27, March, 2014

ELLA Learning Alliance on Citizen Oversight – Module 2: Innovative Measures to Promote Citizen Oversight

Module 2 discussed examples of innovative measures for promoting citizen oversight in Latin America, and participants reflected on how elements of these practices could be replicated in their own countries.

This document summarises the outcome of an online learning programme aimed at sharing Latin American lessons and good practices in promoting citizen oversight of public institutions. During seven weeks, Learning Alliance participants from Africa, Asia and Latin America shared experiences, debated and reflected on how citizen oversight of public institutions and processes can improve social accountability and social justice.

Based on this exchange, participants agreed that public information has to be accessible, transparent and accurate, and that transparency and the right to information constitute important prerequisites to this. Specific themes covered in this module included transparency in public procurement and disclosure by public officials of theirpersonal assets, Citizen Budgets and the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in elections.

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Key Conclusions:

  • Successful experiences of citizen oversight are backed by strong legal frameworks that guarantee the right to information, transparency and freedom of expression.
  • Drafting laws and creating independent agencies to oversee implementation are two measures that can help ensure that civil servants and politicians disclose their personal assets.
  • The active participation of civil society in monitoring public institutions and processes is key for building public awareness about the importance of tackling corruption and strengthening social accountability mechanisms.
  • Citizen Budgets are innovative oversight mechanisms that make budget information more transparent and accessible.
  • Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) can be used to publish relevant and timely information on a regular basis, thereby creating the opportunity for citizens to take a more active role in oversight.

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