Promoting Accountability & Transparency

Afghan Shura
Afghan elders, under a USAID program, meet to share challenges and best practices in traditional dispute resolution and to collaborate on serious or long-term disputes.

Countries weak in government effectiveness, rule of law, and control of corruption have a 30 to 45 percent higher risk of civil war and significantly higher risk of extreme criminal violence than other developing countries.

In 2012, 97 countries were considered very or highly corrupt.

The process of governing is most legitimate when it incorporates democratic principles such as transparency, pluralism, citizen involvement in decision-making, representation, and accountability.

Citizens lose confidence in a government that is unable to deliver basic services; therefore, the degree to which a government is able to carry out its functions at any level can often determine a country's ability to sustain democratic reform.

The rule of law is also an essential element of democracy. All of the following depend upon accountable governments, fair and accessible application of the law, and respect for international human-rights standards: 

  • Free and fair political and justice systems
  • Protection of human rights
  • Vibrant civil society
  • Public confidence in the police and the courts

In post-conflict settings, reestablishing the rule of law is the first step in the rebuilding process.  Establishing peace and security and rebuilding justice institutions can help to develop the necessary climate for reconciliation, public confidence, and subsequent economic growth.

USAID’s objective in governance is to improve the relationship between civilians and state actors by directly linking those who are governed with those who are democratically elected to govern.  USAID also works to support the rule of law by promoting legal and regulatory frameworks that improve order and security, legitimacy, checks and balances, and equal application and enforcement of the law. 

In both areas, USAID provides technical leadership through research, training, and dissemination of best practices. 

Governance programs include efforts to promote:

  • Anti-corruption Reform
  • Legislative Strengthening
  • Decentralization
  • Public Management and Policy Reform
  • Security Sector Reform

Rule of Law programs focus on three goals:

  1. Increasing Democratic Legal Authority
  2. Guaranteeing Rights and the Democratic Process
  3. Providing Justice as a Service


Last updated: August 09, 2016

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