Corruption in 2018: Will we see change?

Over the last two years, scandals unveiled by the publication of the Panama and Paradise Papers grabbed headlines, shocking citizens and shaming the corrupt. These scandals made prominent an ugly truth—that corruption and unethical practices undermine the benefits of globalization by exacerbating inequality, deterring investment and distorting competition. These revelations showed an urgent need to strengthen public integrity, double down on anticorruption reform, create a level playing field for businesses, and close legislative loopholes. Moreover, they demonstrated the need to rebuild trust between governments and citizens.

We have reached a turning point in the global fight against corruption: only a coordinated response among all partners—government, business and civil society—will lead to meaningful reform and lasting change. The year 2018 will hopefully provide fora for discussions on the role of international cooperation and multilateralism in building a culture of integrity.

Turning ideas into action:

■ The OECD guides countries in putting integrity strategies into practice across the whole of government and whole of society.

■ The Open Government Partnership (OGP) provides a platform for government and civil society to work together on national and local level reforms. These reforms are put together into OGP action plans, which can also complement commitments made in other forums.

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■ Transparency International (TI) is leading a global movement of civil-society organizations against corruption, holding governments and businesses to account and inspiring activists and advocates to stand up for transparency. With more than one hundred chapters worldwide, TI released its flagship publication, the Corruption Perceptions Index, which showed that most countries are making little to no progress in curbing corruption, while activists and journalists are risking their lives to speak out. As part of the Global Anti-Corruption Consortium, TI collaborates with local partners and investigative journalists, identifies structural weaknesses and corruption risks in-country, and spotlights corruption scandals in the media while pushing for policy change.

Maintaining momentum through global dialogue:

These efforts, along with countless others, will feed the integrity, anticorruption and transparency debates taking place during 2018.

■ On March 27 and 28 the OECD Global Anti-Corruption and  Integrity Forum, one of the first big milestones of 2018, took place in Paris. Here, the international debate focused on how integrity contributes to a level playing field for business, reduces socio-economic inequalities and makes public policies more effective—thus increasing the benefits of globalization for all.

■ The next multi-stakeholder dialogue will take place at OGP’s 5th Global Summit in Tbilisi from July 17 to 19, where the current government and civil society cochairmen of OGP; the government of Georgia has made anticorruption a priority for the agenda.

■ Finally, these conversations will culminate with the 18th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) in Copenhagen from October 22 to 24. This year’s theme, “Together for Development, Peace, and Security: Now is the Time to Act,” builds on previous IACC priorities to spur movement throughout the global community and to turn promises into collective action. IACC is currently accepting proposals for workshops from now through 15 April.

What’s happening in the Philippines?

Yes, the Philippines is part of the OGP, but there is not much information on what the OGP task force is doing.

The Integrity Initiative Inc., which is determined to bring government and the private sector together in the fight against corruption, is in a state of reorganization and is making little progress.

The European Innovation, Technology and Science Center (EITSC) is creating a Compliance and Ethics Forum on May 8, which will convene government, civil society and business leaders. The forum will:

1) Discuss how ideas brought to the forum can be pursued at national and local level, including through OGP action plans;

2) Explore follow-up opportunities for collaboration after the forum; and

3) Identify key milestones to check throughout 2018.

EITSC is looking forward to productive conversations at the forum to advance both country and collective action on integrity and anticorruption.

 

     Comments are welcome—contact me at [email protected].

 

 

Image Credits: NuVolaNeVicata | Dreamstime.com

Turning Points 2018
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