The DAC has been concerned with corruption for over a decade, with work undertaken on strengthening donors’ efforts in aid-funded procurement in particular. However, a 2003 GOVNET report concluded that donors had made little progress in addressing corruption in the field. Limited capacity, competing priorities and piecemeal approaches constrained any strategic impact at the field level, beyond one or two well known small-scale examples.
At the same time, the context in which donors operate has changed. Donor-driven perspectives have given way to approaches that place donors in a role that supports developing countries’ own anticorruption efforts. International co-operation and understanding of corruption have advanced, with a number of initiatives promoting more coherent frameworks for addressing corruption. And the prospects of very significant increases of aid—possibly an additional $50 billion per year by 2010 and beyond have raised the stakes for both donors and partner countries. Stronger governance and anti-corruption provisions, accountability and financial management capacity will be needed both by recipients and donors.
Principles for Donor Action on Anti-Corruption
In response to these developments, a Partnership Forum on Improving Donor Effectiveness in Combating Corruption took place in December 2004. Draft Principles for Donor Action in Anti- Corruption were developed and subsequently endorsed by the GOVNET. A survey conducted in ten developing countries (Bangladesh, Georgia, Kosovo - Serbia and Montenegro, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam and Zambia), as well as presentations to donor communities, partner countries and civil society representatives, revealed strong support for the draft Principles. The overriding emerging conclusion was that the draft Principles reflected best practice and that their widespread application would enhance donor effectiveness in combating corruption. The draft Principles were given final endorsement by the DAC at their 22 September 2006 meeting.
The Principles embrace the key areas and activities where donors should work together on anticorruption. They emphasise the need to support and strengthen the capacity of civil society, and underline the need for OECD donors to undertake work in their own countries on areas such as repatriation of assets, money laundering, and the ratification and implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption.
Making use of the Principles
The Principles constitute basic guidelines and orientations to improve collective donor action in the fight against corruption. They serve as stand-alone policy guidance as well as complementing the GOVNET Policy Paper on Anti-Corruption, which sets out opportunities for collective action in a number of areas where a concerted approach seems essential if the multiple risks associated with corruption are to be successfully managed.
Donor agencies are invited to use the Principles to inform the design of anti-corruption policies and as a diagnostic tool for governance assessment work on the ground. The first DAC-led anti-corruption and governance assessment mission to Cameroon in July 2006 demonstrated that the Principles can be used to remind donors of the need to work on both the ’demand’ and ’supply’ sides of corruption. It is expected that as more of these joint assessments are piloted in partner countries, the Principles will be used as common guidance and as a basis for dialogue with other stakeholders.
Principle No. 1
Collectively foster, follow and fit into the local vision
Meeting the MDGs requires, inter alia, the resolve to fight corruption and to meet commitments agreed in relevant international and regional conventions including the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC)and the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on antimoney laundering. Whenever feasible, these endeavors should be led by the host government.
At the country level, donors should:
As individual donors:
Principle No. 2
Acknowledge and respond to the supply side of corruption
Donors recognise that corruption is a two-way street. Action is needed in donor countries to bear down on corrupt practices by home-based companies doing business internationally. The OECD Anti Bribery onvention has helped to underline the responsibilities that OECD member countries themselves have on the supply side of corruption. Donors need to work more effectively within their own domestic environments, with key relevant departments responsible for trade, export credit, international legal cooperation and diplomatic representation, as well as with the private sector.
Development agencies should:
Principle No. 3
Marshal knowledge and lessons systematically and measure progress
It is essential to make better use of existing knowledge and lessons learned, supporting governments in making them an integral part of the policy making process. It is also important that clear baselines and targets are set, while progress is systematically assessed against results.
At country level, donors should:
At the global level, donors should: