01. October 2016

Strengthening democratic practices and social accountability in Bhutan

Bhutanese group
Bhutan field mission in July 2016, led by Dr Claudia Baez Camargo, Head of Governance Research at the Basel Institute on Governance

The Basel Institute has a long-standing working relationship with the government of Bhutan covering a range of joint endeavours on developing anti-corruption policies and asset recovery. For a new project, commissioned by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), researchers from the Basel Institute worked with Bhutanese authorities to introduce social accountability concepts to support efforts to encourage citizen participation in democratic practices at the local government level.

The in-country work of July included stakeholder meetings and a workshop for government officials from the central and local levels and from civil society and academia. Findings emphasised the need to contextualise social accountability, including being sensitive to local social norms and values and focusing efforts on improving current legal provisions and stimulating better communication between local elected leaders and their constituencies.