Discussion Paper

How the G7 reviews its work on development: a case study of internal accountability

Fischer, Roger A.
Discussion Paper (19/2020)

Bonn: German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)

ISBN: 978-3-96021-130-3
DOI: https://doi.org/10.23661/dp19.2020
Preis: 6 €

The G7 practices forms of external accountability to answer for its behavior to the outside world and internal accountability to lead the implementation of what it has decided. To follow up on its development related commitments, it has set up a permanent framework to produce annual public reports on how G7 national administrations have worked together to implement them.
Reports under this framework draw from implementation experience but G7 Leaders never use them to make decisions on how to carry implementation forward or design new commitments. This is because the G7 process is generally discontinuous and its accountability process is currently not targeted at facilitating feedback from implementation experience to policy making. The learning potential inherent in internal accountability is not fully used. As a result, the G7 is less effective than it could be in implementing its commitments under changing circumstances. In addition, G7 commitments and methodology do not always make it easy for outside stakeholders to check G7 words against its behavior, even though this is important for external accountability. This makes it harder to have a rational debate about G7 legitimacy.
This paper suggests ways to improve G7 accountability practice so that it systematically produces learning effects and better supports G7 legitimacy. The G7 can capture learning effects by underpinning every commitment with an explicit notion of how they want to achieve what and making sure that this notion gets tested regularly against implementation experience. Closing this feedback loop could be a job for G7 portfolio ministers who can make decisions on further implementation based on the experience set out in an accountability report. Better designed commitments and improved follow up would also support G7 legitimacy, because this would make it easier for external stakeholders to check G7 action against its words.

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