29 March, 2021 (Vienna, Austria) – The Civil Society Unit (CSU) at UNODC were selected as one of the OECD's Knowledge Partners at this year's Global Anti-Corruption and Integrity Forum. On the final day of the forum, the CSU organised a #UnitedAgainstCorruption knowledge session, to demonstrate examples from three continents of civil society responses to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The virtual panel was attended by over 50 audience members who heard about the latest innovative work in the field of integrity and anti-corruption through the UK-sponsored “fast-tracking the UNCAC” project. The CSU has provided grants to civil society organizations in Eastern Africa, South America and Mexico and Southeast Asia to support efforts to improve transparency and monitor integrity in a rapidly changing environment. The following panellists discussed the grants schemes and wider Covid-19 responses in their countries:
Filipino investigative journalist Karol Ilagan spoke about a project by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) on opening up budgeting and contracting, including challenges encountered, impact and ways forward. Karol said “PCIJ’s research and recommendations on the availability and quality of procurement and budget records have been adopted by government agencies. This is helping widen access to information on how taxpayers’ money is spent in the Philippines.”
Executive Director of Transparency International México Eduardo Bohórquez discussed the particular issues and challenges faced in South America and Mexico. Eduardo said “TI Mexico is committed to the creation of civic designs that combine offline and online interactions. If we do not make these innovations amid this fast-changing environment we will be left behind in striving for public accountability and corruption-free societies”.
Panellists Caroline Owashaba, co-founder of Action for Youth Development Uganda (ACOYDE), focused on issues around women and youth in covid-19 responses in Uganda; Fabiano Angélico, campaigner, policy analyst, and consultant for the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR), spoke about corruption as both a technical and a political issue in Brazil; and finally, Dr. Muhammad Mohan, President of Transparency International Malaysia, talked about efforts to sensitise SMEs in Malaysia regarding the enforcement of the recently adopting Corporate Criminal Liability 17A.
Cath Rylance, Global Head of Anti-Corruption Prosperity Fund, UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, and Anders Frantzen from UNODC Civil Society Unit, co-moderated the panel session, with Kari Ann Rotkin from UNODC Corruption and Economic Crime Branch providing introductory remarks on the specific Covid-19 related technical assistance being provided to Member States.
Please find embedded a video of the full panel discussion, and in case of further interest, the following link to an animation video highlight civil society success in the project thus far.