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Anti-corruption in the OGP: The year of inclusion

José María Marín

Corruption stands in the way of equality, including gender equality. It can worsen gender disparities by increasing or, at the very least, perpetuating social inequalities in terms of access to health and education services, resource distribution and income. It is a major obstacle to women and minority groups gaining full access to their civic, social and economic rights.

Transparency International and the Open Government Partnership (OGP) held a session during the 2018 International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) in Copenhagen where we asked a group of bright minds what 2019 has in store for anti-corruption and the OGP, including the issue of gender and corruption. In this post we will discuss how anti-corruption and gender can be addressed within the OGP.

You can read more about Transparency International and the OGP’s collaboration in the opening post to this blog series.

Inclusion, participation and impact

While we know that corruption and inequality are interlinked in that corruption affects gender inequalities, there is still much to learn about this phenomenon. That being said, there are plenty of actions that we can start implementing to address corruption and its effect on different gender groups.

For 2019, the chairs of the OGP — the Government of Canada and Nathaniel Heller of Results for Development — have prioritised inclusion, participation, and impact as themes to promote within the partnership. This is an opportunity to make progress with gender and corruption, especially during the 6th OGP Global Summit which will focus on inclusion. It could be a chance to explore the link between gender and anti-corruption, and identify ways to move forward.

Key ideas

Some ideas that came out of the discussion group at the 2018 IACC included:

i) Sharing knowledge

The OGP can be a space where knowledge about gender and corruption can be created and shared. Civil society organisations, governments and international partners can identify and discuss types of corruption that have a gender dimension and could be tackled through the OGP (e.g. sextortion, gender specific public services etc.), and unpack the impacts of corruption on gender.

ii) Commitment to and promotion of specific measures

OGP participants and partners can call for actionable commitments to meaningfully reducing gender-specific corruption. They can also promote equality and inclusion in anti-corruption measures and support specific gender groups affected by corruption. For example, the C20, B20 and W20 in 2018 published a statement that identified three areas where countries can make concrete progress:

  • Collecting, analysing and publishing gender disaggregated data on the particular impacts that corruption has according to gender.
  • Adopting an effective framework that addresses harassment and sexual extortion (sextortion) as a gendered form of corruption and violence.
  • Promoting women’s participation in public, economic and political life to ensure diversity and inclusiveness in efforts to promote integrity.

These three specific recommendations fall within the policy scope concerning open government advocates and are ripe for inclusion in OGP action plans.

iii) Tools

OGP participants and partners can develop and apply tools to analyse gender dimensions of anti-corruption commitments to ensure there are no negative unintended consequences of the commitments -at the very least- and ensure commitments are gender inclusive. This is necessary, as gender inclusion is a cross-cutting issue that needs to be considered while developing and implementing anti-corruption commitments -or any OGP commitment for that matter.

The OGP can be a space for civil society, governments and partners to deepen knowledge and raise awareness of gendered types of corruption. This community can develop approaches and implement commitments that ensure gender inclusion and help prevent corruption from harming gender groups. This way, the OGP community can advance towards a more equitable and corruption free world for all persons, independent of their gender.