WS 5.1. Setting Anti-Corruption Agenda for MDGs Long Report

Huguette Labelle, Christian Gruenberg, Phil Matsheza, Magdalena Sepulveda, Mamiki Thabitha Shai, Minar Pimple, Renata Nowak-Garmer, Anga Timilsina, 14th IACC, Workshop report, Development, Human Security, Civil Society

 

Long WORKSHOP REPORT FORM

Number and title of workshop: WS 5.1. Setting Anti-Corruption Agenda for MDGs: Challenges and Opportunities
 
Coordinators: Anga Timilsina, UNDP
 
Date and time: November 10, 2010
 
Moderator: Huguette Labelle, Transparency International
 
Rapporteur: Renata Nowak-Garmer, UNDP
 
Panellists (Name, institution, title)
Christian Gruenberg, International Council on Human Rights Policy, Researcher
Phil Matsheza, UNDP, Anti-Corruption Advisor
Minar Pimple, UN Millennium Campaign Asia-Pacific, Director
Magadalena Sepulveda, UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty
Mamiki Thabitha Shai, Public Protector, South Africa
 
Summary
 
The workshop discussed the impact of various forms of corruption on the achievement of MDGs against the backdrop of the recent UN MDG Summit 2010 where countries’ progress on the Goals has been reviewed. Corruption, lack of transparency and accountability has been identified as one of the major obstacles hindering the development by diverting or leakages of resources, mismanagement, illicit financial flows that amount to $1.8 trillion annually and by infringement on human rights. Reducing levels of corruption would contribute to the acceleration of progress toward the MDGs. This has been recognized in the MDG Summit Outcome Document as well as in the UN Secretary General’s report, Keeping the Promise. UNDP current efforts in anti-corruption will therefore focus on assisting the countries
to mainstream their anti-corruption efforts into sectors, such as health, education and water. 
 
According to the latest statistics, excluding China and India that are the major contributors to progress on the MDGs, the number of people living in poverty has increased. The UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty supported the case for the acceleration efforts on the MDGs especially in sub-Saharan Africa.
 
Social protection schemes have been introduced in many countries as a way to address extreme poverty. However, special attention should be paid to ensuring that social protection schemes include anti-corruption mechanisms as they often provide a fertile ground for corruption especially for those living in extreme poverty. Not being aware of their rights and entitlements, the extreme poor, women and indigenous peoples are particularly vulnerable to corruption, political manipulation and abuse. Conditional social protection schemes (such as conditional cash transfers) are particularly prone to corruption.
 
Increasing access to information and transparency concerning such programmes has been stressed as one of the ways to address corruption in the area of social protection. The information on government programmes for those living in poverty should be made accessible, available and should be culturally adequate and acceptable. Furthermore, a clear and simple complaint mechanism should be established for reporting on the cases of abuse of such programmes. The modern technologies, especially mobiles could be applied for this purpose. 
 
Finally, civil society has a fundamental role to play in monitoring MDG funding, government budgets and policies and their implementation. International community
as well as governments themselves should work toward engagement and empowerment of women and youth in this context. 
 
Summary of presentations (300 words per panellist)

Note: the summaries are presented in speaking of the presenters
 
Phil Matsheza, UNDP, Anti-Corruption Advisor
 
Phil Matsheza discussed the impact of various forms of corruption on the achievement of MDGs against the backdrop of the recent UN MDG Summit 2010 where countries’ progress on the Goals has been reviewed. In particular, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has worked on analysing countries performance on MDGs through its system of MDG reporting. In 34 country reports synthesized in the recent UNDP Report, What Will it Take to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals? (UNDP, September 2010), corruption was not identified as a major factor hindering the achievement of the Goals. However, while countries might not have reported on corruption as the major issue, UNDP’s recent analysis of country-level progress, identified governance issues, including corruption as a major
obstacle to MDG progress. There is enough evidence to make a case for anti-corruption work. 
 
The presenter further stressed that corruption, lack of transparency and accountability hinders the development by diverting or leakages of resources, mismanagement, illicit financial flows that amount to staggering $1.8 trillion and that otherwise could be made available for investments into MDGs. According to a 2008 Transparency International Report, corruption raises the cost of supplying water to the poor by 30%. 
 
Reducing levels of corruption would contribute to the acceleration of progress toward the MDGs. This has been recognized in the MDG Summit Outcome Document as well as in the UN Secretary General’s report, Keeping the Promise. To that end, UNDP’s most immediate anti-corruption work will focus on assisting the countries to mainstream their anti-corruption efforts into sectors, such as health, education and water. 
 
The presentation concluded with a call for scaling up anti-corruption efforts, including support to legal frameworks, technical assistance at the country level and knowledge and capacity building on this topic.
 
Magdalena Sepulveda, UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty
 
According to the latest statistics, excluding China and India that are the major contributors to progress on the MDGs, the number of people living in poverty has increased. The UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty supported the case for the acceleration efforts on the MDGs especially in sub-Saharan Africa. In sub-Saharan Africa, if the current trend continues, the MDGs will be met in 2076. Based on the recent MDG Summit and the Outcome Documented adopted by the states, the world has seen progress on MDGs, but the road ahead is still very long. 
 
Social protection schemes have been introduced in many countries as a way to address extreme poverty and as a way to shield the population against the adverse effects of the financial and economic crisis. However, special attention should be paid to ensuring that social protection schemes include anti-corruption mechanisms as they often provide a fertile ground for corruption especially for those living in extreme poverty. Not being aware of their rights and entitlements, the extreme poor, women and indigenous peoples are particularly vulnerable to corruption, political manipulation and abuse. Information on such programmes should be made accessible, available and culturally adequate. For example, if the information on cash transfer programmes in Ecuador is available only in Spanish, the indigenous populations who do not speak Spanish but usually are among the poorest, are excluded. Furthermore, the transparency and accountability mechanisms imbedded into such programmes should take into consideration the dynamics of power, including asymmetry of power between men and women. Increasing access to information and transparency concerning such programmes has been stressed as one of the ways to address corruption in the area of social protection. 
 
The presentation stressed that rights-based approach should be incorporated within the MDGs agenda and the participation of beneficiaries and civil society in general is crucial. 
 
Christian Gruenberg, International Council on Human Rights Policy, Researcher
 
In his presentation, Chrisitian Gruenberg discussed how the human rights principles and standards can be applied in furthering the Gender Equality (MDG 3) and maternal health (MDG5) goals based on the Latina American context. 
 
In particular, he talked about sexual and reproductive rights that have been invisible in policy debate for the past 15 years and which are critical especially for poor, indigenous, and Afrodescendents women. However, new tools are needed to assess the efficacy of anti-corruption efforts (policies, initiatives, etc.) from the human rights perspective. In Argentina and Mexico, new accountability mechanisms are currently being developed to empower women to challenge corruption. As an example, he has cited medical doctors who, according to women in Latin America are the main actors abusing the patient-doctor relations. For example, women should have an opportunity to file complains that meet four basic human rights standards: availability, accessibility, adaptability, acceptability. In Argentina and Mexico they can do so via hotlines where they don’t need to disclose their identity and thus avoid intimidation that is often associated with face to face interactions. 
 
Christian Gruenberg concluded with a statement that the anti-corruption community needs a new paradigm that includes specific needs of women. 
 
Minar Pimple, UN Millennium Campaign Asia-Pacific, Director
 
Minar Pimple’s speech focused on civil society’s critical role in monitoring MDG funding, government budgets and policies and their implementation. International community as well as governments themselves should work toward engagement and empowerment of women and youth in this context.
 
He referred to the Millennium Declaration that is the basis for the MDGs and that has been unjustly forgotten by the international community. The Declaration was adopted in 2000 by all 89 states and provided a framework for the global cooperation through a set of set of interrelated commitments, goals and targets on development, governance, peace, security and human rights. The Declaration asserts that all have right to live in dignity. Corruption is infringing on that and is fundamentally contrary to the Millennium Declaration and MDGs. Since 2005 when the first MDG Summit took place, many countries have integrated MDGs as part of their plans and budgets. They have relatively good policies, but in many cases, the delivery system is systemically flawed with corruption. 
 
UN Millennium Campaign works with non-government actors to facilitate and supports citizens for achievement of MDGs. Civil society has a fundamental role to play in monitoring MDG funding, government budgets and policies and their implementation. International community as well as governments themselves should work toward engagement and empowerment of women and youth in this context. Governments’ monitoring systems should be designed in a way that would allow for real time monitoring. For example, the budget should be transparent and non-technocratic. The modern technologies, especially mobiles could be applied for this purpose.
 
For better policy making we need more disaggregated data. Finally, investments should be made into building up the capacity of civil society to increase its ability to monitor governments’ actions.
 
Mamiki Thabitha Shai, Public Protector, South Africa
 
Mamiki Thabitha Shai has presented the mission and mandate of the Public Protector Office of South Africa. The mandate of this independent oversight institution is to strengthen constitutional democracy by investigating and redressing improper and prejudicial conduct, maladministration and abuse of power. It aims to make the public sector decision-making and service delivery fair, responsive and accountable. The office can investigate any public official, including the e president.
 
She has stated that while there are enough institutions in South Africa to fight corruption, more attention should be paid to prevention. There is no agency clearly tasked with prevention that would promote good governance, access to information, whistle blowing or freedom of press.
 
Main Outputs

Please see the following section.
 
Recommendations, Follow-up Actions

Some of the recommendations from this workshop include the following:
- Social protection schemes should include anti-corruption mechanisms as they often provide a fertile ground for corruption especially for those living in extreme poverty.
- Increasing access to information and transparency concerning social protection is key in addressing corruption in the area of social protection.
- The information on government programmes for those living in poverty should be made accessible, available and should be culturally adequate and acceptable.
- Civil society has a fundamental role to play in monitoring MDG funding, government budgets and policies and their implementation. International community as well as governments themselves should work toward engagement and empowerment of women and youth in this context.
- Rights-based approach should be incorporated within the MDGs agenda 
- Reducing levels of corruption will contribute to the acceleration of progress toward the MDGs.
- The extreme poor, women and indigenous peoples are particularly vulnerable to corruption, political manipulation and abuse.
- Increased efforts should be on protecting those who denounce corruption, also at the community-level.
- The new anti-corruption paradigm is needed that would include specific needs of women.
 
Highlights

- Reducing levels of corruption will contribute to the acceleration of progress toward the MDGs.
- The extreme poor, women and indigenous peoples are particularly vulnerable to corruption, political manipulation and abuse.
- “Protect those who denounce corruption; also on community-level.” 
- “We need a new paradigm that includes specific needs of women.”
- “Civil society should own the MDGs.”
 
Signed and date submitted
Renata Nowak-Garmer
9 December 2010
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