The OGF took place on 3-5 October 2011, and was organised by the UNDP’s Democratic Governance Group in collaboration with United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF), ActionAid, ACT Alliance, World Bank Institute and PRIA Global Partnership. The Forum focused on participatory governance assessments and social accountability as means for strengthening democratic governance at the national and international level.
This paper examines the principal influences on assessment approaches' tools and methods. The most dynamic period in their development has been since the early 2000's, which have witnessed a simultaneous surge in the production of donor-driven, government-driven, and citizen-driven assessments. There are shared and divergent reasons for the propagation of assessments among these actors, but for many, assessments represent an important instrument for enhancing accountability and transparency, maximizing the effectiveness of development programmes, and providing an empirical basis for policy reform.
Moreover, the paper charts the contributions to the thinking and practice on the content of governance assessments (what to measure, and which tools to use) to the more recent concern with the process of assessment, which has been influenced by social accountability thinking, the rights based approach, and international commitments to national ownership of development. Evolving normative and operational imperatives, as well as innovations in methods and tools since the mid 1990s, have had a considerable impact on how governance assessments are designed and implemented to the extent that there have been three distinct waves of assessment.