For example, War on Want faced problems tit its Board in the sass and the environmental MONGO Greenback faced criticism in 1995 concerning its analysis of the Brent Spar oil installation, that was accused of being based on a shaky scientific footing. Within this public debate, Nags have seen their accountability being comprehensively questioned. Since the mid sass a dichotomy of opinion has appeared: the ‘MONGO bashers’ versus the ‘MONGO supporters’ (De Join requires 2001).
Neither extreme is right: Nags should not dismiss their critics, just as they should not be dismissed as key players in civil society. As Edwards (2000) so appropriately puts it: ‘Nags are rarely angelic in their behavior, but generally speaking they are on the side of the angels and the world is a better place for them. ‘ However, if the world is a better place for Nags we, in that sector, must prove it and an MONGO code of conduct is one way of doing so.
Ironically, Nags are constantly pushing for more accountability from governments and business, whilst their own legitimacy remains questionable. Many recognize this irony and are working to change it, but there is still some way to go in a cohesive course of action to convince everyone. It can be argued that Nags are accountable in many ways, to local and national governments and to their donors via legal-financial structures. Nevertheless, accountability to so-called ‘beneficiaries’ is debatable and there is no coherent reference point for overall MONGO accountability.
Furthermore, whilst businesses are increasingly recognizing the importance of codes of conduct and enforcing standards, Nags are lagging behind, especially in the North. And if Nags are going to stand up and represent their stakeholders, they must also be answerable to them. So the question is: Nags -? especially Northern based Nags -? must be more accountable, but owe? The answer could lie in MONGO codes of conduct, be it at a national level, within a sector or umbrella group.
Many such codes have already been written but most lack enforceability. This paper explores the current State Of MONGO codes of conduct and the debate that surrounds them. The unintentionally nature of Nags has worked against their acquiescing to external monitoring and it will be interesting to see what direction this discussion takes in the next few years. A Typology of Current MONGO Codes of Conduct Various typologies of codes of conduct have been written (see Nelson (1999) ND Commonwealth Foundation (1995)).
Broadly speaking, codes of conduct fall into the following categories (with examples of each): National Codes: e. G. The Philippines, SANTIAGO (South African National MONGO Coalition), CAFE (Australian Council for Overseas Aid) Regional Codes: the European Union’s MONGO Charter Sector Codes: the Sphere Project Umbrella Organization Codes: the Commonwealth Foundation, InterAction, People in Aid Financial Codes: Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability Internal Codes: Transparency International, Institute of Charity Fundraising
Managers Ethical Codes: Amnesty International While these documents are variously entitled ‘codes of practice’, ‘ethical guidelines’, or ‘MONGO charters’, their common characteristics enable them to be gathered together under the term ‘codes of conduct’. Some of those listed above fit into more than one typology, for example the Sphere Project is sector as well as being an umbrella code. There are also overlaps between them in terms of standards, procedures and financial accounting. All the codes work towards a similar aim: ensuring the legitimacy of Nags via accountable guidelines.
There is less consensus on the kinds of organization the codes should apply to, although the national codes which cover any MONGO operating within national boundaries tend to be clearer on this issue. The Case for Codes of Conduct Brian Pratt (2001 ) discusses Nags in terms Of the ‘self-interested organization’ and ‘diverse constituencies’. If the MONGO is a self-interested organization, in order to prevent it simply becoming a self-perpetuating entity and for it to be a legitimate representative of its diverse constituencies, the case for some form of regulation – whether self- or external regulation – is even stronger.
As Pratt argues, annual reports may give us financial information, but they do not show how an MONGO has performed according to a specific benchmark: ‘The MONGO sector is ripe for serious debate about its future development and the introduction of professional, ethically based, (self) regulation. ‘ A coherent, comprehensive code would provide such regulation, which could in turn be presented to the public in annual reports. It would function as a set of minimum standards for the operation of Nags. In a similar vein, Fowler (2000) argues more generally:
The aid system has not demonstrated an ability to reform its fundamental principles and structures. Should it continue this way, [Nags’] credibility… Will be further compromised. ‘ Fowler illustrates the divergence between expectations of Nags and their actual achievements. Bennett (1997), moreover, argues that the broadening scope of Nags’ activities has given rise to confusion as to the nature of their role. Both of these problems could be mitigated and clarified with the introduction of a well-designed and enforced code of conduct.
At a more immediate level, independent consultants working with Nags are not bound y any codes, although some guidelines are given by particular Nags. As so much work is done through Northern Nags by such freelancers, it could be argued that a code of conduct could stipulate their modus operandi and tie up this particularly ‘independent’ method of working. Another potential advantage of a code is the clarification of purpose it could offer Nags. All Nags have mission statements, but to what extent are they observed in practice?
A code of conduct to which Nags are subject would offer a clear point of reference for organizations as they negotiate a morass of operational halogens. It would also give Nags and their operations greater legitimacy. If an No’s workers are clear about the code they will operate with it in mind, thus improving the performance of the organization and giving it a better sense of having a collective aim. An important point to note here is that this does not necessarily constrain an MONGO; the code could in fact provide a framework for the No’s work.
Acceptance by Nags of the need to subscribe to a set of external standards could also go towards allaying the concerns of governments suspicious of Nags’ political agendas. Bennett (1997), in discussing governments-MONGO relations, states: ‘Many governments have voiced concerns over the breadth of MONGO activities that threaten to undermine and divert funds away from traditional mechanisms. At the same time – partly in response to this perceived threat models of good policy and practice have emerged which provide useful indicators and standards of behavior. Bennett continues by arguing that the relationship between Nags and governments has deepened and is constantly evolving. As tighter regulations are introduced to control Nags in response to their expansion, Nags have come jealous of their independence, while grad Lully realizing that they are neither as professional nor as accountable as they should be. If a realistic and enforceable MONGO code can be drawn up, governments’ fears that Nags might exercise a negative influence over local populations or divert resources can to some degree be addressed.
Nags and governments have to act as partners in development; it is in both sides’ interests to operate together and not against one another. Nags rightly resist excessive control and manipulation by government, as the Cuban case illustrates. However, this cannot be used as carte balance for poor standards. An increasingly prominent source of support for codes of conduct is certain major donor agencies. This trend is manifested in donors’ adoption of codes as conditions for funding.
For example, the Disasters Emergency Committee in the UK now requires organizations applying for funding to be signatories to the Red Cross-MONGO Code. In some cases donors have played a very active role in pushing the adoption of certain codes, as in the case of ECHO’s lobbying on behalf of a code for the Democratic Republic of Congo. The involvement of eye donors in influencing the adoption of certain MONGO codes of conduct has potentially significant implications for the relationship between Nags and donors and the degree of control exercised by the latter.