Powerless to Powerful: Arming citizens to fight corruption in defence and security

7 November 18:00 – 20:00

Session Description

Corruption in defence and security establishments is a problem that puts the lives of citizens and soldiers at risk around the world. In this session, we will explore what can be done to tackle defence and security corruption, focusing on how civil society and citizens can demand greater transparency and accountability from the defence and security forces that exist to serve and protect them.

To tackle defence and security corruption, we need an integrated, powerful approach that engages governments, companies, civil society organisations, and those who are most affected: citizens. We need in-depth research, targeted advocacy, and concrete actions for reform.

In this session we will develop new ideas and strategies to tackle this problem. We will discuss what civil society and citizens can do—how they can take on the powerful defence and security establishment, and work with this wide range of stakeholders to catalyse reform in this vital area.

Many people believe that it is impossible for a civil society organisation to engage defence companies and military establishments on issues of corruption: the secrecy of the sector, some of which is justified by national security, seems like an impenetrable barrier. But TI-DSP has found interest from military establishments from Norway, to Uganda, to Afghanistan; and demand is growing. There is increasing interest from NGOs, TI National Chapters, the media, and the public in this subject: for example, as defence and security forces have acted on behalf of regimes in the Middle East to crush popular revolutions, we have seen increasing attention paid to the means they use to maintain their stranglehold on power.

TI-DSP is developing two Defence Anti-Corruption Indices to measure corruption risk in defence companies and national defence establishments. These innovative indices are major new pieces of research that measure and analyse the corruption risks in the defence sector, and can provide guidance for reform. We hope to develop new ideas for how these indices can be used for advocacy to press for reform in this sector.

This session will try to answer several questions: How can citizens and civil society catalyse reform and successfully demand accountability in this often-secretive sector? How can they successfully engage with, monitor, and oversee defence and security establishments? And how can we connect people coming at the problem of defence corruption from different angles—members of civil society, defence and security officers and soldiers, members of governments, and defence companies—who all have a role in building an accountable defence system?

Session coordinator’s name:
Leah Wawro
Transparency International (UK) Defence & Security Programme

Session Facilitator/Moderator
Mark Pyman
Transparency International (UK) Defence & Security Programme

Session Experts
Leah Wawro
Transparency International (UK) Defence & Security Programme
Topic: Research and Advocacy: the TI-DSP Defence Anti-Corruption Indices as roadmaps for change

Shaazka Beyerle
International Center for Nonviolent Conflict
Topic: Principles and tactics of nonviolent movements against corruption

Vijay Anand
5th Pillar, Founder
Topic: Creativity and grassroots action in the fight against corruption: the example of India

Diego Martinez (TBC)
Unidad de Transparencia, Fabricaciones Militares (Argentinian defence company)
Topic: Engaging the private sector effectively

Ernie Ko
Transparency International (TI) Taiwan
Topic: Getting inside the Ministry of Defence: case study on Taiwan

Mark Pyman
Transparency International (UK) Defence & Security Programme

Anne-Christine Wegner (TBC)Transparency International (UK) Defence & Security Programme

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