GOPAC’s strength lies with its dedicated and passionate membership. Our members come from all over the world and volunteer their time in hopes of creating a more prosperous and promising world where corruption is a concept from the past. Included in this group is the Honourable Fernanda Borges who is a founding member of GOPAC Timor Leste. She first joined GOPAC in June 2010. Below are her thoughts on GOPAC and her fight against corruption.
Why did you want to become a member of GOPAC?
I wanted to be a member of GOPAC because I have always believed that corruption harms the people and is the cause of great poverty in countries. In becoming active in GOPAC, I am helping Timor Leste become a transparent, viable country that operates based on principles of good governance and sound financial management.
GOPAC’s global network also gives me the opportunity to meet GOPAC members in other countries to cooperate and share valuable experiences, knowledge and best practice around the world. Through GOPAC, I feel I can strengthen my capacity to leave something good behind for the Timorese people and make a small contribution to making the world a better place to live for children, women and men.
What have you accomplished to date in your fight against corruption?
As Executive President of GOPAC Timor Leste, I am very proud of all the achievements
of our National Chapter. Here are just a few examples of what we have achieved to date:
- We established networks around the world and in the region. Timor Leste holds a Vice Chair position in South East Asian Parliamentarians Against Corruption, a Regional Chapter of GOPAC.
- We established a Sub-Committee to the Parliamentary Committee dealing with Budget, Finance and Anti-corruption that specifically dedicates itself to anti-corruption ensuring the Parliament has a strong focus on this issue.
- We passed the UNCAC convention.
- We helped pass a law to create and establish an Anti-Corruption Commission.
- We established an Anti-Corruption Network comprised of NGO’s, academics, media and students.
- We helped pass a Money Laundering and Terrorism Law.
- We have lobbied other countries to join GOPAC and support the anti-corruption drive in their country, regionally and globally.
What advice can you give to new parliamentarians wanting to form chapters in their countries?
It is impossible to fight corruption alone. It requires a lot of courage to stand up to a corrupt system and change. Many times you may be a lonely voice but know that the people are counting on you to step up and do it for them. A GOPAC Chapter will help MPs to gather a strong political voice and force in the parliament for change.
It is very easy to establish a National Chapter. You just need to get a few MPs together with the commitment and will to fight corruption and sign up. The Constitution, rules and tools are easily available on the GOPAC website.
Once the National Chapter is established, I strongly recommend developing a work plan based on your country’s context. If your country has not ratified the UNCAC, make it your top priority. You don’t need a lot of money to make it work. Find a few donors that may be interested in funding your work in the early stages, in particular a technically competent Secretariat that can support MPs and help you follow up and produce results.