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Essay on role of civil society in combating corruption

The current global situation The events of 2011 have provided yet another reminder of the destructive effects of corruption, both politically and economically. In India, massive demonstrations convinced the government to put forward strong anti-corruption legislation, several months later it is still in front of Parliament awaiting final debates. Last spring the popular pressure in the Arab Spring did not ease until leaders who have been in power for a combined 150 years stepped down. However, we still do not know the final outcome of the Arab Spring.

As the anniversary of the fall of Hosni Mubarak drew near in Egypt, for example, it was worrying to see the offices of dozens of NGOs raided. Before the Arab Spring, the denial of space to civil society was one of the big reasons that nepotism and patronage were allowed to grow to such outrageous proportions.

Empowering civil society to fight corruption

Those institutional problems will not fade away on their own. The financial crisis also had devastating effects over the last two years. It was a glaring lack of regulations for new financial products that created the crisis and now an estimated 80 million new jobs must be created over the next two years to just return to pre-financial crisis employment rates.

Essay on role of civil society in combating corruption we saw in Tunis and Cairo were extremes. But this demonstrated the very real threat faced by governments who do not stop corruption. When people are denied their basic rights, where petty bribery is allowed to flourish and where those in power act with impunity, citizens will protest. The challenge for governments is to meet this demand and regain trust in their management of the public good.

And transparency is essential to maintaining public trust in the government and public service. Strategic challenges in fighting corruption The real challenges in the struggle against corruption reach into all sectors of society and include efforts to restrict illegal money flows, state capture, the ever-larger funding sources feeding corruption and the need to dampen ingrained fears of corrupt officials.

It cited corruption as one of the major risks to stability and economic recovery. Much is being done to hide illegal profits. Some tax havens, for example, have more registered companies and trusts per capita than industrial states: State capture Another top challenge is state capture. In the past years press reports revealed how drug gangs launder billions of dollars and kill anyone in their way from judges to attorneys. When criminal gangs take on so much power and wealth, and hold so much sway over state institutions, we can start to talk about state capture.

In capitals around the world many lobbyists actively work to prevent the passage of new laws and regulations, and their enforcement. As an example, the revolving door spins furiously in places like Washington and Brussels as former politicians and regulators join banks and then lobby their old colleagues to ease the rules governing the financial industry. In some Latin American and other cities and states around the world, drug cartels have a growing influence over local governments and rule by fear, and by buying the support of the judiciary, and government, at all levels.

Resources for corruption Unfortunately, the extent of resources available to sustain corruption are endless as illicit profits feed further graft.

Fighting corruption: what role for civil society? : the experience of the OECD

When those in power such as the police and judges, or those who hold the keys to accessing essential services such as health, education, licenses, water and electricity expect a bribe in return for providing services or for looking the other way, those who can afford it pay, others go without the service.

TI strategies in preventing and dealing with corruption 3. Transparency International, TI has numerous strategies to keep corruption on the local, national and international agendas. This has been an important tool for raising awareness about the widespread and damaging nature of corruption. The 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index ranks 183 countries, 32 of which are in the Americas.

The 2011 scores refute arguments that blame corruption in certain regions on culture. Among the countries in the Americas that score above five we find countries not only from North America, but also from Latin America and the Caribbean.

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It showed that six out of ten people around the world thought corruption had increased over the previous three years. These tools serve citizens who demand probity in government services and help identify those sectors most vulnerable to corruption. Empowering citizens Tools are also needed to combat corruption on the local level. Beyond being outlets to report corruption, our chapters assist people in gaining access to services and inform government entities of problems in the delivery of services.

For example, TI has Advocacy and Legal Advice Centres in more than 45 countries, including Participacion Ciudadana, that typically operate toll-free hotlines, encouraging citizens to report corruption.

They have received more than 100,000 complaints since 2003.

The role of civil society in the fight against corruption

From this effort we have learned that we need to travel out to rural isolated communities to encourage people to come forward. Similarly, in Peru, Guatemala and Bolivia, TI chapters have already worked with remote communities helping the poor to monitor Conditional Cash Transfer programmes.

I believe More than reporting corruption, citizens and NGOs are increasingly undertaking activities that can prevent it. They are taking part in decision-making and monitoring projects. The work of Participacion Ciudadana in training people to monitor climate change programmes is another good step in this positive trend.

Fighting Corruption in South Africa: The Role of Civil of Society

Promoting transparency, integrity and accountability in government Civil society can mobilise the greatest pressure for change by calling on governments to meet their international commitments under various treaties. Bad governance distorts markets and destabilises societies, perpetuating poverty and social injustice. Governments, businesses and citizens across the globe have to join efforts to fight this common scourge by promoting more open governments.

The most far reaching tool for fighting global corruption is the United Nations Convention against Corruption. The adoption of the UN Convention, eight years ago, was widely hailed as a major breakthrough, establishing a comprehensive global framework for combating corruption. It provides a model for anti-corruption legislation and a framework for a level playing field. It obliges signatories to ensure there are anti-corruption bodies and justice system capable of preventing and prosecuting corruption in both public and private sectors.

Our goal is to learn from the successes and challenges remaining of the Inter-American Convention at an international level. TI also reports on implementation of the OECD convention against bribery of public officials and has sought to encourage member states to do more to incentivise good corporate behaviour.

At the same time, we have sought to Outside of international conventions, governments have plenty of options for cleaning up corrupt practices in everything from budgeting to public procurement. In Venezuela our chapter found a 125 per cent difference between oil revenues from the OPEC member as given in the 2012 budget bill and figures it calculated based on information presented by the President, begging the question of where the extra money will go and showing why budget transparency is so important.

Strong overseers can further essay on role of civil society in combating corruption the hand of government. Institutional ombudsmen, supreme audits and anti-corruption commissions that are independent, professional and properly resourced make up the basic elements of a strong system to defeat graft. With elections occurring nearly daily around the globe one cannot forget the importance of government rule-making that separates the influence of money from political campaigns, the importance of strong and independent Electoral Commissions and full transparency in contributions paid to candidates and to political parties.

Promoting clean business Clean government goes hand-in-hand with clean business. We encourage companies to adopt and report on anti-corruption programmes in their company, their subsidiaries and throughout supply chains, but we also want to see more transparency about the operations of those supply chains. TI rates companies for their disclosure of anti-corruption plans and their operations in third countries.

For the review of oil and gas company transparency we released in 2011, we recommended that companies publish what they pay to each government where they operate. We also recommended that they publish where their subsidiaries are registered and who their equity holders are.

Only by putting resources behind investigators and giving political backing to the prosecutors will we create a genuine disincentive to bad corporate behaviour, and truly ensure that no one is above the law. One potential positive result is that people will take a greater role in monitoring the management of that public good from now on. With this growing sense of public responsibility, there is a massive constituency for organisations like yours who help people make their voice heard.

  1. In this regard, channels of communication must be established to enable civil society organizations and ordinary citizens, including vulnerable populations, to express their opinions and these must be taken into consideration in the monitoring processes.
  2. Corrupt activities in the public and private sectors should be criminalised.
  3. TI also reports on implementation of the OECD convention against bribery of public officials and has sought to encourage member states to do more to incentivise good corporate behaviour.
  4. Some tax havens, for example, have more registered companies and trusts per capita than industrial states. But this demonstrated the very real threat faced by governments who do not stop corruption.
  5. It should develop a clear process to monitor implementation.