in a democratic state
  2. The pushback against civil society
  3. IAD systems in the public sector
  4. Are IAD systems suitable for the non-profit sector?
  5. Increasing transparency of civil society
  6. References
  7. Appendix: summary of contents of adopted laws restricting foreign funding for CSOs (1993-2012)

Summary

This Expert Answer covers the use of income and asset declaration (IAD) regimes for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and discusses whether this system is suitable for the sector. The first section gives a brief overview of the role of civil society in a democratic state. The second part covers the ways in which the space for civil society around the world has been threatened over the past two decades, including, for example, the restriction of foreign funding for civil society organisations (CSOs). This is then followed by a discussion on whether IAD systems, – originally designed for the public sector – are an appropriate tool to increase transparency and accountability among CSOs, based on the principles of democracy and the existing accountability relationships of civil society and different actors. The final section of this Answer provides an overview of different mechanisms to increase the levels of transparency in NGOs.

Caveats

Since the practice of subjecting members of civil society to the same type of asset declarations public officials are often required to file is not common, this Expert Answer focuses on the potential damages and risks of such an approach.

Authors

Roberto Martinez B. Kukutschka, tihelpdesk@transparency.org

Date

26/10/2017

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