Romanian NGO Code of Conduct

The 2001 Review of the Romania NGO Sector – Romanian Donors Forum

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The 2001 Review of the Romania NGO Sector

Romanian Donors Forum

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4.2.5 Accountability, transparency, ethics

Overall, respondents felt that  the lack of accountability,  transparency  and ethical practice is  a serious issue in the sector. There were a few examples of good practice where  NGOs openly disseminate information about their activities and finances.

Despite a legal requirement for NGOs to submit annual financial reports to the statutory authorities, there is a lack of willingness to share information on finances and practices. There are two approaches to improving transparency and accountability   through regulation or through facilitation.

The NGO sector has chosen to use regulation as the main tool through the development of a Code of Ethical Practice for NGOs. This provides instructions on good practice in the areas of NGO performance. However, the Code is a mixture of international practices that are not always relevant to the cultural context of Romania and it was not developed in a manner that would promote broader ownership by the sector. Worse, it tends to reinforce the mentality of control which is widely believed to be a significant obstacle to development in the sector.

It was felt that more appropriate means of promoting accountability and ethical practice could be utilized, including:

-          leading by example with key NGOs (GIR members, for example) publishing their financial information on a regular basis;

-          increasing understanding in the NGO sector about the inter-relationship between accountability and transparency on one side, and public credibility and support on the other. All future efforts by aspirations of NGOs aiming to attract resources from the general public or business will depend on their ability to operate in a transparent and accountable manner;

-          disseminating good practice in Romania and in other countries; and

-          providing training and advice on setting up transparent and accountable work practices such as policies on conflicts of interest.

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5.2.3 Building the capacity of the sector

Strategic aim: promote ethical, accountable and transparent practice in the sector

-          Improve NGO accountability and transparency through leading by example with key NGOs (GIR members, for example) publishing their financial information on a regular basis.

-          Increase understanding in the NGO sector about the inter-relationship between accountability and transparency on one side and public credibility and support on the other. All future aspirations of NGOs to attract resources from the general public or business will depend on their ability to operate in a transparent and accountable manner.

-          Provide training and advice on setting up transparent and accountable work practices such as policies on conflicts of interest, as well as disseminating examples of existing good practice within Romania and in other countries.

Strategic aim:  build NGO capacity to support the strategic development of the sector particularly in the regions

-          Establish a national network of local NGO resource centers with appropriate capacities and  resources  to  develop  local  sectors  and  thereby address  issues  of  regional disparities and lack of co-operation within the sector

-          Enhance the role of developed NGOs in articulating the needs, interests and achievements of the sector as a whole by stimulating effective contact with NGOs working outside the main cities.

-          Improve access to Internet and email for NGOs outside the main cities.

-          Continue to produce publications that are relevant to the sector in Romanian.

-          Enhance advice on financial management and reporting.

-          Develop modular training programmes that enable NGOs with low skill levels to enhance and implement their learning over time.

-          Identify, publicize and share existing development resources within the sector (training, publications, and expertise).

-          Ensure access to development resources for all types and levels of NGOs, including new and small NGOs, as well as the more advanced.

-          Establish and maintain more of a learning culture.

-          Develop capacity within Romania for facilitation of longer-term organizational development processes)

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