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Accountability and governance in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals in a developing country context: Evidence from Tanzania

Lauwo, Sarah and Azure, John De-Clerk and Hopper, Trevor (2022) 'Accountability and governance in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals in a developing country context: Evidence from Tanzania.' Accounting Auditing and Accountability Journal, 35 (6). pp. 1431-1461. ISSN 0951-3574

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Purpose – This paper examines the accountability and governance mechanisms and the challenges in a multistakeholder partnership seeking to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a developing country (DC), namely Tanzania. Design/methodology/approach – The paper draws on work on the shift from government to governance to meta-governance to examine the SDGs framework’s governance regime. The data stems from documentation, focussed group discussions and face-to-face interviews with key stakeholders involved in the localisation of SDGs in Tanzania. Findings – Despite the emphasis given by promoters of SDGs on the need for multi-stakeholder engagement, and network and market-based governance, Tanzania’s hierarchical governance framed in national legislations dominated the localisation of the SDGs. The national-level meta-governance structures were somewhat dysfunctional, partly due to a lack of well-designed coordination mechanisms for collaborative engagement with key stakeholders. The limited involvement of different meta-governors, and particularly network and market-based governance arrangements, has had severe implications for achieving the SDGs in DCs in general and Tanzania, in particular. Practical implications – The paper calls for a more explicit SDG policy and strategy, alongside strengthening institutional structures and related governance arrangements in Tanzania, to promote the realisation of the SDGs. For the SDGs framework to succeed, the authors suggest that, in addition to adopting SDG friendly policies, the Tanzanian government should devise plans for financial resources, strategies for empowering and engaging with key stakeholders and promote an integrative governance system that underpins accountability at the local level. Originality/value – Focussing on Tanzania, the paper sheds light on how context in DCs, interactions between state and non-state actors, modes of governance and accountability mechanisms shape the localisation of SDGs and realising the SDGs’ agenda. The implementation in Tanzania focussed on priorities in the development plan, thereby neglecting some important SDGs. This raises doubts about the possibility of meeting the SDGs by 2030. The localisation of SDGs remained within the top-down governance structure, as Tanzania’s government failed to enact the policy and strategy for multi-stakeholder partnership consistent with the SDGs’ principle of “leave no-one behind”. Consequently, meta-governors’ efforts and ability to monitor and demand accountability from the government was constrained by the political context, the governance system and regulations enacted to side-line them.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Accountability; Developing countries; Governance; Meta-governance; From government to governance; Sustainable Development Goals
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School
Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School > Essex Accounting Centre
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 11 Feb 2022 20:23
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2022 23:23

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