Accountability of International Organizations (IO and EU) Through the Intervention of Civil Society Organizations (CSO)

Research question/goal: 

Theories of associational and deliberative democracy have presented convincing arguments that civil society participation will render governance beyond the nation state more democratic. Empirical research, however, has provided ample evidence that Civil Society Organizations’ (CSO) participation does not live up to expectations in its democratic added value. Apart from deficiencies in equal representation, effective participation in the sense of 'impact on output' is limited due to a lack of IO accountability. Hence, expanding on earlier research on the democratic potential of CSO involvement in EU governance, this project will turn to the role of CSO in fostering EU/IO accountability. It will explore the conditions which enable or constrain CSO to ask international decision-makers to explain and justify their conduct, to pass judgement and make them face consequences.

Current stage: 

The project proposal was revised and resubmitted. As part of the preparatory phase, a first exploratory study on the organizational preconditions for Civil Society Organizations to hold International Organizations to account was conducted, covering UN Institutions as well as EU Directorates General. The information gathered for the 45 institutions covered the provision of information on activities, evaluations, and the involvement of Civil Society Organizations in consultations and as observers. The results of the exploratory study were presented at the Transatlantic Conference on Transparency Research, at the University of Utrecht.

Fact sheet

DFG application rejected
2011 to 2013
Data Sources: 
document analysis, interviews
Geographic Space: 
EU, global