Skip to main content

Anti-corruption in the OGP: new year, new opportunities

José María Marín

On 29 January 2019, Transparency International unveiled its 2018 edition of the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). Unfortunately, it did not bear good news. More than two-thirds of countries score below 50 — a score of 100 means no perceived corruption — and the average score was just 43. Although many of the usual suspects are still at the top and bottom, there are worrying signs that no country is exempt from the tentacles of corruption. In the worst-case scenario, countries live with serious petty and high-level corruption or, in the best case, a country’s financial system is an accessory to cross-border flows of corrupt money. From the top to the bottom, all countries can do more to tackle corruption. Read our analysis of the 2018 CPI results and more on why high scoring countries aren’t corruption free.

You may ask yourself why, after years of anti-corruption efforts around the world, are we still seeing such underwhelming results? There is no denying that some progress has been made. For two decades there have been some tangible advances, for example most countries in the world have ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption and are part of several other international and regional legal instruments on anti-corruption. At the national level, anti-corruption reforms have passed through parliaments, and new laws on access to information have been enacted. However, whilst many countries take pride in their legal frameworks and continue to make more commitments, the story is very different when it comes to implementation.

This should not come as a surprise. The hardest part is always implementation. It is at this stage that all the roadblocks come to light: political push-back, lack of technical capacity, changes in leadership and inadequate funding are some of the common reasons for slow or no progress in implementing anti-corruption reforms. As a result, tackling these challenges is necessary to ensure that promises turn into action and actions turn into results — in this case, less corruption and better quality of life for everyone.

One of the ways we are seeking to tackle the implementation gap is by joining forces with the Open Government Partnership (OGP). For the past three years we have been collaborating to ensure that the OGP — as an implementing mechanism of policy reform — includes ambitious reforms in national action plans that seek to enhance the ability of governments to prevent, detect and sanction corruption. The OGP promotes implementation through providing a national-level mechanism to consult on, develop and commit in writing to concrete commitments that are time-bound, monitored and assessed. This includes commitments made in international forums such as the UK Anti-Corruption Summit and, most recently, during the 2018 International Anti-Corruption Conference. The OGP also provides a community of practitioners that can offer positive incentives, technical assistance and peer learning in order to achieve these commitments.

Through this partnership we aim to ensure that relevant anti-corruption commitments are included in national action plans and are implemented in a timely manner. You can find more information on our past and future plans for collaboration in our Memorandum of Understanding and make sure to check out our anti-corruption reference materials here and here.

During the 2018 International Anti-Corruption Conference in Copenhagen we asked a group of bright minds what’s in store in 2019 for anti-corruption and the OGP. Three main areas of work were discussed as having particular potential for impact: gender and anti-corruption, beneficial ownership transparency, and money and politics.

This week, in a series of posts on the Voices for Transparency blog, we will delve deeper into the opportunities we see to advance these issues in the OGP in 2019 and beyond.