Accountability Charter for International Non-Governmental Organisations
International Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) play an increasingly influential role in shaping global policies. Global public opinion surveys show higher trust in NGOs than in government and business. At the same time the non-profit sector is coming under closer scrutiny, both from those who want it to flourish and those who seek to curtail NGO activities.
A group of international NGOs, including Greenpeace International, have come together to demonstrate that they deeply value public trust, do not take it for granted and are committed to sustaining and deepening it by ensuring transparency, and accountability for their operations. In June 2006 the NGO's publicly launched and endorsed the first global Accountability Charter for the non-profit sector.
The Accountability Charter sets out core values and operating principles for international NGOs. The Charter covers the areas of good governance and management; and fundraising and multi-stakeholder engagement. It also makes specific reference to respect for universal principles (such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights), independence, responsible advocacy, effective programmes, non-discrimination, transparency and ethical fundraising.
This initiative builds on individual, national and sectoral initiatives taken to set standards of NGO accountability and codes of conduct. All NGOs are subject to national regulations within the countries in which they operate. The International Non-Governmental Organisations Accountability Charter is the first such initiative to set out international, cross-sector standards for the non-profit sector.
All international NGOs - across different sectors - are invited to sign-up to the Accountability Charter. The organisations that, at present, actively endorse the Charter:
The Accountability Charter is only the first step. Next steps will involve putting in place a robust system for reporting and review of the Charter so that it can be improved and updated in light of experience.