Social Indicators Research vol:93 issue:2 pages:331-349
Participatory decision making seems to be the new development paradigm in international cooperation. It is still a long way, however, to achieve the objectives that are formulated by the international development actors. Non-state actors are only limitedly involved in the policy decision-making. In this paper, we argue that when these actors take their commitment towards civil society organisations serious, more efforts can be made to improve the available data and indicators on these actors' policy involvement. We discuss the most important existing databases on civil society's policy participation and find that only limited data is available. This means that there exist opportunities to: first, extend and refine the existing data and indicators on the policy involvement of these actors; and second, include these data and indicators in the assessment exercises of international development organisations. In addition, we observe a difference, between the available data on the traditional social partners and the new civil society organisations. Therefore, we argue that more research, data collection and the elaboration of indices, on the various policy involvement mechanisms of new civil society organisations would be a welcome contribution to the field. Furthermore the opportunity exists to examine the relation with other governance variables, such as accountability, transparency and rule of law.