Browsing Category

News

News,

Fighting corruption for global peace, development and security

Director, Governance and Peace-building, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP

9 December is the International Anti-Corruption Day, an opportunity to re-affirm our commitment to fight corruption.

The cost of corruption to society is enormous. In its 2017 report, Global Financial Integrity estimates that illicit financial flows (IFFs) in 2014 alone ranged from US$1.4 trillion to $2.5 trillion. The World Economic Forum estimates that the cost of corruption today equals more than 5 percent of global GDP ($2.6 trillion).

These figures are staggering but even more staggering is what lies behind these financial calculations – a world of dire poverty and inequality that continues to be exacerbated by the distortions in income distribution and public expenditure decisions, which are influenced by corrupt practices.

The Panama and Paradise Papers revealed the magnitude of hidden wealth from all over the world in offshore jurisdictions. According to Oxfam International, tax evasion causes Africa alone to lose $14 billion a year in fiscal revenues. These lost budgetary resources could have paid for healthcare to save the lives of 4 million children and could have employed more teachers to get every African child into school.

Similarly, the 2017 Global Corruption Barometer on the Asia-Pacific region shows that out of 22,000 people surveyed, 38 percent of the poorest said they had to pay a bribe to get access to public services. And data from 42 countries compiled by Transparency International reveal that higher levels of bribe-paying are associated with lower literacy rates among young people.

Anti-corruption protesters in Bangkok
Corruption erodes trust in public institutions and undermines the rule of law. Photo: UNDP Thailand

Hence, money lost to corruption is development denied to those most at risk of being left behind.

But corruption doesn’t only divert resources from development, it corrodes public trust in government institutions, undermines the rule of law, impairs the systems of checks and balances, and contributes to violence and insecurity.

Recent studies reveal that corruption and the impunity, injustice and inequality that it breeds, is one of the structural drivers of violent extremism that caused the death of nearly 30,000 people in 2015 alone, and cost nearly $90 billion to the global economy.  A 2016 UNDP research points out the link between violent extremism and experiences or perceptions of injustice, corruption and systematic discrimination and political and economic marginalization. The “2015 Peace and Corruption” report also provides empirical evidence that beyond a certain threshold, there is a correlation between increasing levels of corruption and growing violence and conflict, measured by political instability, violence, terrorism, organized crime, arms trafficking, and homicide rates.

We should therefore address corruption not only as a crime and an impediment to development, but also as a direct threat to peace and stability.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development makes an explicit link between corruption and peaceful, just and inclusive societies. One of the most important commitments in that agenda is “to leave no-one behind”, not in the delivery of services, not in decision-making and not in the dispensation of justice. Achieving that ambitious goal will not be possible without tackling corruption in all its forms. That is why this year’s UNDP-UNODC anti-corruption campaign to commemorate the International Anti-Corruption Day focuses on the theme “United against corruption for development, peace and security”.

On this International Anti-corruption Day, let’s stand together firmly in the fight against corruption.

News,

UNDP Kicks Off Country Research on Linkages between Corruption and Violent Extremism in the Asia-Pacific Region

On 22-23 August 2017, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s Anti-Corruption for Peaceful and Inclusive Societies in Asia-Pacific 2016-2020 (ACPIS) Project gathered in Manila, Philippines national country researchers, together with regional and global experts, to plan a new UNDP research report on the ‘Linkages between Corruption and Violent Extremism in the Asia-Pacific Region’.

Ms Clare Duffield, Counsellor, Australian Embassy in the Philippines, Mr Ola Almgren, UNDP Resident Representative in the Philippines, and Mr Phil Matsheza, Team Leader of the Governance and Peacebuilding Unit in UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub opened the workshop and welcomed participants. The activity is supported by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. 

Ms Duffield discussed the ‘dual scourge’ of corruption and violent extremism harming national and local stability and prosperity. Mr Almgren noted the importance of involving youth and women to increase the effectiveness of fighting corruption and preventing violent extremism.  Mr Matsheza highlighted the strong demand that now exists for generating evidence of the linkages between corruption and violent extremism.

The national researchers from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan Philippines and Thailand will start their country studies after the workshop. UNDP aims to launch the new report to mark International Anti-Corruption Day on 9 December 2017.

For further information on the research report, please email: acpis@undp.org.

News,

New UNDP Anti-Corruption Programme, ACPIS, Launched in Singapore

On 7 March 2017, UNDP launched its new four-year project with the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT) Australia, Anti-Corruption for Peaceful and Inclusive Societies in Asia-Pacific (2016-2020) (ACPIS). The launch took place at the UN Global Centre for Public Service Excellence (UN GCSPE) in Singapore. Ms Vanessa Chan, Director-General of Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs International Organisations Directorate and Mr Bruce Gosper Australian High Commissioner to Singapore helped to launch the new project.

· Click here for The Straits Times article on the ACPIS Launch.
· Click here for ACPIS project documents.
· Click here to see UNDP Country Office projects under ACPIS.

For more information, please contact acpis@undp.org.

News,

Corruption remains one of the most significant problems in Kosovo

6

Corruption remains one of the most significant problems facing Kosovo today, argues the special edition of the Public Pulse on corruption released on 24 October.

The present Public Pulse on Corruption, focuses its analysis on perceptions of citizens of Kosovo on the prevalence of corruption, with particular emphasis on Kosovo public institutions on both central and local level.

Data collected through a general population survey with 1300 respondents and 500 targeted interviews with representatives of Kosovo public institutions from all management levels show that 18 percent of interviewed citizens perceive corruption as the most pressing issue. This percentage puts corruption as the second largest problem, trailing only unemployment which is perceived by 39 percent of the respondents as the most pressing issue.

In addition, this research also includes validation data from four thematic focus groups, namely focus groups with representatives of central level institutions, local level institutions, civil society and a focus group with gender activists dedicated to comparison of data with the UNDP survey on Gender and Corruption carried out in 2014.

REPORT

Original article – http://www.ks.undp.org/content/kosovo/en/home/presscenter/articles/2016/10/24/corruption-remains-one-of-the-most-significant-problems-in-kosovo.html

Afghanistan Anti-corruption & Women’s Empowerment, Afghanistan Anti-corruption in Post-conflict and transition countries, Afghanistan Corruption Measurement & Anti-Corruption Monitoring, Albania Courses, Albania Decision, Albania Draft Resolution, Albania Human Rights, Transparency, & Accountability, Albania Local Government, Library, Multimedia, News, Newsletter, Sectoral approach to fighting corruption Publications, Uncategorized, Vacancies,

Fighting Corruption in the Health Sector: Methods, Tools and Good Practices

Fighting Corruption in the Health Sector: Methods, Tools and Good Practices

health
link-boton
Abstract This report considers several quantitative and qualitative studies that analyse and present evidence of the negative impact of corruption on health outcomes. The study presents concrete evidence for building multi-stakeholder partnerships, including with direct beneficiaries of the public health sector, to promote accountability and improve service delivery.
United Nations Development Programme
Bureau for Development Policy
2011
News,

An effective e-declaration system will be a watershed for the country

BY MARCUS BRAND, UNDP Democratic Governance Advisor

Two-and-a-half years ago, one of the core demands of the Euro-Maidan protests was curbing corruption. In 2014, the new reform government chose the fight against corruption as one of its strategic priorities.

At that pivotal moment, UNDP was honoured and proud to stand by Ukraine’s drivers of reform.  Globally, in all the 140 or more countries where the United Nations Development Programme has its presence, we are working hand in hand with governments to help them solve issues and challenges that lead to effective democratic governance.

This time with the backing of the Government of Denmark, UNDP in Ukraine was able to render expert advice and financial assistance to help implement the reforms that were being charted out.

A new Anti-Corruption Strategy was adopted an enshrined in legislation that included the creation of a number of new institutions and mechanisms. Among the new anti-corruption tools UNDP was asked to help nurture, was the electronic asset declaration system.

The ambition of Ukrainian legislators at the time was to achieve a qualitative difference to earlier, largely ineffective anti-corruption tools and institutions. For such instruments to enjoy the trust and confidence of the wider public, they would have to significantly advance from earlier attempts that had been found to contain numerous loopholes and were largely considered ineffective.

In order for Ukraine’s new anti-corruption measures to gain the trust of both the population and its key international partners, they would have to be serious, ambitious and effective. Asset declarations are an integral component of corruption prevention and conflict-of-interest systems around the world, and they are enshrined as such in the UN Convention Against Corruption.

According to World Bank studies, 8 out of 10 high-income countries have already allowed public access to data contained in civil servants’ asset declarations. 60% of countries that have rendered such information open are also disclosing declared assets for officials’ spouses or life partners. In 85% of countries where an asset declaration system is in place for heads of state, ministers as well as rank and file civil servants, officials are also openly disclosing information on movable assets and cash savings.

In September 2015, the Government of Ukraine appealed to UNDP with a request to provide technical and financial support in developing an electronic asset declaration software in line with the new legislative requirements. As the National Agency for Corruption Prevention (NACP) had not been established by that time, the Ministry of Justice served as the lead agency for the Government of Ukraine in this matter.

UNDP subsequently ran an open and competitive tender for these works and fulfilled the request as asked, fully involving the newly-created NACP in all procedural steps; on 27 July, a software system for filing, publishing and storing officials’ declarations—fully functional and fully tested to be in line with Ukrainian legislation and the NACP’s own regulations—was transferred to the NACP as the system’s rightful Ukrainian owner.

Global experience shows that introducing paradigm shifts that suddenly and fundamentally change entrenched patterns of corruption, collusion and abuse of state power is fraught with challenges and bound to meet obstacles. The preparation and launch of Ukraine’s electronic declaration system is one of many examples for that.

Obviously, there are many who would rather not allow the public to know about their assets, and not always for legitimate reasons. And yet for public institutions and officials to regain genuine trust and to rebuild the social contract between the state and the people it may be essential to redraw the rules of the game.

Indeed, for anyone with control and influence over budget funds – which are to serve the general public rather than private interests – it is necessary to accept a degree of public oversight that must be balanced with their right to privacy.

It should also be said that the responsibility to prevent and fight corruption does not only lie with state officials, many of whom are expected to make do with meagre salaries and little prospect of raising their standards of living. Rather, what is now expected of state employees must set new standards of propriety and integrity all across society, one that is based on fair rules applicable to all rather than favours accessible to a few.

Ukraine now has a new asset declaration system that is far from perfect, bit it is still a huge improvement to the old paper-based system. The system in place has been fully in the hands of government bodies and has received all required technical and legal approvals.

As UNDP had contributed key elements of an earlier version of the software, we have been following the recent developments with great interest and some concern. Over the past weeks, it has become clear that there are significant differences between the original product delivered to NACP by UNDP and the currently operational software system. Some observers have even suggested that the currently operational online asset declaration forms may not be fully in line with the NACP’s own regulations and the Law of Ukraine “On Preventing Corruption”. We believe that there is still time for such inconsistencies to be addressed, if the system is to be considered robust and trustworthy.

Another cause for concern is that currently—two weeks prior to the submission deadline—only about 10% of the declarants have filed their online declarations. We are unsure whether this is due to lack of awareness of hesitation, but we expect that a massive last-minute run on the system could lead to a technical overload that would go beyond its current capabilities and therefore encourage all prospective declarants to submit their entries as soon as possible.

UNDP believes that the effective functioning of an e-declaration system, a cornerstone of Ukraine’s anti-corruption reforms, will be a watershed for the country. Ukraine’s international friends and partners rightly encourage it to take this decisive step towards better governance. UNDP has reconfirmed its readiness to assist national counterparts in translating commitments into realities, including by tackling the existing challenges with regard to the electronic declaration regime.

Despite the setbacks to be expected along the road, an effective asset declaration system that enjoys the trust of the Ukrainian people will be built, and it will allow Ukraine to move into a new era where corruption is an exception rather than the rule, and where public officials and civil servants are respected for serving the general public, rather than their own personal interests.

Original article – http://www.ua.undp.org/content/ukraine/en/home/ourperspective/ourperspectivearticles/2016/10/20/what-s-wrong-with-the-e-declaration-.html

News,

Anti-corruption justice and collaboration in Kosovo: Challenges and recommendations

croppedimage470280-studyu4material2

The author, Sheelagh Brady, is a Senior Security Analyst at SAR Consultancy and has also written the background report to the U4 workshop “Strengthening the role of the Kosovar justice sector in fighting corruption” hosted by the Royal Norwegian Embassy and the Kosovo Judicial Institute, in Prishtina on 23-24 May this year.

Based on the background research and the workshop, the author identifies three key obstacles that if addressed may have a significant positive impact on interagency collaboration and thereby also the investigation and prosecution of corruption cases in Kosovo: insufficient coordination mechanisms, incoherent institutional design, and lack of trust and incentives to collaborate. To further recent progress in interagency collaboration and to ensure that a higher number of investigations and prosecutions are translated into convictions, strategic action would include:

First, to re-establish a coordination mechanism.

Secondly, to review the mandate of the ACA.

Third, to instill collaboration as a matter of routine.

Link to the publication here: http://www.cmi.no/publications/5968-anti-corruption-justice-and-collaboration-in

News,

Empowered citizens: changing the landscape of local governance in Nepal

This blog is part of a series on how open government can help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The series came out of a collaboration between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Bangkok Regional Hub and the Open Government Partnership (OGP) to find practical examples of how open government is helping countries achieve the SDGs in the Asia-Pacific region. For more details on the competition, the blog series, and how open government can help achieve the SDGs, please see our introductory blog post.

In an informal conversation with a local political leader from a village in the western part of Nepal, I asked a question. “How is the Village Development Committee (VDC) utilizing the allocated budget for women’s empowerment?” He smiled mildly and said, “There’s nothing to spend on for women’s empowerment, so we used last year’s budget to upgrade the main gravel road in the village.” I embarked on this probing inquiry with the knowledge that the condition of women in this village was very poor, and the portion of the budget meant for their use was being used to upgrade the road. His reply was surprising, as he argued that the women of the village also used this road so it was to their benefit too.

In Nepal, the budget planning process is supposed to follow 14 steps, from the sub-national to the central government level. In principle, it is actually meant to begin from the lowest administrative unit, the ward, collecting feedback from the people on their needs, and going up to the central level, so that the collective inputs can take shape in the form of the annual budget and programme. Despite its beauty in principle, the process is often hijacked by a handful of elites, to further their vested interests in the budget. When it comes to the implementation of this bottom-up budget planning process, it is frequently manipulated, as in the abovementioned case. The problem is further compounded by the general tendency of citizens to not challenge unresponsive and unaccountable local services. Although the 2006 Comprehensive Peace Accords formally ended the decade-long conflict and were meant to pave the path for peace and development – community-level tensions persist and are further exacerbated by such disenfranchisement and marginalization of community groups from the development planning process.

READ MORE: http://www.opengovpartnership.org/node/9848

News,

From Waste Disposal to Water Delivery: Citizen Empowerment through the Check My Service Initiative

This blog is part of a series on how open government can help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The series came out of a collaboration between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Bangkok Regional Hub and the Open Government Partnership (OGP) to find practical examples of how open government is helping countries achieve the SDGs in the Asia-Pacific region. For more details on the competition, the blog series, and how open government can help achieve the SDGs, please see our introductory blog post.

When I travel abroad and meet with my foreign counterparts, colleagues, and friends, I always ask them one question. “To what extent are you and the people of your country satisfied with the quality and delivery of public services? Can you receive the service you want?” It’s interesting to know how the governments of other countries serve their people.

Research done by Mongolian CSOs from 2008 to 2010 showed that over 80% of respondents in the country are not happy with the public services they receive.  Although Mongolia is on the list of middle-income countries, there have been no tangible improvements in people’s lives yet. Social inequalities are rising, and the gap between rich and poor is widening.

READ MORE: http://www.opengovpartnership.org/node/9800

News,

Open Government for Sustainable Development in Asia-Pacific: Results are in!

Earlier this summer, the UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub and OGP launched a call for information on open government initiatives that are contributing to or have the potential to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Asia-Pacific region.

The call was developed in response to major milestones that have been achieved in the last year. In September 2015, all 193 UN member countries endorsed the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the UN General Assembly. More than 50 OGP countries have since endorsed the Joint Declaration on Open Government for the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, committing to use OGP infrastructure and National Action Plans to help achieve the SDGs.

With this as the background, the idea behind launching the call was simple: to find practical examples of open governance supporting the SDGs, that have already been or are being tested on the ground with signs of positive results, and share them so that others can take inspiration from and learn from these examples.

READ MORE: http://www.opengovpartnership.org/blog/ogp-webmaster/2016/08/02/open-government-sustainable-development-asia-pacific-results-are