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Strengthening Parliamentary Accountability, Citizen Engagement and Access to Information - Global Survey of Parliamentary Monitoring Organizations

Andrew G. Mandelbaum
Publication year: 
Source of the information: 
National Democratic Institute


During the past decade, parliaments have received increasing attention  from  the international
development community. Citizens and civil society organizations have also realized the
importance  – or, in some instances,  the  potential importance  – of parliaments  to democratic
governance, due to their roles in lawmaking, conducting  executive oversight, and representing
citizens and  their interests. As a consequence, citizen-based groups have begun to monitor or
assess the functioning of parliaments or their individual members, often seeking to facilitate and
promote public knowledge of, and participation in parliamentary processes. These parliamentary
monitoring organizations (PMOs) have shown promise in strengthening a number of components
of democratic governance, including the accountability of parliaments to the electorate, citizen
engagement in the legislative process and access to information about parliaments and their
work. To a lesser extent, they have shown the capacity to encourage parliamentary reform.  
Given the lack of research on PMOs, the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and World Bank
Institute (WBI) undertook a joint  project to: 1) identify PMOs worldwide and  collect basic
information regarding their activities; 2) document good practices in parliamentary monitoring,
and; 3) suggest recommendations for the international donor community regarding  PMOs. To
meet these objectives, the project conducted a survey of PMOs, analyzed their websites and other
outputs, and interviewed a range of  individuals at  organizations involved in conducting or
supporting parliamentary monitoring activities.