This paper discusses the importance for sovereign risk pools to be transparent, accountable and participatory so as to ensure that they benefit the most vulnerable. It focuses on the three risk pools CCRIF, PCRAFI and ARC, and aims to improve understanding of how the three requirements apply by developing corresponding assessment criteria, against which the pools are then evaluated. In concluding, the paper outlines a set of recommendations for several stakeholders, including for policy holders (governments), donors, and the risk pools themselves.