Why accountability matters for democracy

By Lean Alfred Santos 16 October 2015

Development leaders tell Devex associate editor Richard Jones why accountability matters for democracy.

What is accountability and why is it such a vital component for a successful democracy?

Thought leaders and global development luminaries shared their thoughts with Devex in this special #DemocracyMatters interview series at International IDEA’s headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden.

Yves Leterme, the intergovernmental organization’s secretary-general, shared that accountability is a “major part of how we conceive democracy,” providing a good balance between executive power and citizen control.

Didier Burkhalter, head of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, explained that accountability provides a link between citizens and the state that it is “built on truth and trust.”

According to Keboitse Machange, director for global programs at International IDEA, accountability means “recognizing that there are people who have authorized you to be in a position of accountability.” Only then, she said, will leaders know to “go back [and] inform them of what you have done and to hold you accountable.”

For Pippa Norris, an academic and director of the Electoral Integrity Project, accountability is “giving reason to a problem and identifying a solution as well.”

Watch the above clip to learn more about the importance of accountability for a well-functioning democracy and have your say below on what the term means to your work in practice.

Democracy Matters is a global conversation hosted by Devex, in partnership with International IDEA, to discuss accountability as a central element of deepening democracy. Visit the campaign site and join the conversation using #DemocracyMatters.

About the author

Lean 2
Lean Alfred Santos@DevexLeanAS

Lean Alfred Santos is a Devex development reporter focusing on the development community in Asia-Pacific, including major players such as the Asian Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Prior to joining Devex, he covered Philippine and international business and economic news, sports and politics. Lean is based in Manila.


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