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August - September 2020

Health Worker Protest Project | New Publications 
New Media & Blogs | Events |  New ARC Team Members

Health Worker Protest Project Updates

New Publications
-- Citizen Participation in Latin America’s Supreme Audit Institutions: Progress or Impasse?
-- La participación ciudadana en las Entidades Fiscalizadoras Superirores en América Latina: ¿avance or impasse?
-- Philippines: Citizen Health Entitlements in COVID-19 Pandemic
-- Philippines: G-Watch Independent Validation of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) Report on Field Survey Findings

New Media & Blogs
-- India: Making COVID Social Protection Accountable to India’s Vulnerable Citizens (Suchi Pande)
-- Philippines: A big step towards building strong accountability in BARMM (Joy Aceron)
-- Rethinking MSIs: MSIs and the Search to Cure the Global Governance Gap (Judy Gearhart
)

Events 
-- Supreme Audit Institutions in Latin America
-- Seminario Internacional de Participación Ciudadana y Fiscalización
-- CGIAR Forest, Trees and Agroforestry conference


Welcoming New ARC Team Members
-- Judy Gearhart (Visiting Scholar)
-- Maria Ortega (Finance and Administration)
-- Abrehet Gebremedhin (PhD student)

Health Worker Protest Project Updates
This ARC incubated initiative to collect reports of health worker protests and proposals in response to COVID-19 launched in May. The goal is to spotlight diverse patterns of health worker accountability efforts that would not otherwise be visible. As of September 15, 2020, this multilingual initiative gathered almost 600 reports from 75 countries. All the reports are curated on the designated Twitter account @HealthWorkerPro. ARC is considering whether and how to turn this pilot into a joint research and action agenda with researchers and health worker organizations, and are in the formative stages of dialogue with Public Services International (with 30 million public sector employees and 152 countries) to assess possible next steps to incubate a shared agenda. Please send us reports on health workers or connect to discuss ideas about how to take the pilot forward. 
New Publications

Citizen Participation in Latin America's Supreme Audit Institutions: Progress or Impasse? 
A new August 2020 working paper by Marcos Mendiburu (@mmendi69) provides an overview of citizen participation in external auditing in Latin America over the last two decades. This comprehensive review finds the scope of citizen participation in oversight in the audit cycle often emphasizes mechanisms for citizen complaints, with limited citizen involvement in executing audits and following up on the findings and recommendations issued by Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs). The study finds that few SAIs use new information and communication technologies for participation and collaboration with citizens is limited—beyond the use of online complaint systems and social media for communicating SAI work. Following the maturity model on citizen participation proposed in the 2016 Punta Cana Declaration of the General Assembly of the Organization of Latin American and Caribbean Supreme Audit Institutions (OLACEFS), the practice of citizen complaints is associated with its most basic level of citizen participation. Furthermore, SAIs tend to promote consultative practices rather than collaborative practices, unlike other innovative spaces for participation, such as the Open Government Partnership. This study recommends that the OLACEFS’ Citizen Participation Commission promote an evaluation of the extent of citizen participation in each SAI according to its proposed levels of maturity, and that each SAI publicly reports on the effectiveness of the practices implemented (including the SAI’s responsiveness) as well as the impact of such citizen participation on external auditing. For more, see Citizen Participation in Latin America’s Supreme Audit Institutions: Progress or Impasse? (English version August 2020) La participación ciudadana en las Entidades Fiscalizadoras Superirores en América Latina: ¿avance or impasse? (versión en español febrero 2020)

Philippines: Citizen Health Entitlements in COVID-19 Pandemic
In this June 2, 2020 think piece by Joy Aceron and Victoria Maglanque of Government Watch (G-Watch) analyze the entitlements and resource allocations related to COVID-19 in the Philippines. They find that “In a health emergency, entitlements of citizens that ensure their health, safety and security are most crucial. Not only that it ascertains individual welfare and rights, it also avoids over-burdening the health system with patients that require intensive care. In reviewing the reports of the Executive to Congress under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, it is clear that despite the ongoing health crisis, health still does not get the biggest chunk of the budget for COVID-19 response.” Read the full analysis.

Philippines: G-Watch Independent Validation of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) Report on Field Survey Findings 
Given the many issues and challenges surrounding the government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP), including the observed ‘reversed accountability’ (Aceron 2020) in its existing validation process, Government Watch (G-Watch) has undertaken its own independent validation of the delivery of SAP assistance at the beneficiary level. G-Watch’s independent validation of the SAP was done through field interview of 470 SAP and non-SAP beneficiaries in 12 barangays in 4 localities all over the country using a survey tool. This report presents the findings of the G-Watch independent validation survey answering mainly whether the SAP was able to provide the right amount of assistance to the right beneficiaries at the right time following the right processes. The report also has related sections on grievance redress system and trust and performance. Read the full report from August 12, 2020.

New Media & Blogs

India: Making COVID Social Protection Accountable to India's Vulnerable Citizens 
This August 26, 2020 From Poverty to Power blog post Making COVID Social Protection Accountable to India’s Vulnerable Citizens by ARC’s Dr. Suchi Pande (@ihcus7) discusses two development policies that sound technical, but which are really important. Social protection is the set of services that help protect people against economic shocks or disasters, and from the ups-and-downs all people face in their life-cycle. Social audits are organized by citizens to audit, monitor, and help improve public services. In India, social audits have used government information on program implementation together with worker testimonies, physical verification of worksites, and citizen input during participatory deliberative forums to monitor India’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) implementation and to identify and redress problems. For more of Suchi’s work on social audits, see Citizen Oversight and India’s Right to Work Program: What Do the Social Auditors Say?

Philippines: A big step towards building strong accountability in BARMM
Decades since the Moro people began the struggle for their right to self-determination, a piece of legislation that institutionalized their peace agreement with the government of the Philippines, the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), has been ratified. The establishment of Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) is a huge victory for the Moro people and for all Filipinos. Realizing the dreams and aspirations of the peace agreement is expected to be a daunting task, especially in ensuring that the BARMM governance under BOL will deliver prosperity and justice. The September 2, 2020 opinion piece by Joy Aceron (@joyaceron_ph) and Isnihayah Binumbaran published in Rappler – A big step towards building strong accountability in BARMM builds on monitoring and analysis in Marawi by G-Watch, in partnership with Generation Peace Network (GenPeace), Grassroots Initiative to Uphold Accountability in Development (GIHAD). For more on this work, see Roundtable Discussion on the BARMM Monitor Mechanism.

Rethinking MSIs: MSIs and the Search to Cure the Global Governance Gap
ARC visiting scholar Judy Gearhart’s September 17, 2020 MSIntegrity blog Rethinking MSIs: MSIs and the Search to Cure the Global Governance Gap reflects on the limitations on Multi-stakeholder Initiatives (MSI) and highlights different models for advancing worker rights: MSIs’ failure to address the power imbalance between rights holders and Multi-national Corporations (MNCs) has fueled growing demands for Worker-driven Social Responsibility (WSR) or enforceable brand agreements (EBAs)—models that are in effect new forms of collective bargaining designed to negotiate a contractual agreement between global brands and workers in their supply chain. These agreements have demonstrated an almost immediate positive impact, improving factory safety in the case of the Accord for Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh or wages in the case of the Coalition for Immokalee Workers, and dramatically improved access to remedy and effective grievance handling for the workers covered by them. Although they include MNCs and workers’ organizations, these programs should not be confused with the MSIs discussed above. These are programs based on a binding agreement that was negotiated, much in the way collective bargaining agreements are negotiated. They are designed to address problems, secure benefits, and implement solutions identified by and developed with workers—a profoundly different approach from MSIs. Supply-chain MSIs work with MNCs to develop scalable, global supply-chain coverage—a design approach that makes meaningful participation by workers and other rights holders virtually impossible.

Events
Seminario Internacional de Participación Ciudadana y Fiscalización
La participación de la ciudadanía en tareas de fiscalización permite mejorar la amplitud y profundidad de las auditorías e incrementar la confianza pública en las instituciones. En los últimos años, entidades de fiscalización en la región latinoamericana y en el mundo han diseñado e implementado mecanismos innovadores para involucrar a la ciudadanía en su trabajo. Este Seminario Internacional presentará algunas de estas prácticas innovadoras y abrirá un espacio para el diálogo y el intercambio entre la ciudadanía y las entidades de fiscalización superior. Ver todas las transmisiones en el sitio web de la conferencia. Descargar análisis hecho por Marcos Mendiburu.
Conference: Citizen Participation in Supreme Audit Institutions in Latina America
ControlaTuGobierno, Auditoria Superior de la Federación (ASF), Fundar, Oxfam Mexico, and Red por la Rendición de Cuentas, and ARC co-sponsored an International Seminar on Citizen Participation and Oversight in Relation to Supreme Audit Institutions. The virtual event on September 2-4, 2020 drew  over 600 government and civil society participants from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru.  ARC co-commissioned the agenda-setting research report by Marcos Mendiburu (@mmendi69) now published in Spanish and English. For recordings of the sessions (all in Spanish) see the Transmisiones conference website.

CGIAR Forest, Trees and Agroforestry Conference
In September 2020, ARC director Jonathan Fox delivered a keynote presentation on Accountability Keywords during the session on participatory processes in landscape governance and management in the CGIAR Forest, Trees and Agroforestry 2020 conference. Through such convenings, ARC continues to contribute concepts and ideas as accountability generalists in dialogue with sectoral community of research/practice.
Welcoming New ARC Team Members
Judy Gearhart (Visiting Scholar) 
Judy Gearhart is a visiting scholar at ARC and an adjunct professor at Columbia University. Previously she served nine years as the executive director at the International Labor Rights Forum and twelve as the programs director at Social Accountability International. She has worked for UNICEF and the International Labour Organization in Honduras, women human rights defenders in Mexico and Honduras, and Convergencia de Organismos Civiles in Mexico, and the Washington Office on Latin America. Her areas of expertise include women’s rights, children’s rights, trade and labor policy, and business and human rights.  Judy has support from the Packard Foundation for one year of research focusing on how transnational and cross-sector organizing can better serve and strengthen the leadership of southern partners and build a countervailing force to rising authoritarianism and the global economic pressures undermining environmental and social safeguards.

Maria Ortega (Finance and Administration) 
Maria Ortega joined ARC Part Time Grants and Finance Coordinator in September. She has a BA in accounting and MSc in International Business. She has worked in the private sector and consulted with the Inter-American Development Bank and Peace Brigade International. Maria is originally from Venezuela.


Abrehet Gebremedhin (PhD student)    
Abrehet began the PhD program at American University’s School of International Service in August. Her interests are in international development, evaluation, and beneficiary feedback. Abrehet supports ARC’s work across publications, communications, and research.
Please share with colleagues who may be interested to sign up for future monthly updates on publications and highlights of our partner organizations’ work for social change and greater accountability. You can also follow ARC on @AcctResearchCtr, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Follow the health worker protest pilot on @HealthWorkerPro.
 
With Regards,
Jonathan Fox
Director, Accountability Research Center
Professor, American University School of International Service
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