Regional Conference on Trends and Challenges in Implementing Anti-corruption Strategies, November 25, 2014, Skopje, Republic of Macedonia
Regional Anti-corruption Initiative (RAI) and RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation, in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Macedonia, organized on November 25, 2014, the Regional Conference on Trends and Challenges in Implementing Anti-corruption Strategies which was held in Skopje, Republic of Macedonia.
The event aimed at recognizing the priorities and needs of the South-East European countries in terms of efficient implementation of the Anti-corruption Strategies and Action Plans, with an emphasis on the monitoring mechanism. In the context of the Regional Anti-corruption Initiative Work Plan 2014 – 2015, its essential goal was to identify the key success determining ingredients and factors of a monitoring and evaluation mechanism. For more information, please see Recommendations and conclusions of the Conference.
Mr. Adnan Jashari, Minister of Justice, Republic of Macedonia, opened the event highlighting that the anti-corruption strategies and plans are more than a declarative expression of the will to fight corruption. They are effective tools to strengthen the national inter-institutional cooperation and international and regional cooperation in combating corruption. He stressed out that he fight against corruption remains a strategic priority and anti-corruption activities do not stop in Republic of Macedonia. Finally he extended his gratitude to RACVIAC and RAI for the actions taken to promote regional cooperation and to support the implementation of anti-corruption events and activities in the member countries, as well as for organization of this event in the Republic of Macedonia.
Mr. Gjorgi Slamkov, President of the State Commission for Prevention of Corruption, Republic of Macedonia, stated that by carrying out its mission, the State Commission for Prevention of Corruption in December 2011 developed the current National Program for Prevention and Repression of Corruption and State Program for Prevention and Reduction of Conflict of Interests with Action Plan for 2011-2015. Through this strategic document, the SCPC created and directed the social action as a clearly defined continuous process, based on improving and strengthening the legal and institutional capacities, creating a public, collective, and individual awareness of the damaging effects of corruption, the necessity of its recognition and detection, as well as promoting all forms of preventive action along with effective sanctions. Mr. Slamkov finished his speech by highlighting that in the Action Plan of the State Program there are 51 problem/risk factors established and 156 actions to overcome the problems and risks, and for a period of two years 70% of planned activities have been realized or being under implementation.
Ambassador Branimir Mandic, Director of RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation, welcomed the participants to this event by stressing the opportunity for states from the region and all parties dealing with challenges of putting efficient Anti-corruption Strategies and Action Plans in place, to use this event for exchange of ideas on issues of mutual concern and by having a comparative approach to share the lessons learned so far. He pointed out that the lessons drawn out from the experiences of implementing National Anti-corruption Strategies and Action Plans worldwide indicate that key features for a successful anti-corruption policy making include national ownership, knowledge base design, stakeholder participation, strategic priority planning, effective coordination, and monitoring and evaluation. Ambassador Mandic finished by saying that all of these key factors will be discussed during the event, with a special emphasis on monitoring and evaluation.
Mr. Davor Dubravica, Chairperson of the Regional Anti-corruption Initiative (RAI), welcomed the audience by highlighting the efforts that countries in the region of SEE are undertaking by implementing the activities from their respective national strategies and action plans, and also emphasized the implementation as main problem in the region and beyond. He stressed the importance of the monitoring and evaluation mechanisms as key dimensions of anti-corruption interventions in general, and reminded the participants about the special attention that should be given to the development of a comprehensive monitoring mechanisms that can allow for civil society’s input not just as a corrector, but also as an active participant in the monitoring and evaluation process.
Morning Session: Anti-corruption Strategies Development and Fulfillment
Moderator: Mr. Davor Dubravica, Chairperson, Regional Anti-corruption Initiative (RAI)
Mr. Kiro Cvetkov, Anti-corruption Expert, Regional Anti-corruption Initiative (RAI), presented the current status of the national Anti-corruption Strategies and Action Plans in RAI member countries. Mr. Cvetkov noted that there is no one-size–fits-all solution when it comes to the design and implementation of anti-corruption strategies. He stated that the experience has shown that the effectiveness of a national anti-corruption strategy will depend to a great extent on whether it has been designed taking into consideration the country’s context and main corruption challenges. Furthermore, political will and coordination with other on-going efforts to fight corruption and improve governance in the country is instrumental. He finished his presentation by concluding that anti-corruption strategies should include a strong and manageable monitoring and evaluation system that provides for participation of civil society organizations and that implementation and evaluation reports should be made public and available on-line.
Ms. Edlira Nasi, Unit on Internal Administrative Control and Anti-Corruption, Prime Minister’s Office, Albania, presented the Albanian experience by explaining the organizational structure of the national anti-corruption network in Albania – as of November 2014. Ms. Nasi also presented the main policy tools: the National Strategy against Corruption 2014-2017 (that was completed by end of March 2014 and is based on three-fold approach: prevention, repression and education), and National Action Plan against Corruption 2014-2017 (that was finalized by October 2014). Both, the Strategy and Action Plan will be adopted in December 2014. She finished the presentation stating the main goals (such as ensuring transparency and accountability through public scrutiny, modernization of procedures, with special focus on improving the quality of service delivery, strengthening inter-agency cooperation by further enhancing proactive investigation, assessing the risks in most vulnerable sectors: health and education and enhancing prevention of corruption in public administration), but also giving examples of the bottle-necks such as limited interest from business sector, and lack of vision on concrete AC measures in long term. Please download presentation of Ms. Nasi here.
Mr. Emir Basic, Agency for the Prevention of Corruption and Coordination of the Fight against Corruption, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Mr. Zoran Jacev, Team Leader, PAK – Support to anti-corruption, Bosnia and Herzegovina, spoke about the Bosnian experience and the challenges of developing new AC Strategy and action plan. Mr. Basic explained the scope and the status of the Agency for the Prevention of Corruption and Coordination of the Fight against Corruption, as well as the general purpose and objectives of the Strategy for the Fight against Corruption (2009-2014) and Action Plan to implement the Strategy adopted by the Council of Ministers on 24 September 2009. Mr. Jacev focused his speech on the complexity of the new strategy which contains five pillars and between 150 and 200 activities. Yet, he concluded by stating that the aim of the new strategy is to be implementable and effective, not just as a list of wishes. Please download presentation of Mr. Basic here.
Mr. Rosen Kukushev, Ministry of Interior, Bulgaria, gave a presentation about the role of the Center for Prevention and Countering Corruption and Organized Crime, and the main activities and results of the Bulgarian mechanism for countering corruption. Mr. Kukushev explained the organization and partners of CPCCoC, its matrix organization and role as environment for creating, updating and implementation of intervention systems. In his further elaboration Mr. Kukushev talked about the detailed analysis and preparation of packages of measures for corruption risk areas, including preliminary analyzes of risk areas, analysis of specific laws and others legislation on the issue and proposals for changes in other regulations. Finally, he explained the intervention system, the development of measures, the vulnerabilities (weak spots) and factors of corruption, as well as the effectiveness of the measures depending on the depth of the impact i.e. the causality (Causa finalis). Please download presentation of Mr. Kukushev here.
Ms. Mirela Bakalbasic, Senior Advisor, Directorate for Anti-corruption Initiative, Montenegro, shared the Montenegrin experience by presenting the Strategy for the fight against corruption and organized crime (2010 – 2014) with Action Plan 2010 – 2012, revised in July 2011 – harmonized with the AP for implementation of recommendations provided in the Opinion of the European Commission, and Action Plan 2012 – 2014, harmonized with AP for Chapters 23 and 24 (July 2013). Upon its expiry national anti-corruption objectives and measures in Montenegro will be solely contained in the APs for Chapters 23 and 24. Ms. Bakalbasic stated that APs for Chapters 23 and 24 were adopted in June 2013 and revised in November 2014, with objectives defined in accordance with the recommendations from the Screening Report, and those given in the course of the screening process on the compatibility of Montenegrin legal system with the EU’s Acquis. She also emphasized that regular monitoring process is in place, as a means of identifying, preventing and taking account of non-compliance, making periodic assessments of the overall document and of specific elements so that adjustments can be made. Please download presentation of Ms. Bakalbasic here.
Ms. Maja Baricevic, Ministry of Justice, Croatia, highlighted that Croatian experience is still equally challenging after the EU accession as it was before it. She gave an overview of the development of Croatian national strategic documents in the period 2002-2008, the package of anti-corruption laws and multilateral conventions ratified by Croatia. In the second half of her presentation Ms. Baricevic spoke about the recommendations from the EU anti-corruption report for 2014, such as „to implement a comprehensive strategic approach to prevent and reduce corruption risks in public procurement“ and „to implement effective protection mechanisms and raising awareness for whistleblowers“. Finally she gave her comments on the new anti-corruption strategy which is based on sectorial approach (sectoral working groups), risk assessment, public consultation with interesting parties and action plan development. Please download presentation of Ms. Baricevic here.
Ms. Jelena Deretic, Ministry of Justice, Serbia, pictured the Serbian experience by emphasizing the need for comprehpensive approach in the fight against corruption as an internationally accepted standard. She said that corruption is a major obstacle to social development and state progress in general, and that corruption is marked as one of the key destabilizing factor for the process of European integration. Further she presented the the new National Anti-Corruption Strategy in the Republic of Serbia adopted for the period from 2013 to 2018, which is, inter alia, based on the principles of the rule of law and “zero tolerance” for corruption. Ms. Deretic gave an overview of the roles of each body involved in the implementation and the monitoring system of the new strategy, underlying that the Ministry of Justice is the coordinator in the implementation process, the Council collects information on the experience and obstacles to the efficient implementation of the Strategy and Action Plan and submits a report on this to the Government of the RS, while Monitoring of implementation of the Strategy and Action Plan is under the competence of the Anti-Corruption Agency. She highlighted that coordination is seen as the key factor for better implementation and that is why new organizational unit is formed, which is responsible for coordination of the implementation of the Strategy, and it also serves as a focal point for cooperation with other holders of public powers and with international organizations.Please download presentation of Ms. Deretic here.
Mr. Borjan Gjuzelov, Macedonian Center for International Cooperation, NGO; as a civil sector representative Mr. Gjuzelov spoke about his experience in monitoring the AC Strategies implementation in Republic of Macedonia. He explained the State program for Prevention and Repression of Corruption and Prevention and Reduction of Conflict of Interest 2011-2015 and the 11 different sectors it covers. Also, he presented the SCPC as a coordinative body as well as the Action plan with its 51 problems/risk areas, 156 activities, 220 implementation monitoring indicators, and 156 effectiveness monitoring indicators. He spoke about the web application for collection of data and ideas for future improvement, such as Output vs. Impact indicators, prioritization of certain sectors and risk areas, the need for independent ‘third party’ monitoring, the CSOs as partners in research and expertise, and CSOs as watchdogs or independent evaluators. Please download presentation of Mr. Gjuzelov here.
Afternoon Session: Anti-corruption Strategies Monitoring and Evaluation
Moderator: Ms. Marija Zuzek, Programme Manager, RACVIAC
Prof. Dr. Ömer Faruk Gençkaya, Turkey, presented the Turkish experience from an academic standpoint. He talked about the “Strategy for Enhancing Transparency and Strengthening the Fight against Corruption”, which was issued by the Prime Ministry on December 5, 2009 as a decree (2009/19) and put into the force in February 2010. The professor explained the structure of the strategy, the different type of measures, and gave an overview of similar documents such as National Strategy for Fight against Organized Crime 2010-2015, Action Plan of Strategy for Fight against the Informal Economy 2011-2013, and the Action Plan for 2013-2015 with 10 different guiding principles and 21 strategic objectives with 51 activities. Talking about the compliance with the International Standards, prof. Gençkaya emphasized GRECO’s Third Round Evaluation and Compliance Reports, Review of Implementation of the OECD Convention and Recommendations, Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) Public Statements, European Commission Progress Reports, UNCAC Review of Implementation (to be conducted soon in Turkey). He also mentioned the priorities of the AC strategy in Turkey to be: participatory approach, transparency, accountability and public awareness. Please download presentation of Mr. Gençkaya here.
Mr. Vladimir Georgiev, State Commission for Prevention of Corruption, Republic of Macedonia, explained that after consulting with the NGO representatives from Macedonia present at the conference, he will adjust his presentation and focus it on the process of adoption of the Strategy, since the monitoring was already described in the earlier presentation by Mr. Borjan Gjuzelov. Therefore, Mr. Georgiev explained the State Commission for Prevention of Corruption (SCPC) competences, structure and main goals. He explained that the strategic documents, developed under the SCPC, aim at achieving more efficient application of the normative framework for prevention and repression of corruption and conflict of interest in practice, strengthening the institutional capacities through overcoming the specific risks for corruption and conflict of interest, improving the integrity of public administration and ensuring efficient and effective inter-institutional cooperation at national and international level, as well as at raising institutional transparency and the public awareness about the harmfulness of corruption and conflict of interest. Please download presentation of Mr. Georgiev here.
Mr. Valeriu Cupcea, National Anti-corruption Center, Republic of Moldova, presented the situation in Moldova in terms of implementation of national strategies and action plans on anti-corruption. He described the Authorities and institutions responsible for implementation of the Action Plans, the monitoring and evaluation procedures including external and internal monitoring, as well as monitoring and evaluation principles: responsibility, transparency, cooperation and efficiency, and the performance and progress indicators. Mr. Cupcea indicated that adequate and timely implementation of activities, support in implementation of positive practice and elimination of the risk factors, together with Informing about the achieved results and shortcomings that were detected and areas which need attention, are the main purposes of monitoring. Please dowload presentation of Mr. Cupcea here.
Mr. Ruslan Stefanov, Coordinator, Southeast European Leadership for Development and Integrity (SELDI); in his speech, Mr. Stefanov noted that South Eastern Europe as region is constantly under systemic corruption pressure. He said that CSOs are among the most important stakeholders in anti-corruption. However, there is a lack of effectively established formal mechanisms for engaging civil society on the part of the national governments, lack of administrative capacity and clear vision and understanding of the potential of CSOs. According to Mr. Stefanov there is a risk of capturing of CSOs by special interests and corruption systems by absence of mandatory procedures for transparency in the sector, ineffective control of compliance with financial regulations, lack of auditing culture and low level of self-regulation.
Ms. Marijana Obradovic and Ms. Ana Jerosimic, Anti-corruption Agency, Serbia, presented the role of the Anti-corruption Agency in monitoring of the national AC strategy. They explained that the new Anti-Corruption Strategy was adopted by the National Assembly in July 2013, and the Action Plan on Implementation of the Strategy was adopted by the Government in September 2013. The Agency’s mandate is to monitor the implementation of the Strategy and Action Plan and to issue advisory opinions regarding their implementation. Ms. Obradovic and Jerosimic also explained the main features of the new monitoring process and the challenges in the monitoring process such as: Action Plan is not clear in all its parts; the reports of the implementing entities are often not submitted on time; the reports of the implementing entities are of uneven quality and do not provide enough information as well as they may be one-sided and biased. On the end they explained the benefits from the alternative reporting and the alternative reporting pilot program. Please download presentation of Ms. Obradovic and Ms. Jerosimic here.
Mr. Ronan O’Laoire, UNODC, presented the international context in relation to UNCAC’s 2nd Review Cycle, the key considerations in monitoring and evaluating AC Strategies and what are the possible recommendations. He also pointed out about Art. 5 from UNCAC titled- Preventive AC Policies and Practices, which requires the states to adopt effective, coordinated anticorruption policies, aimed at the prevention of corruption, and which should be periodically evaluated. Mr. O’Laoire shared the lessons learned, such as: the development of an anti-corruption strategy should be an indigenous, inclusive and participatory process; adequate resources must be provided; the Strategy should be based on sound research; it must possess an effective policy coordination mechanism; the focus must be on implementation; and the participation of the society is a must. Please dowload presentation of Mr. O’Laoire here.
Mr. Tilman Hoppe, anti-corruption expert, presented the Draft structure of the Regional Methodology on Monitoring and Evaluation of implementing National Anti-corruption Strategies and Action Plans, which he will prepare for the Regional Anti-corruption Initiative (RAI).
Mr. Ruslan Stefanov, Coordinator, Southeast European Leadership for Development and Integrity (SELDI), concluded with listing the recommendations and conclusions of the Conference, stipulating to the countries on the importance of setting in place effective monitoring and evaluation mechanism of the national anti-corruption strategy and action plan.
During the closing statements, Mr. Radu Cotici, Head of RAI Secretariat, underlined that the Conference was successful and that the recommendations and conclusions that were brought up will be further uphold. Mr. Cotici thanked the hosts and the co-organizers by giving them as well, recognition for the successful event. Ambassador Branimir Mandic, Director of RACVIAC – Centre for Security Cooperation, gave his final words of gratitude towards the participants for their constructive approach towards the subject of the conference.