Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Uniting to Confront Corruption (April-May 2014)

Good Principles and Good Practices
Many claim to have unfailing love,
but a faithful person who can find?
Proverbs 20:6 NIV

There are a growing number of efforts across sectors to prevent and deal with corruption.  This entry highlights 10 of them, many having a global reach. We strongly welcome these efforts and encourage people to rally behind them!

To be effective, major anti-corruption efforts need consensus on guiding principles, unity in public support, and commitment to practical applications. Practical applications can be very challenging though, where these hindering factors exist: limited experience/interest in dealing with corruption; risks of reprisals and lack of whistleblower protection; threats to livelihoods, revenue streams, status, reputations, public opinion, and power structures; and desires to maintain the belief that one’s personal/organisational “world” is safe, good, and impervious to corruption. The result of these hindrances is often a substantial and deceptive gap between our good principles and our good practices—ultimately at the expense of vulnerable people, especially the poor of the world.

PETRA People Update
The 10 examples featured in this entry reflect the encouraging upsurge in the global efforts to confront corruption. They highlight the potential for substantial progress in the church-mission and humanitarian sectors along with the United Nations. The PETRA People Network has been consistent with and is part of this new upsurge of united efforts as it calls for action in the international NCI fraud. To quote the Network’s Shine the Light-Together!  petition:
This petition is a call to many organizations and people, especially in the church and mission community (CMC), to transparently and verifiably disclose how they have been affected. Members of these organizations (past and present), donors, and the public are asked to help by respectfully and resolutely calling for the assistance of those affected by NCI. Millions of euros and dollars are still missing.

Next steps: Present the petition with the 100+ signatories/comments to organisations affected by the NCI fraud.  Share the results and encourage these organisations to do the same.  People will thus have another opportunity to get on board with the growing efforts to prevent and deal with corruption—to close the gap between good principles and good practices. It is not too late to respond to the calls for integrity and action--retroactive integrity can still be very helpful.

Current Efforts to Unite Against Corruption

1. Church Mission Sector
Exposed Campaign (petition)
“We are a global coalition of individuals, organisations and churches committed to shining a light on corrupt practices and systems which affect us all, but particularly the poorest, sabotaging essential public service provision…..We are encouraging local action around the globe by citizens wanting to expose and stand up to corruption. We are encouraging churches to talk and preach about corruption, and ensure they are transparent and honest in their own practices. And we're gathering 1 million signatures to take to the world's most powerful leaders - the G20 - meeting in Brisbane in November 2014….to take practical steps that promote greater transparency in the financial affairs of business, government and individuals. Together we can influence them to make it harder for corrupt practices to flourish; including bribery, tax evasion, and abuse of public influence–all of which impact poorest people the most.“

Thirty Pieces of Silver (study/reflection for Lent 2014)
“[This study is an] exploration of corruption, bribery, transparency, and justice in the Scriptures…Spirituality and resisting corruption are closely tied together in the Bible where right behaviour is inextricably linked to the worship of God. This shapes attitudes to corruption throughout the Bible.”

“What part does corruption play in your life? That may seem a strange question to ask an audience such as this. Many may answer that, of course, as Christians, we would have nothing whatsoever to do with it. But others among us live with the dire consequences of corruption every day. Our assertion in this paper is that, whether we recognize it or not, we are all caught up in one form or another of corruption or its consequences and, as Evangelical Christians, we need to do more to prepare and engage in the fight against it.”

The results of the 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index of Transparency International indicate the seriousness of the worldwide corruption problem. Although recent decades have witnessed a global public awareness and an increase in attempts to eradicate corruption, it is an ongoing problem. It is evident that legislation is not an effective deterrent and it should therefore also be tackled at grass roots level by involving ordinary citizens, including Christians. On an individual level, it entails personal honesty and the living of exemplary lives. The golden rule of Jesus Christ can serve as a guiding principle for everyday life, namely do to others what you would have them do to you. On the public level, it requires the willingness to act as whistle-blowers. Christians are called and sanctioned by God to participate actively in society’s transformation. They need to think ethically and to act with the proper attitude.”

2. Humanitarian Sector
“The…Standard outlines the key commitments to improve the quality, effectiveness and accountability of humanitarian action. It consists of 10 commitments, each with accompanying core requirements, indicators and means of verification to help organisations respect the commitment and to assess their level of application both at the organisational and operational level. The Standard includes organisational, operational and individual aspects; it describes the necessary capacities, responsibilities and performance measures. These measures are essential for the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of accountable and high-quality and effective humanitarian programmes.  [Note: The Standard is still in development. Commitments 6 and 9 are especially relevant in ant-corruption efforts—Complaints Handling and Stewardship of Resources.]

[This Charter] is an initiative of international NGOs demonstrating their commitment to transparency, accountability and effectiveness. The Charter provides the only global, cross-sectoral accountability framework for NGOs. The Charter defines principles towards which the Members report annually. This [framework] triggers organisational developments which have significantly improved the effectiveness of NGOs.

Preventing Corruption in Humanitarian Operations (2010, Transparency International)
“The handbook is designed to help anyone working in the humanitarian sector identify and prevent the corruption risks faced by their particular organisation or department, or within a specific programme or role. It does not try to set out industry-wide standards for aid agencies in emergencies. Rather, it describes ‘what to do’ to minimise corruption risks, while numerous reference documents attached offer technical details on ‘how to do it’.

“IATI is a voluntary, multi-stakeholder initiative that seeks to improve the transparency of aid in order to increase its effectiveness in tackling poverty. IATI brings together donor and developing countries, civil society organisations and other experts in aid information who share the aspirations of the original IATI Accra Statement 2008 and are committed to working together to increase the transparency of aid.”

3. United Nations
“Corruption is an insidious plague that has a wide range of corrosive effects on societies. It undermines democracy and the rule of law, leads to violations of human rights, distorts markets, erodes the quality of life and allows organized crime, terrorism and other threats to human security to flourish. This evil phenomenon is found in all countries—big and small, rich and poor—but it is in the developing world that its effects are most destructive. Corruption hurts the poor disproportionately by diverting funds intended for development, undermining a Government’s ability to provide basic services, feeding inequality and injustice and discouraging foreign aid and investment. Corruption is a key element in economic underperformance and a major obstacle to poverty alleviation and development. I am therefore very happy that we now have a new instrument to address this scourge at the global level. The adoption of the United Nations Convention against Corruption will send a clear message that the international community is determined to prevent and control corruption. It will warn the corrupt that betrayal of the public trust will no longer be tolerated. And it will reaffirm the importance of core values such as honesty, respect for the rule of law, accountability, and transparency in promoting development and making the world a better place for all.” (from the Foreword by Kofi Anan)

The UN Global Compact is a strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. By doing so, business, as a primary driver of globalization, can help ensure that markets, commerce, technology and finance advance in ways that benefit economies and societies everywhere. As social, political and economic challenges (and opportunities)—whether occurring at home or in other regions—affect business more than ever before, many companies recognize the need to collaborate and partner with governments, civil society, labour and the United Nations. This ever-increasing understanding is reflected in the Global Compact's rapid growth. With over 12,000 corporate participants and other stakeholders from over 145 countries, it is the largest voluntary corporate responsibility initiative in the world.”
Unite against corruption.
Do what is right, even if there are risks.
Act resolutely to protect vulnerable people.
Close the gaps between good principles and good practices!

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1 comment:

  1. Current anti-corruption efforts at all levels, local to global: Uniting people who are committed to uniting good principles and good practices.