Ideas for Developing Asia and the Pacific

Call for Policy Papers on Accountability Mechanisms for Inclusive City-Level Public Services in Asia


Asian Development Bank Institute and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Accountability is an important but largely unexplored issue in public services delivery, particularly in urban sanitation. With energy and water provision or solid waste management, an authority – often a public or concessional utility - has a mandate to ensure services are available and safe. By contrast, urban sanitation is a public good vulnerable to market failures, making it imperative for government officials, the private sector, and academics to identify ways to enhance sanitation service accountability.  

The Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) is seeking original, unpublished policy papers featuring case studies that examine accountability systems and institutional arrangements for delivering inclusive sanitation services in Asia. Policy papers should address approaches used to hold sanitation authorities accountable, the reasons for their use and effectiveness, and/or lessons that can be drawn from electricity, water, and solid waste management authorities. Paper topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Purview of accountability systems, including social, economic, operational, and/or investment accountability, as well as monitoring and/or target setting with incentives and penalties
  • Accountability system activities, including services tariffs and prices, capital investment, service levels, and service coverage and rates of return
  • Review of municipal or utility-led tools or cases that have led to successful public service expansion in low income or settlement communities   
  • Characterization of different accountability mechanisms or regulators, such as degree of autonomy, independence, institutional home, and range of services covered
  • Measuring or mapping accountability in different types of agencies or departments, including municipalities, national utilities, local utilities, private or public utilities, concessionaires, and asset holders
  • Performance monitoring tools to reduce the monitoring costs of distributed assets to incentivize service continuity quality and coverage for public health protection
  • Practical monitoring systems to strengthen community voices in sanitation services, including transparency requirements, ICT-based tools, and community models of monitoring and upward accountability
  • Lessons from energy and water utilities or the truck-based solid waste management sector and how they relate to urban sanitation service system design
  • Review of incentives, technologies, and other tools that utilities and regulators can use to improve the efficiency and transparency of distributed asset/decentralized utility service performance monitoring and their relevance to sustainable urban sanitation services

Submission Procedure

Authors should submit extended abstracts of at least 1,000 words in English via this link no later than 15 May 2022. Please include a title, author names and affiliations, contact information, an introduction, literature review, methodology, case study, and data overview.

We are encouraging papers that engage and amplify voices of public sector experts. Authors are requested to indicate the level of involvement of public officials in their papers, including whether they are coauthors who have made substantial contributions to framing the paper questions, hypothesis, lessons, or data, or should be recognized simply as paper contributors or sources.

Submissions are welcome irrespective of authors’ racial, ethnic, religious, or cultural background, gender, sexual orientation, or disabilities. Women and residents of Asian Development Bank developing member countries are particularly encouraged to participate. Early submissions are preferred.

Arrangements for Selected Papers

Only authors of selected abstracts will be notified, by 27 May 2022. They will be invited to a virtual paper development authors’ workshop on 29-30 June 2022. More details will be provided later.

Full papers should comply with the Submission Guidelines for ADBI Publications and be submitted via the above link by 30 August 2022.

Project Organizing Committee

  • Roshan Shrestha, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Alyse Schrecongost, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Meera Mehta, CEPT University
  • V Srinivas Chary, Administrative Staff College of India
  • Sujatha Srinivasan, KREA University
  • Patrick N. Lester Ty, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System
  • KE Seetha Ram, Asian Development Institute and University of Tokyo


Inquiries may be directed to Dwiky Wibowo [email protected] and Santi Setiawati [email protected]