Corruption Risk Assessment, Public Procurement, and Open Contracting in South Eastern Europe Regional Conference, May 26-27, 2015, Istanbul, Turkey

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Corruption Risk Assessment, Public Procurement, and Open Contracting in South Eastern Europe Regional Conference, May 26-27, 2015, Istanbul, Turkey

May 26, 2015 @ 8:00 am - May 27, 2015 @ 5:00 pm

The regional conference on Corruption Risk Assessment, Public Procurement, and Open Contracting in South Eastern Europe, took place on 26 – 27 May, 2015 in Istanbul, Turkey. The event was organized by United Nations Development Program (UNDP), in cooperation with Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) and Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative (RAI) and co-funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

The conference was an opportunity to discuss the following topics:  (i) development and implementation of corruption risk assessments and integrity plans in the region; (ii) public procurement: costs that we pay for corruption; and iii) public contracting initiatives. In addition, the conference will be utilized to explore potential regional initiatives in the SEE. For more information, please see the event Agenda as well as the 10 Principles on Effective Corruption Risk Assessment in Public Administration that were endorsed at the conference.

Day 1

Ms. Shelley Inglis – UNDP Istanbul Hub, Governance and Peace Building Proactive Leader, welcomed all the participants to Istanbul. She thanked the co-organizers of the event and highlighted the strategic direction of UNDP in addressing Corruption in the SEE.

Mr. Radu Cotici – Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative, Head of Secretariat, stated the importance of collaborative efforts in dealing with corruption and welcomed all the participants with expectations of fruitful discussions and presentations from the panelists.

Ms. Alessandra Roccasalvo – UNDP Kosovo Deputy Resident Representative welcomed all the participants and raised the point that the Conference represents an important effort to have organizations work together on a joint front.

Mr. Predrag Vujicic – RCC Justice and Home Affairs Expert, in his opening remarks welcomed all the participants and stressed the importance of addressing corruption in the context of poverty reduction.

PANEL 1: Corruption Risk Assessment and Development of Integrity Plans
Moderator Mr. Radu Cotici – in his opening remarks for the first panel Mr. Cotici welcomed all the panelists and stressed the importance of having strong preventive measures and mechanisms in the institutions.

Mr. Hasan Preteni- Anti-Corruption Agency, Kosovo*
Mr. Preteni thanked the organizers for ensuring the translation because very often his organization is facing with the issue of language barrier.  Anti-Corruption Agency of Kosovo* is operational from 2002 and since this is a young organization, it is very much interested in regional cooperation and sharing of the best practices. Agency is in charge of implementation of the Anti Corruption Plan for 2014-2017. In 2014, the Plan specified 270 measures and almost all have already been implemented. Progress reports are made available to the public. Risk Assessment is one of the actions that is being implemented in public sector. Review of the AC Plan is underway to revise and better define upcoming activities. Mr. Preteni urged all present organizations to plan but also to deliver.

Ms. Olga Tiju – National Anti-Corruption Center, Moldova
Ms. Tiju informed the participants that Moldova has been carrying out Corruption Risk Assessment since 2008 starting with self-assessment of the Center. The Center collects information of risk assessments performed in the entire public sector. What is clear from the experiences that the organization gained in the last 7 years is that people working in public sector must be educated about the potential risks. Ms. Tiju concluded her presentation by stating that introducing adequate legislation is important, but implementation and close monitoring is as equally important. For more information, please download Ms. Tiju’s presentation here.

Ms. Dragana Krunic – Anti-Corruption Agency, Serbia
Ms. Krunic focused her presentation on sharing the experiences of Serbia in risk assessment. Serbia started with development of integrity plans in 2005. In the years that followed, approximately 2500 public institutions developed their integrity plans and Agency analyzed the received information. One of the key areas that were recognized as especially prone to corruption is Ethics and Personal Integrity. Implementation reports are produced every three years. Ms. Krunic concluded by stating that the Agency will continue to play a key role in identifying and mitigating the corruption risks in public sector through its consultative and corrective role and competencies, and that risk assessment is a continues and dynamic process. For more information please download Ms. Krunic’s presentation here.

Ms. Rebeca Angela Hagea – Anti Corruption General Directorate, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Romania
Ms. Hagea focused her presentation on IT solutions for assessing and managing corruption risks. She presented the experiences of Romania in application and benefits of the introduced system. The introduced IT system has enabled better communication, strengthened analytical and monitoring capacities and enabled more comprehensive reporting. For more information please download Ms. Hagea’s presentation here.

Mr. Bojan Bajic – Net Consulting, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Mr. Bajic opened his presentation by presenting his Company and explaining how it is possible for a private company to perform risk assessment in public institutions. Net Consulting implements ethics methodologies in private and public sector in line with the recently published ISO Standard ISO19600. The methodology has 7 steps: corruption risk assessment, defining ethical rules, setting up compliance procedures, educating staff, testing of the staff, introducing hot-line for whistleblowers, and introduction of other preventive measures. The Company offers a combination of IT solutions, whistleblowing experts and ethic-line system producing innovative tailor-made solutions for organizations. Speaking of their clients clients, Net Consulting is looking for preconditions in order to proceed with implementation of methodology: clear commitment from the top management, dedication to raise ethical and compliance culture among employees, and clear will and inclusion of all-levels of employees. Mr. Bajic finished his presentation by pointing out that it is crucial to include all levels of management, putting a special emphasis on middle-management in order for an institution to have their self-assessment credible.

SESSION 2: Corruption Risk Assessment Methodology for South Eastern Europe
Moderator Mr. Radu Cotici – in his opening remarks Mr. Cotici introduced the process of development of Regional Risk Assessment Methodology and gave an overview of the key challenges. He introduced Ms. Liljana Selinsek, Anti Corruption Expert from Slovenia who developed Regional Risk Assessment Methodology with RAI and RCC.

Ms. Selinsek commenced her presentation by reflecting on value of Corruption Risk Assessment as a preventive tool and how prevention is notoriously difficult to be measured. Developed Methodology reflects on CRA but on Sector RA and targeted ad-hoc RA. She reflected on the fact that some countries have a more developed risk assessment than others such as Moldova and Serbia. However conducted analysis has indicated that even in the same country system is not equally effective and successful in different institutions.

Franchesco Checchi UNDP Regional Office raised a question: how is audit linked to risk assessment? Ms. Selisnek emphasized the importance of extending the classical scope of audit to include not only establishing the as-is status but to have audit reports expanded to analyze and evaluate deeper presented information and data.
Following open discussion, the 10 Principles on Effective Corruption Risk Assessment in Public Administration were endorsed.

PANEL 3: Public Procurement – Costs we pay for corruption
Moderator Alessandra Roccasalvo, UNDP Kosovo

Ms. Roccasalvo opened the session by stressing out that countries in the region need effective tools and systems that are realistic and that can be monitored. Public contracts are not awarded fairly and procurement is an area especially prone to corruption in any country.

Mr. Tomo Miljic – State Commission for the Control of Public Procurement Procedure, Montenegro, gave an overview of the current legislative framework in Montenegro regarding Public Procurement. For more information please download Mr. Miljic’s presentation (in Montenegrin) here.

Mr. Faik Ispahiu – Internews Kosova
Mr. Ispahiu presented the work of his organization and key projects. Most prominent activity is the media platform in Kosovo* started 10 years ago with the mission to provide 360° approach to corruption that will allow citizens to report cases of corruption that are than taken on by the organization who then reviews the cases, and reports them to authorities.  Organization also developed online portal known as the leader of investigative reporting in Kosovo*. For more information please download presentation here.

Ms. Lorena Sander – UNDP HQ Head of Bureau of Management
Ms. Sander focused her presentation on the efforts UN is undertaking to address corruption risks in the organization. She opened her address by quoting UN Secretary General “vulnerable suffer first and suffer worst”. Bureau is determined to go beyond the plans and pacts and make real change. In the efforts to prevent corruption in procurement UN established Vendor Review Committee and introduced new strict and fair policies. For more information please download presentation here.

Mr. Vlatko Naumovski – Regional School of Public administration (ReSPA)
Mr. Naumovski presented the work of ReSPA in the region. In 2014 organization established public procurement working group focusing on collection and distribution of experiences and good practices. For more information please download presentation here.

Mr. Munir Podumljak – Partnership for Social Development, Croatia
Mr. Podumljak opened his presentation by reflecting on the definition of corruption, more specifically on the lack of adequate and generally accepted definition. First part of the presentation focused on Croatian experiences in curbing corruption in public procurement. There have been many attempts made by the Government and respective authorities that failed or seemed successful but when analyzed showed little impact. In the second part of the presentation, Mr. Podumljak elaborated on the newly introduced system of monitoring public procurement contracts on all levels of Government in Croatia. It is digitalized database where all information is generated in electronic form and there are no papers produced in the process. For more information please download presentation here.

Ms. Dzinita Foco – Head of Public Procurement in Bosnia and Herzegovina, commented the presentations stressing that it seems that all public procurement is corrupt. She stated that no system will be good enough if there are no trained professionals and if service lacks moral and ethics. Discussion followed after her comments whereas panelists concurred with Ms. Foco’s comments and shared similar examples from their countries and organizations.

PANEL 4: Open Contracting
Moderator Mr. Franchesco Checchi– UNDP Regional Centre Istanbul
Mr. Checchi moderated the last session of the day by giving a short introduction to open contracting in terms of process and procedures.

Mr. Felipe Estefan – Open Contracting World Bank
Mr. Estefan presented the work that World Bank is doing on open contracting. He opened his presentation by stating that 9.5 trillion dollars in lost annually to procurement fraud and corruption. If only one percent could be saved, it would have an enormous impact. World Bank has established Open Contracting Partnership – initiative that established 10 Open Contracting Principles setting the Open Contracting Data Standards. Mr. Estefan presented examples from Mexico, Georgia, Philippines and Nepal. For more information please download presentation here.

Ms. Eva Vorozova – Fair Play Alliance Slovakia
Ms. Vorozova opened the presentation with an overview of the latest changes in Slovakian public procurement legislation. All public contracts must be published within 90 days of signing or they are considered not viable. Also other stages of contracting must be available to the public. Ms. Vorozova stressed that after 4 years of implementation of the Law, 1/5 municipalities still fails to publish compulsory information and 1/10 do not publish invoices. For more information please download presentation here.

Ms. Mimoza Kusari Lila – Mayor of Gjakova/Đakovica
Ms. Kusari Lila opened her presentation by saying few words about herself and her municipality. She is the first female mayor elected in Kosovo*, two terms of office. Upon her arrival to the office, municipality issued an integrity plan, first of its kind in Kosovo*. In 2011, Municipality opened its data to public. The objectives are to become fist digital municipality in Kosovo*.

Ms. Dorina Cinari – Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Albania
Ms. Cinari presented her organization as a global coalition in which governments, companies and civil society work together for transparency and accountability in management of revenues from natural resources. Member states supply reports annually. For more information please download presentation here.

Brief Q&A session followed where all panelists participated.

Day 2
PANEL 5: Possibilities for Regional Initiatives in the South Eastern Europe

Moderator: Mr. Predrag Vujicic, Regional Cooperation Council
Mr. Vujicic opened the second day of the conference stressing the importance of strengthening regional collaboration between anti-corruption actors; this session explored the potential initiatives in South Eastern Europe. He invited International organizations and donors to briefly present their work up to date.

Mr. Francesco Checchi from the UNDP Regional Hub Istanbul presented the work on anti-corruption that Regional Centre is doing. He also invited colleagues from national offices in the region to present state of affairs in their respective countries.

Mr. Thomas Dedeurwaerdere, UNDP Brussels
Mr. Dedeurwaerdere started his presentation by stating that EU is an external driver of anti-corruption efforts in South East Europe. He made a clear link between economic growth and anti-corruption schemes. However countries in the South East Europe all have very negative annual progress reports produced by the Commission. Numerous recommendations presented in the reports are usually not complied with or partly complied with. Region as a whole is seen as especially prone to corruption.

Ms. Jasna Panjeta, Program and Outreach Officer, RAI
Ms. Panjeta presented the key work performed by Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative in the last two years as well as plans for the future and activities that are already in the pipeline. In terms of possibilities for cooperation she stressed that RAI is looking to network with other organizations, and is looking for partners, experts and funding. For more information please download presentation here.

Ms. Zorana Markovic, Regional Advisor on Anti-corruption, UNODC
Ms. Markovic presented the work of UNODC in the region. She focused her presentation on UNCAC and its role in eradicating corruption in the South East Europe. Ms. Markovic was discouraged by the fact that in the day 1 of the conference no one mentioned UNCAC although all the countries ratified the Convention. She concluded her presentation by inviting participants of the Conference to take a more active role in monitoring and evaluation of UNCAC Declaration.

Ms. Cornelia Abel, Transparency International, Regional Office for SEE
Ms. Abel opened her presentation by stating the mission of TI “all persons to live in fair societies”. She then proceeded with presenting the work of TI in the region. She also explained the legal status of the main office and TI national chapters in the region. TI is the biggest nongovernmental organization fighting corruption in the world. In the region, there are numerous activities that TI works on and all partners are welcomed. For more information please download presentation here.

Mr. Stefan Karaboev, SEE Leadership for Development and Integrity (SELDI)
Mr. Karaboev opened his presentation by presenting the SELDI network its structure and members. The focus of his presentation was the study SELDI produced titled Corruption and Anti-corruption Dynamics 2002 – 2014. The participants of the Conference were presented with some interesting findings and trends from the SELDI Regional Anti-Corruption Study. For more information please download presentation here.

Mr. Edmond Dunga, Administrator/Project Advisor at Council of Europe
Mr. Dunga focused his presentation on the Council of Europe technical assistance and cooperation against economic crime related activities in beneficiary regions and countries including South Eastern Europe. He presented organizational structure and mechanisms of project implementation focusing on the methods as well as monitoring data collected. For more information please download presentation here.

Mr. Rastislav Vrbensky, Manager, UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub
Thanked all the participants for coming to Istanbul. Regional Hub was honored to host such a big event. Mr. Vrbensky stressed that cooperation with national governments and cooperation on regional level is extremely powerful tool in anti-corruption and must be on the agenda in the future. He also invited present organizations to count on Regional Hub support and partnership.

Ms. Alessandra Roccasalvo, Deputy Resident Representative, UNDP Kosovo
Ms. Roccasalvo thanked everyone for their participation and inputs. She also pointed out that good information and quality data is the key to setting the targets correctly “what you cannot track, you cannot measure”.

Mr. Gazmend Turdiu, Deputy Secretary General, RCC
Mr. Turdiu greeted all the participants and used the opportunity to present the tool Regional Cooperation Council developed called SEE Development Score Board. The tool is interactive web platform that can be utilized for analysis and better understanding of different development trends. One of the points Mr. Turdiu raised is that all organizations and society in general needs to work more on making people aware of the risks of corruption.

Mr. Radu Cotici, Head of the Secretariat, RAI
Thanked all the participants for active participation and encouraging work whishing everyone success with their anti-corruption efforts. Mr. Radu invited all the representatives to explore further opportunities for cooperation and partnerships with peers in the region.

For more information, please see the event Agenda and List of Participants.


May 26, 2015 @ 8:00 am
May 27, 2015 @ 5:00 pm
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