1.6 Anti-Corruption Challenges in Post Conflict and Recovery Situations short report

Julia Keutgen, Dan Dionisie, Arkan El Seblani, Sarah Dix, Pauline Riak, Martin Rodriguez Pellecer, Karen Hussmann, 14th IACC, Workshop report, Governance, Human Security

 

Short WORKSHOP REPORT FORM

Number and title of workshop: 1.6 Anti-Corruption Challenges in Post Conflict and Recovery Situations
 
Coordinator: Julia Keutgen, Democratic Governance Group, UNDP
 
Date and time of workshop: Friday 12 November, 09:00 – 11:00
 
Moderator (Name and Institution): Dan Dionisie, Policy Specialist on Public Administration Reform and Anti-Corruption, Regional Bratislava Centre, UNDP
 
Rapporteur (Name and Institution): Arkan El Seblani, Legal Specialist, Regional Bureau for Arab States, UNDP
 
Panellists (Name, institution, title)
Sarah Dix, Independent Consultant
Karen Hussmann, Independent Researcher
Pauline Riak, Anti-Corruption Commission of Southern Sudan, Chairperson
Martin Rodriguez Pellecer, FLACSO Guatemala, Researcher
 
Main Issues Covered

The workshop analyzed the recent, yet rapidly growing, interest in anti-corruption in postconflict situations. This interest has been mainly driven by an emerging realization, primarily within the international community, that conflict and corruption are closely connected and that the prevalence of the latter may actually cause a relapse into violence. 
 
The workshop discussed how post-conflict situations lead to corruption, and how related dynamics differ compared to other situations, thus calling for the careful consideration of anticorruption interventions in post-conflict situations. The panellists discussed lessons learned from past country-specific interventions, by looking at five case studies that have been commissioned by UNDP, and addressed a host of key issues including the hindering limitations on political will at the national and international levels, the lack of attention to corruption and aid cycles, and the shortcomings of adopting traditional approaches to corruption in post conflict-situations. Two additional cases – Southern Sudan and Guatemala– here presented in more detail by national stakeholders to provide a practical dimension to  related discussions.
 
Main Outcomes

Participants gained a deeper understanding of how corruption undermines legitimacy in postconflict situations, weakens the fragile state and jeopardizes stability. They learned about the importance of understanding how a certain conflict ends in order to properly gauge the specificity of the situation in question, and thus be able to design more adequate responses, while taking into consideration other important factors. Such factors include the fluid lines between destabilizing and stabilizing forms of corruption; the particularities of the legacy of conflict-related corruption, which is different from corruption in post-disaster situations for example; the post-conflict multiplier effect; and the wealth of resources, which is usually caused by large foreign aid inflows and, many times, by the existence of significant natural resources.
 
Participants examined specific anti-corruption interventions in a number of countries drawing on UNDP-commissioned case studies (Sierra Leone, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Timor Leste) and presentations from national stakeholders from Southern Sudan and Guatemala. They explored related approaches and lessons learned. As a result, they differentiated between nation-building approaches, which tend to invite a complicated set of difficulties, and state-building approaches which seem to have better chances for success. They learned about the importance of paying attention to the vulnerabilities of non-state actors in post-conflict situations, when deciding to support them, including internal integrity, capacities and sustainability issues. Participants considered the critical value of analysing political feasibility before “springing into action” and the added value of prioritizing achievable policy interventions, which have not been adequately supported in post-conflict situations so far. Participants also explored how the lack of genuine political will at the national and international levels may adversely affect the efforts to fight corruption in post-conflict situations and agreed on the need to adopt contextualized approaches to anticorruption in post-conflict situations, taking into account the relationship between corruption and aid processes, the need to avoid technocratic solutions to a problem which is essentially political, and the importance of addressing the deficits in current approaches (i) at the developmental level, where related approaches are fragmented and isolated, and (ii) at the political level, where there is no open dialogue between stakeholders and little connections between discourse and action. 
 
Main Outputs

The workshop summarized findings on a series of anti-corruption interventions in post-conflict situations in seven cases (Sierra Leone, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Timor Leste, Southern Sudan and Guatemala), and discussed the implications of lessons learned from these cases for the international community as well as for national stakeholders. 
 
The workshop promoted interactive discussions on the particularities of corruption in postconflict situations drawing on rich inputs from different viewpoints (international community, government and civil society). It called for an in-depth understanding of the context in question using political economy analysis; it advocated the need to generate better data and prioritize and focus actions based on notions of shared responsibility, and using a statebuilding lens.
 
Recommendations, Follow-up Actions

Key recommendations emanating from the discussions include: 
 
1. Important issues that need to be taken into consideration when considering anticorruption intervention in post conflict situations include:
 
• ensuring clear political commitment 
 
• identifying institutional entry points in governance systems, such as access to information and social accountability and transparency
 
• beginning as early as possible after the conflict ends
 
• demonstrating commitment on the supply side (e.g. donor budget transparency)
 
• supporting non-state actors in a more strategic manner
 
• building in more time for the process of consultation, collaboration, dialogue
 
• improving coordination between different stakeholders
 
2. Adopting a state building lens to address corruption in post conflict situations is likely to prove more useful given the particularities of such situations; adopting a state-building lens means prioritizing and focusing action and favouring support in areas such as political settlement, security, revenues and taxation, rule of Law, economic development, and service delivery. 
 
3. Donors are invited to consider the following 
 
• Developmental-level suggestions: disentangle the term “corruption” for actionable measures; integrate corruption assessments and mitigating measures into core
areas/programmes/sectors; foster local accountability of reconstruction and monitoring of aid money; avoid focus on single anti-corruption body; address cycle of corruption and aid.
 
• Political-level suggestions: forge national and international consensus on key integrity goals; build the case for early political dialogue; manage public discourse carefully and avoid hollow demands or unrealistic promises; and establish links with international initiatives.
 
Workshop Highlights (including interesting quotes)

Corruption and conflict are linked. Often, disregarding the former might lead into a relapse into violence and the resumption of conflict. 
 
Business-as-usual approaches are not likely to work in post-conflict situations; there is an urgent need to consider the added value of addressing corruption from a state-building lens. 
 
Signed and date submitted
13 November 2010
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Please submit this workshop report to the workshop assistant after its completion.
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