NGOs lead by example: World’s international NGOs endorse accountability charter

Published: 7 June 2006

ActionAid International / Amnesty International / CIVICUS World Alliance for Citizen Participation / Consumers International / Greenpeace International / Oxfam International / International Save the Children Alliance / Survival International / International Federation Terre des Hommes / Transparency International / World YWCA

(London) The heads of 11 of the world’s leading human rights, environmental and social development international organisations have today publicly endorsed the first global accountability charter for the non-profit sector.

International NGOs play an increasingly influential role. Global public opinion surveys show higher trust in NGOs than in government and business. In addition to an internal desire to be transparent and accountable, the Accountability Charter also seeks to demonstrate that NGOs deeply value public trust, do not take it for granted and are committed to sustaining and deepening that trust. This initiative comes at a time when 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.

ActionAid International, Amnesty International, CIVICUS World Alliance for Citizen Participation, Consumers International, Greenpeace International, Oxfam International, the International Save the Children Alliance, Survival International, International Federation Terre des Hommes, Transparency International and World YWCA today endorsed the first international, cross-sectoral code of conduct for NGOs.

In an unprecedented step, international civil society organizations have come together to demonstrate their commitment to transparency and accountability. This initiative builds on the individual, national and sectoral initiatives taken by international NGOs to set standards of accountability and codes of conduct. Although NGOs are subject to national regulations within the countries in which they operate, the International Non-Governmental Organizations Accountability Charter is the first such initiative to set out international, cross-sector standards for the non-profit sector.

The Accountability Charter sets out core values and operating principles for international NGOs. These include good governance and management; 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 programs, non-discrimination, transparency and ethical fundraising.

The Accountability Charter shows that international NGOs are, and are committed to remain, transparent and accountable, and merit the respect and support they have. All international NGOs – across different sectors – will be invited to sign-up to the Accountability 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.

Read a PDF of the INGO Accountability Charter (61KB)

Contact Information

For a full copy of the International Non-governmental Organizations Accountability Charter, and for further information, please contact:
Judit Arenas, Amnesty, +44 (0) 7778 472 188 (jarenas@amnesty.org) , or
Josefina Salomon, Amnesty, +44 (0) 7778 472 116 (jsalomon@amnesty.org)