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YES NGOs are very big on ethical issues (so they should be). They  usually want to promote more ethical policy making (more rules ) for the extractive industries. A good example of that is EITI where big CSO players want to introduce new rules for mining concessions. That seems to be things like insisting on restricted engineering practices for lowering carbon emissions in country (!) or more often  doing less to damage local water tables. i am all for the second of these two. BUT shouldn't we also help NGOs with their governance and policy making? Everyone goes of piste occasionally, don'y they. After all we are all human. Eric how can we help  the bigger players on ethics, transparency and better governance?

Thanks, Martin. Hope all well your end. I'm going to Kiev tomorrow to see how the EITI Board pans out; we should chat soon.

To be honest, I find some of the big NGOs really open and direct - which is what we'd expect - but others really oddly secretive. That does surprise me. I think one or two were started on an interesing premise - like an index of something or other - but then grew like topsy and are finding it hard to justify their existence when they're challenged. So the main job of folk running them is to defend their jobs, keep the cash coming in and evade tricky questions. 

Others have painted themselves into a corner by damning any kind of confidentiality as conspiracy and refusing to accept decent statements by perfectly decent agencies and companies. That's why my ears twitch when I'm told to just accept, from the same folk, that their founders don't trade on their role as such. I mean, it's perfectly normal and fair for an NGO leader to get, say, $200k per annum? So if a few founders don't take a salary, but are personally funded through 'friendly funders' paying them for related stuff (so the NGO work becomes the 'pro bono' stuff), then how much is that over a couple of decades? Answer - it's millions and millions of dollars. I should say that I think that it's perfectly fine for founders of great big NGOs to be rewarded for their success - but it seems very wrong to 'hide' earnings where the source is relevant to people. I find the example I'm referring to quite troubling, because the staff I've asked are clearly keen to keep people in the dark. Ironically, it's quite likely that the funders having nothing to hide. 

A key issue for big transparency NGOs is the transparency of their own 'benefical ownership' - i.e. how they're funded and how much they and their founders rely on assumptions about cross-NGO funding. They're keeping very quiet about it all right now, in some cases.....

Thanks for that. This is something I find interesting. It is important that we help CSOs to keep their ethical capital and trade on best work.

Very much so. Some of your buddies at the Sussex University anti-corruption centre should take a gander at the NGOs...