International Non-Governmental Organisations Accountability Charter

Last updated on 15 November 2017

The International Non-Governmental Organisations Accountability Charter (INGO Accountability Charter) is a charter, established in 2006 by a group of independent non-profit organisations, which is intended to foster accountability and transparency of non-governmental organisations, as well as stakeholder communication and performance.[1] By 2016, the organisation changed its name to Accountable Now.

INGO Accountability Charter Logo.JPG
The world’s most widely used multi-sectoral accountability framework for INGOs.


NGOs are more than ever before important participants in framing the social, political and economic environment. On the national level they provide disaster relief and social service, promote self-help and self- governance in developing countries where they are operating. In addition they enhanced a strong international Civil Society by creating informal but important normative regimes which are influencing international institutions in their decision-making. This greater involvement of NGOs also raises the question of how they justify their activities.[2]

NGOs have a particular interest in meeting standards on accountability and transparency in view of the responsibilities towards not only the cause which they are meant to serve, but also stakeholders of various types, including donors and sponsors (possibly comprising corporations and governments), intended program beneficiaries, staff and the general public.[3][4]

The charter is considered a contributing element to underscoring the legitimacy of NGOs.[5]



At the International Advocacy Non-Government Organisations (IANGO) Workshop hosted by Transparency International in June 2003, the importance of promoting accountability and legitimacy was discussed by its participants. As they recognised their growing involvement in international issues the need of promoting accountability was highlighted. The Hauser Center for Non-Profit Organisations at the Harvard University was asked for a research paper on the topic to provide a foundation for following discussions. At the following annual meetings in 2004 and 2005 the participants analysed their own concepts of accountability, set up an initial draft and with the help of independent consultant specialists revised the draft until a final version was ready to launch.[6]


Signed in June 2006 by eleven leading international NGOs active in the area of human rights, environment and social development, the INGO Accountability Charter has been referred to as “the first ever set of international and cross-sector guidelines for the NGO sector”[7] and the “first global accountability charter for the non-profit sector”.[8]

Founding Signatories

The founding signatories are 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 and World YWCA.


The charter is based on ten core principles and aimed at enhancing respect for human rights, good governance, accountability and transparency, encouraging stakeholder communication, promoting inclusion and environmental responsibility, and improving organisational performance and effectiveness.[7] It documents the commitment of international NGOs to these aims.


In 2008, the signatory-NGOs decided to found an independent organisation of the same name International NGO Accountability Charter Ltd in order to organise the reporting and vetting process of the member organisations against the charter commitments and develop them further. Today, the organisation operates under the name Accountable Now and has more than 20 member organisations.[9]

Related codes of conduct

In 1997, the One World Trust had created an NGO Charter, a code of conduct comprising commitment to accountability and transparency.[10]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Brown, L. David and Mark H. Moore (2001): “Accountability, Strategy, and International Nongovernmental Organizations”, in: “Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly” 30: p.569, online: [1]
  3. ^ See for example: Maria Francesch-Huidobro: Governance, politics and the environment: a Singapore study, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS), ISBN 978-981-230-831-3, 2008, p. 60
  4. ^ See also: Kumi Naidoo: Global civic society: Rallying for real change. In: Willie Cheng, Sharifah Mohamed: The world that changes the world: How philanthropy, innovation and entrepreneurship are transforming the social ecosystem, Lien Centre for Social Innovation, John Wiley & Sons, ISBN 978-0-470-82715-4, 2010, p. 331
  5. ^ Duncan Matthews: Intellectual Property, Human Rights and Development: The Role of NGOs and Social Movements, MPG Books Group, UK, ISBN 978-1-84720-785-2, 2011, p. 229
  6. ^ Explore Charter background on: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-05-13. Retrieved 2012-11-23.
  7. ^ a b Lael Brainard, Derek Chollet (editors): Global development 2.0: can philanthropists, the public, and the poor make poverty history?, The Brookings Institution, ISBN 978-0-8157-1393-7, 2008, p. 175
  8. ^ Andrew Stuart Thompson: Laying the groundwork: Considerations for a charter for a proposed global civic society forum. In: James W. St. G. Walker, Andrew S. Thompson: Critical mass: the emergence of global civil society, The Centre for International Governance Innovation and Wilfried Laurier University Press, ISBN 978-1-55458-022-4, 2008, p. 214
  9. ^ "Who we are". Accountable Now. Retrieved 2017-02-09.
  10. ^ Charte des ONG (NGO Charter) Archived 2011-09-28 at the Wayback Machine., One World Trust, 1997

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