Creating Synergies for Technical Assistance short report

Karen Hussmann, Georg Huber-Grabenwarter, Okey Onyejekwe, Dedo Geinitz, Harald Mathisen, Manzoor Hasan, 13th IACC, Workshop report, Development, Civil Society, Private Sector



Number and title of workshop

Workshop 3.6, “Creating Synergies for Technical Assistance”


Date and timeof workshop

31. October 2008, 14:00 – 16:00


Moderator (Name and Institution)

Karen Hussmann, Anti-Corruption & Governance Expert, Consultant __________________________________________________________________________

Rapporteur (Name and Institution)

Georg Huber-Grabenwarter, German Technical Cooperation (GTZ), the German UNCAC Project


Panellists(Name, institution, title)

  1. Prof. Okey Onyejekwe, Expert African Governance, UN Economic Commission for Africa
  2. Dr. Dedo Geinitz, Development Economist and Director of GTZ UNCAC Project
  3. Harald W. Mathisen, Project Coordinator, U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute
  4. Manzoor Hasan, Director, Institute of Governance Studies, BRAC University Bangladesh


Main Issues Covered

Technical Assistance (TA) is an important tool in order to support anti-corruption efforts of developing countries. This is also highlighted by the fact that the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) devotes TA a high priority for the effective implementation of the Convention (chapter VI). So far, however, for the effective delivery of TA essential donor coordination has proofed to be difficult and despite the fact that donors recently started to include also non-state actors like civil society (organisations) and the private sector in the fight against corruption, donors still largely focus on supporting government institutions when supplying TA. This workshop hence aimed at answering the following questions:

  • Whether TA should more frequently support civil society or the private sector when fighting corruption?
  • If yes, how this can be done?
  • How donor coordination can be improved (not only) in the area of anti-corruption?

For this purpose four panellists coming from different institutions and regions presented their views on these topics. Harald Mathisen started with a critical analysis of TA, giving a short introduction in what is meant by TA, whether the delivery of TA so far has worked or not and what have been the reasons for the failure / success of TA so far. Dr. Dedo Geinitz then explained the question of including non-state actors in the fight against corruption from a German Technical Cooperation and Prof. Onyejekwe from an African point of view. Finally, Manzoor Hasan presented the positive experiences a civil society organisation has made in supporting governance efforts to fight corruption in Bangladesh.

Main Outcomes

  • TA has so far often not yielded the desired results. This is due to multiple reasons including that TA is to a large extent supply driven and dominated by Western values and concepts (however, it was acknowledged that it is difficult to quantify TA and thus also difficult to judge whether TA has been a success or failure so far).
  • Donor coordination and alignment have not sufficiently worked in certain areas, which is not only the fault of the donors but sometimes also reflects the interest of governments. The political will of governments to coordinate TA is key to success.
  • Past experiences have demonstrated that anti-corruption efforts to a large degree have not been sustainable and institutions supported via TA may turn to be corrupt after the disappearance of TA.
  • In order to effectively fight corruption, a holistic approach is needed involving many actors – including civil society organisations and the private sector. The support to local NGOs has multiple advantages including the fact that they know best local customs, institutions and deeply rooted traditions. Their capacity building is crucial.
  • Donors are confronted with a dilemma in that they negotiate and make agreements with governments that sometimes are suppressive and create environments for NGOs that do not allow them to sufficiently participate in the fight against corruption. Nevertheless, donors have already supported civil society (organisations) in different areas at least since the 90s.
  • NGOs active in the fight against corruption, amongst which TI-Chapters are often dominant, often show a certain deficit in terms of legitimacy and in the capacity to learn, but have nevertheless demonstrated that they are capable of doing good work. Nevertheless, they are often constrained by the environment they have to work in (human rights violations etc.).
  • Corruption is not a stand-alone-issue but has to be seen in the context of governance. Ownership, alignment, mutual accountability and harmonisation are key requirements for an effective fight against corruption.
  • The issue of domestication of major anti-corruption conventions is one of the biggest challenges.
  • The participation of civil society organisations in anti-corruption efforts of governments and supported by donors can work, which has been demonstrated by the example from Bangladesh. The Institute of Governance Studies (IGS) successfully supported governance and anti-corruption efforts, one example of which was a UNCAC compliance gap analysis. Support was also given to this initiative by GTZ and the Basel Institute on Governance.
  • Such initiatives can also be sustainable, strengthen local capacities and contribute to south-south synergies which is demonstrated by the facts that Bangladesh has started to do a follow up process on the compliance review and that IGS now advises the Kenyan authorities that are currently undertaking the same exercise with the experiences they have made.

Recommendations, Follow-up Actions

Anti-corruption efforts should take place on a global, regional and local level, should involve many actors, including civil society and the private sector (it should also involve, e.g., business associations, trade unions or lawyer associations), and should be sustainable. For that to happen, local initiatives should be supported on a long-term basis. Donors should also play a “catalyst role” between governments and civil society. At the same time, Western donors should not stick to the perception that their values are of a higher nature and believe that what has worked for them, must also work for others. TA needs to be more tailored to needs and realities in partner countries. Conditionality should not happen with respect to TA in the context of anti-corruption. Alignment, harmonisation, mutual accountability, ownership and especially a strong political will to fight corruption are key prerequisites for successful anti-corruption TA initiatives. Governments should also take initiatives in order to make donor coordination more efficient. Civil society should be included into monitoring and catalyzing donor coordination in the framework of aid effectiveness.

Workshop Highlights (including interesting quotes)



  • Corruption is not a stand-alone issue – it is intimate ingredient of governance issues
  • If it works for us, it’ll work for you




pdfCreating Synergies for Technical Assistance short report

Brazil 2012

Brazil 2012

IACC Video

IACC Video