Representatives of Central American countries and Transparency International (TI) agreed to monitor the implementation of the Guatemala Declaration for a Corruption Free Region. The declaration, signed by the presidents of Central American countries and the Dominican Republic in 2006 during the 12th International Anti-Corruption Conference, commits signatory countries to the implementation of specific measures against corruption and hence represents a common anti-corruption agenda. The first round of the evaluation process will end in November 2008.
Officials from Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Panama, along with TI national chapters in the region, agreed to undertake twice yearly evaluations of the status of implementation of the agreed commitments. “This follow-up mechanism reflects that Central American states want to jointly advance in tackling this problem,” said Silke Pfeiffer, TI Director for the Americas.
Given the importance Central American citizens give to preventing corruption in poverty alleviation programmes and controlling political and electoral finance, efforts related to these commitments will be evaluated between July and November 2008. Seven other issues have been selected for assessment in this first evaluation round, such as: conflict of interest, access to information, civil service, and the mechanisms to address complaints and protect whistleblowers. As these areas are also covered by the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, the plan is to combine efforts deriving from different anti-corruption agreements.
“Although we see progress in the region, some commitments included in the declaration need further achievements, so this monitoring mechanism will help Central America make concrete actions,” said Manfredo Marroquín, TI Regional Coordinator for Central America. The mechanism will seek to incorporate the General Secretariat of the Central American Integration System (SICA) as a supporting institution to the monitoring process, according to the Declaration. Other Central American countries and the Dominican Republic will also be invited to join these efforts.
A regional forum for dialogue will be celebrated in November 2008, second anniversary of the declaration, in which civil society groups and public anti-corruption agencies will present the result of the evaluations and identify the remaining challenges to achieve the goals of the declaration.
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