This year, APPC will accelerate national decision-making processes to prioritize activities and programmes to enhance non-profit sector governance and promote philanthropy in the region. Key issues raised at the APPC conference on governance held in Manila last September included accountability, NPO reporting, and the public disclosure of information.
Since December 2003, 12 national-level groups of civil society organizations, including philanthropic organizations, have been undertaking stakeholder consultations to determine the most critical activities in their country. These groups will help develop a region-wide consensus on a unified set of financial accounting systems for NPOs. This will involve stakeholders (government, NPOs, private sector and donors) collaborating to identify minimum financial standards for NPOs to adopt. As a springboard for this activity, national groups will review an accounting manual drawn up by the Azim Premji Foundation. They will then make recommendations, which APPC hopes to bring to a major regional meeting in Bangalore, India.
The national groups are also narrowing down the choices of project activities. In Hong Kong, for example, a combined ‘Task Force’ coordinating body will undertake baseline research to unveil existing NPO reporting, statistics and data collection practices. They will also evaluate the Management Audit System developed by the Hong Kong Council of Social Service and the Public Register System promoted by the government. In Bangladesh, projects will include a survey of individual and corporate giving, with emphasis on the impact of non-profit governance and sustainability issues on giving.
Overall, these activities should result in wider sharing of critical information and greater coordination among stakeholders. Hopefully, they will also be more directly responsive to the issues affecting philanthropy and the non-profit sector in the region.
1 Led by the Center for Civil Society and Governance of the University of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Council of Social Service.
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