WS 5.4 Making Participation Work – Tools to Engage Victims of Corruption long report

Kulan Amin, Anupama Jha, Tinatin Ninua, Given Lubinda, Robert Lugolobi, Claire Schouten, Karanveer Singh, Anga Timilsina, 14th IACC, Workshop report, Development, Civil Society

 

Long WORKSHOP REPORT FORM

Number and title of workshop: WS # 5.4 Making Participation Work – Tools to Engage Victims of Corruption and Champions in Public Office to Reach the MDGs
 
Coordinators: Kulan Amin, Transparency International - Secretariat
 
Date and time: 11 November, 2010. 17-30 19.30 hrs
 
Moderator: Anupama Jha, Transparency International - India
 
Rapporteur: Tinatin Ninua, Transparency International - Secretariat
 
Panellists
Anga Timilsina, Coordinator – UNDP Global Thematic Programme on Anti-Corruption for Development Effectiveness (PACDE), Democratic Governance Group (DGG)
Hon. Given Lubinda, Chair of the African Parliamentarians Network against Corruption (APNAC), Vice Chair of Global Parliamentarians Network Against Corruption (GOPAC) and Member of Parliament of Zambia
Claire Schouten, Sr. Programme Manager, Network for Integrity in Reconstruction, TIRI
Karanveer Singh, Chairman of the elected Local Government (Panchayat), Bhadrajun, Rajasthan, India and Member of the district level Water Association (Jal Parishad)
Robert Lugolobi, Executive Director, Transparency International, Uganda
 
Summary
 
The workshop aimed to showcase tools that tap into existing individual and collective efforts to prevent corruption in development processes. Anga Timilsina, UNDP, opened the workshop with a presentation on links between corruption and the challenge of achieving the MDGs. An area of concern has been the lack of integration of anti-corruption efforts into developmental and sector-specific efforts. The need to move beyond technical and financial concerns to a more comprehensive approach to governance was seen as essential to address the short-falls of previous initiatives. 
 
Subsequent presentations focused on accountability initiatives in various political and developmental contexts. The Hon. Given Lubinda, APNAC, introduced the Social Contract pioneered by him in cooperation with local councillors in his parliamentary constituency in Zambia to provide evidence of his commitment to deliver on his election-time promises. Karanveer Singh, elected Panchayat Chair, addressed the challenges of practicing integrity in isolation and delivering on promises in a local constituency (Panchayat) in India. Claire Schouten, TIRI, shared examples of community-driven accountability in Afghanistan, Palestine, Liberia and Sierra Leone and their positive impact. Robert Lugolobi, TI Uganda, showed how voluntary accountability committees brought together communities and service providers through a Pact (Ekyombo) to improve the delivery of health services.
 
The mismatch between public expectations and available resources & between development promises and the ability of political representatives to deliver came out strongly. The role of leaders was seen as only one side of the equation, with civil society making a contribution to a more discerning electorate and the setting of realistic targets. The need to involve the administration and the executive to ensure the delivery of promises was emphasized. A cross-cutting theme was the need to engage citizens in choosing leaders of integrity. Discussions showed the disconnect between the political and development debate. Addressing entrenched corruption was seen to work only through a collective effort involving citizens/ communities, administrations and the political leadership. 2
 
Summary of presentations

Anga Timilsina’s (UNDP) opening presentation shared the findings of the recent synthesis report on the Millennium Development Goals and identified linkages between identified acceleration efforts and anti-corruption tools and methodologies (see http://content.undp.org/go/cms-service/stream/asset/?asset_id=2620072.). The synthesis report looks at major bottlenecks to achieving the MDGs as well as a possible acceleration framework. It was pointed out that sectoral and anti-corruption practitioners often work in parallel and are not aware of how their work impacts on each other. Professionals working in sectors, such as doctors, civil engineers, teachers lack an anti-corruption background and it is hard to integrate anti-corruption efforts in their work. Given this context, the UNDP had commissioned 3 studies in sectors of health, education and water that go beyond earlier approaches. Sectoral approaches to date focus on management related issues (especially financial) and less attention has been paid to governance problems. The tendency is to track budgets and see if books were bought or not. The quality of books, or the fact of whether they were distributed to school girls or not, get overlooked. It was emphasized that there is a great need to integrate anti-corruption efforts and MDGs. Politicians, have a limited exposure to the MDGs and there are challenges facing parliamentarians or politicians in that regard. However, there are champions who care about corruption. In looking ahead the focus should be on long term capacity building, including strengthening political parties. 
 
Hon. Given Lubinda (APNAC, VC GOPAC) spoke about the Social Contract, an accountability tool pioneered by him during his re-election campaign in Zambia in 2007. The Social Contract was developed in response to experiences made in his first tenure. The constituency held him accountable for promises made by the party manifesto. In theabsence of his own plan of action, had spent his time fire-fighting without being able to explain his contribution. The social contract allowed him to formulate his own candidate level manifesto, capturing the concerns of his constituency and providing a strategy for addressing them, incl. when these were not in his direct control. This first contract was onesided. The social contract was designed in cooperation with 5 ward-level councillors. The councillors pledged that every one of them would organize quarterly meetings and he as an MP would be a participant. The Social Contract also obliged him and the councillors not to pay bribes to the contractors to do their work. The contract was printed and disseminated to numerous households in the constituency. He described the Social Contract as ideally being an agreement between individuals or groups of individuals, which allows them to judge the performance of the politician. Commitments in the contracts/pacts should be very specific. It deepens the participation of people in the political process beyond merely voting, while also addressing the perception that politicians are focused on personal gains. His effort paid off at election time, with him being elected. Since then, people have been pushing this process in other communities in Zambia. TI Zambia has also provided an impetus by getting local level Development Pacts signed in Choma. He recommended for such contracts to be concluded in the pre-election period. However in principle such an approach can also create monitoring structures after an election on key development promises. 
 
Claire Schouten (TIRI) shared the findings of two years research in conflict and reconstruction environments on citizen participation and local accountability efforts. Using a graph for illustration, she showed how in a period of abundance of aid such after a humanitarian crisis, there is low capacity of absorption. The challenge for development actors is to build accountability mechanisms in such an environment. Experience shows that it is a question of competence; identifying and building capacity, contextualizing knowledge, engaging citizens in the negotiating process and designing local accountability mechanisms. Case studies were presented for Tiri’s work in Afghanistan, Palestine, Liberia and Sierra Leone that engaged citizens’ in monitoring of financial assistance and demanding accountability. These initiatives have helped to gather data from the beneficiaries and understand whether community projects are meeting the needs of the people. The examples 
included solid waste management in Palestine and mainstreaming social accountability through school education programmes. The case studies demonstrate that the integrity approach helps to build responsiveness through sustained collaborative forums. Sustainability remains a key challenge in many community based initiatives. The way is to depersonalise and institutionalise these efforts. An example is getting buy-in from the Ministry of Education for social accountability approaches in schools and ensuring a wide adoption across the sector. 
 
Karanveer Singh (Sarpanch, Badrajun Panchayat) related his experience of working at the lowest level of local government in India, as a ‘grass-root’ politician. Having returned to his native village, he decided to counter the popular perception of politicians as being corrupt. Mr Singh highlighted some of the challenges he faced right after having been elected. His commitment to bring development projects to the village through the regular procedure of applying for funding from the budget could not be achieved in the first few months of his tenure. An entrenched system of percentages around the implementation of public works was waiting to be served. He faced pressure from the local community to focus on getting the funds and accepting the established system by which public funds were distributed. People were aware of the system of corruption and the damage to themselves, but did not see any possibility to go against it. This was a turning point for him, at which he realized that corruption takes place with the passive consent of the people. In his view, it is the people who elect a corrupt politician and allow a corrupt government to exist. To break this vicious cycle of corruption, work must start at the grass-root level. In his view, local engagement mechanisms such as the development pacts, give voters a chance to assist politicians in bringing about integrity and having a road map to follow. Party manifestos are made at national or state level and they may not be fully relevant for local communities. In order to make the pact work, one has to focus voters on performance, create a climate of cooperation with the administration and advocate for discretionary funding for local priorities. Other additional factors are important in making the accountability work. The role of NGOs, media pressure/recognition and financial incentives for good governance were pointed out as key factors supporting the process. It was also added that there needs to be a joint advocacy towards government on enabling legislation to support and replicate local efforts.
 
Robert Lugolobi, TI Uganda, presented the Chapter’s approach to counter public apathy and mobilize communities to participate in improving service delivery. Voluntary accountability committees brought communities and local service providers to the same table to address the performance of a health centre in Kyebe, Rakai. TI Uganda’s Pact (Ekyombo) allowed a constructive engagement and obtained the commitment of citizens, local government officials, health service providers and the political leader to meet jointly determined performance targets. With a history of chiefdoms and colonialism, leaders in Uganda have not been answerable to the people and civil servants have had limited experience of engaging the public. TI Uganda used the development pact to increase the space for dialogue, encourage the engagement of leaders and public authorities and increase the participation of citizens in joint problem solving. Uganda’s legal frameworks currently foresee a number of provisions for participation and accountability. Good practices exist and an increasing number of people are mobilized by NGOs to use existing provisions. 
TI Uganda’s development pact builds on these efforts. It provides a responsive framework that enables local communities to use legal provisions for their participation in specific sectors and flagship programmes. In the example of the Pact shown by TI Uganda, commitments included: 1. The improved provision of health services (including planned construction activities) 2. Access to information and oversight at the opening of medicinal supplies, redress of public grievances with regard to the services of health units 3. Support regular reviews of services. In a further step, TI Uganda intends to link its local efforts to set standards of services and ensure greater inclusion of community voices in discussions on the health and agricultural sector policy. 
 
Main Outputs

There was an agreement that more needed to be done to integrate anti-corruption tools in sectoral and local planning, and specific MDG related efforts.
 
The workshop created a shared understanding on the links between political and administrative corruption and the achievement of the MDGs. In particular in the  formulation of (often unrealistic) election promises there is scope to involve citizens in a dialogue on their priorities. Panellists were unanimous in agreeing on the role of citizens as key drivers of increased integrity and accountability in public policy and spending. 
 
Existing legal, political, administrative and donor accountability frameworks were seen as entry points for engaging local communities. The role of citizens, particularly at the time of choosing their representatives was seen as decisive. The vicious cycle of corruption was seen to involve government officials, who in turn were sustained by politicians elected by citizens.
 
The workshop gave insights into different accountability mechanisms initiated by, and involving, political, administrative and local communities as stakeholders. These included the Social Contracts, Development Pacts and Tiri’s citizens’ engagement in monitoring social programmes. Contracts/pacts between citizens and political / administrative representatives were seen as providing a yardstick to measure the performance of the politicians. 
 
It was recognized that there was a need for sustainable collaborative approach to address entrenched corruption and provide a larger constituency isolated actors and efforts. 
 
Recommendations, Follow-up Actions 

There were no clear recommendations and follow-up actions that were discussed in the workshop, due to a lack of time. Follow-up discussions outside the workshop showed that there was room for much in-country cooperation, as well as cross-regional cooperation on the parliamentarians network, but also the new local level initiatives shown in the film of TI Zambia. 
 
Panellists from the political sphere were clear in their commitment to continue experimenting with accountability tools to their constituency. The role of politicians in development and the need to invest in this area came out clearly, along with the need to bring the anti-corruption and MDG agenda closer together. It was seen as necessary to have a long-term capacity building approach to engage political actors in the MDG and anti-corruption effort.
 
It was also clear that a number of actors were facing similar challenges and that the initiatives presented by the panellists provided much scope for discussion and that the debate will continue.
 
An improved understanding was obtained on the use of incentive-based instruments such as the pact for building a multi-stakeholder effort involving politicians and the administration to improve public service delivery. Development pacts were seen to provide an accessible structure for greater citizen participation and monitoring.
 
Highlights (200 words please include interesting quotes)

“Corruption does not start from the government; politicians allow them to be corrupt. Politicians on the other hand, are corrupt because they are in power. And they are in power because people have voted for them”, - Karanveer Singh.
 
“I used the Social Contract as a campaign tool to protect myself from those amongst my constituency who always believe that politicians are source of private profits”, Given Lubinda.
 
“The pacts create awareness among the population and allow them to appreciate and practice their powers”, Robert Lugolobi.
 
Signed and date submitted
 
____Tinatin Ninua, 25.11.2010_________________________
pdfWS 5.4 Making Participation Work – Tools to Engage Victims of Corruption long report

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