PARLIAMENTARIANS AT THE IACC? WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?

This is a guest post by Vicki Baxter Amade who is a former British diplomat experienced in promoting human rights and good governance in Africa, Australia and Latin America.   Since August 2012, she has been working as GOPAC’s Global Task Force Advisor for the Participation of Society, based at the Global Secretariat in Ottawa.  

In November 2012, the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC) led its first formal delegation to the IACC, with a panel workshop about the role of parliamentarians and GOPAC speakers on three other panels and the closing plenary.   But it was at our information booth that the extent of the challenges we face with public perception of parliamentarians and corruption really hit home.   Over four days we answered a plethora of questions from over 300 visitors, but there were three key themes which kept emerging.

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The Zero Rupee Note as explained by Vijay Anand of 5th Pillar

Parker Mah sat down with social reformer and innovator Vijay Anand at the 15th International Anti-Corruption Conference to talk about the Zero Rupee Note, one of the most successful initiatives developed by 5th Pillar, an Indian anti-corruption organisation co-founded by Anand. The note is a “zeroed” version of an Indian banknote which can be proferred in any situation in which a bribe is demanded. On the back of the note is the message “Encourage, Enable and Empower every citizen of India to eliminIte corruption at all levels of society” as well as contact information for 5th pillar and references to the Right to Information act. It serves as both a tool to combat corruption at the point of interaction and an awareness-raising tool on the ground. It is distributed in 15 different local languages through community and student organisations.

For more info visit http://india.5thpillar.org or http://zerocurrency.org/

Recorded on location in Brasilia, November 2012.

Categories: IACC Young Journalist

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Omaid Sharifi on corruption on Afghanistan

IACC Young Journalist Ryan Hicks spoke to Omaid Sharifi about the situation in Afghanistan with regards to corruption, the key players and issues, and the role of youth and media in fighting corruption.

Omaid Sharifi is the Country Representative for Afghanistan at the International Center for Democratic Transition. He is also the founder of the White Ribbon Movement. Follow him on Twitter at @OmaidSharifi

Shot on location in Brasilia, November 2012.
Camera & Production: Parker Mah
Editing: Ryan Hicks & Parker Mah

More Transparency Talk within the Environmental Debate

The panel on post-Rio+20 challenges highlighted the reasons why environmental degradation should be seeing as a sign of corruption.

As the negotiations in Doha, Qatar, unfold during the 18th UN Conference on Climate Change many of the issues that were discussed at the recent 15IACC have came to my mind. It was
a month ago that I had the pleasure to moderate the panel about sustainable development and transparency at the meeting in Brasilia.

At that opportunity, some of the panelists expressed optimism on multilateral efforts among countries to address urgent planetary problems. Others, nonetheless, have pointed that we are running late to save humanity, and corruption is part of the fail.

The participants were the ministry of Environment of Brazil, Izabella Teixeira, the acting president of the World Resources Institute (WRI), Manish Bapna, the director of World Vision International, Beris Gwyne, and the executive director of Greenpeace, Kumi Naido. The secretary of UNEP, Achim Steiner, has sent a video message.

Manish Bapna, Executive Vice President and Managing Director of the World Resources Institute

I ask them to give us an overview on their expectations after the agreement reached at the Rio+20 summit, in June this year. Minister Izabella was the optimist: she mentioned the start of a new moment, a new process to set the Sustainable Development Goals. But Kumi explained why he sees the agreement as the “longest suicidal note” in history. For him, governments are ceding to lobby of powerful sectors of economy, delaying action.

I thought that Manish Bapna brought new insights by mentioning that access to information can revolutionize the transparency movement. The reporter Jessica Weiss, one of the fellows of the young journalists grant, has wrote a nice piece on the ideas presented by the president of the WRI, see here

It was somehow surprising to me at the beginning to listen Steiner saying that it was not more laws, frameworks or conventions that we are lacking, but enforcement. Sounds obvious, but I like his examples on the necessity of giving governments technical capacity to be transparent, by equipping laboratories, environmental institutes and so on.

Beris Gwynne, from World Vision International, came with a broader issue to be discussed: the power itself of influencing decisions. Has the power really shifted hands with all the instruments and means of civil society participation, she asked?

I think the Kyoto Protocol, which the first period finishes this year, is a good example. Right now, while I sit in my office in rainy São Paulo the treaty is being discussed at the dry Arabian Peninsula. What this piece of international law represents on my life is difficult to know at the present. But, if the climate scenarios are confirmed, its failure could one day be felt by all in the future. When this moment arrives, will society look back and see the environmental degradation as a sign of corruption?

Gustavo Faleiros, Knight International Fellow

By Gustavo Faleiros. Gustavo is a Brazilian journalist, Knight International Fellow. He moderated the panel Rio+20: can we live in a corruption free World? at the 15th IACC

The Next Step: Post-Arab Spring

Throughout the International Anti-Corruption Conference, we’ll post exclusive interviews about what happens after the workshops and panels are over. We’ll look at what was accomplished and what strategies participants can actually take back to their countries to fight corruption.

One of the topics that’s on the tip of everyone’s tongue here in Brasilia is the Arab Spring and the debate over what the next steps should be and whether change is happening fast enough. So, we decided to dedicate two episodes of The Next Step to different perspectives on what needs to happen in the Arab Region, post-Arab Spring.

Our first guest is an Iraqi parliamentarian from Kurdistan in Northern Iraq, Susan Shahab-Nouri.

Our next guest is Hadeel Qazzaz. She works with the NGO Integrity Action. She is from Palestine and just moved to Calgary, Canada.

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