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

Lauwo, Sarah George, 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. ISSN 0951-3574

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Abstract

Purpose
This paper examines the accountability and governance mechanisms and the challenges in a multi-stakeholder 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
Keywords: sustainable development goals, Tanzania, developing countries, meta-governance, government to governance, governance
Schools and Departments: University of Sussex Business School > Accounting and Finance
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2022 12:18
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 10:16
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/103640

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