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GOPAC National Chapter Growth

A key factor in the success of GOPAC and our fight against corruption is the continued growth of our National Chapters. March and April were active months for National Chapter development with the creation of a new Chapter in Albania and an information session moving towards the renewal of CanPAC, our Canadian Chapter.

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In Albania, seventeen Members of Parliament (MPs) and former MPs met at the end of March for their first GOPAC meeting. At the meeting, members elected an Executive Board, naming Mr. Namik Dokle as Chair of GOPAC Albania, Mr. Ardian Turku as Vice-Chair and Mr. Musa Ulqini as Secretary. They will now move on legalizing the chapter and host its official launch in the coming weeks.

"Corruption and cancer: two of the most dangerous diseases for humans, peoples, and countries. To fight corruption on all its levels, MPs should offer their honesty and good will. They should work hard like scientists do to fight cancer. Surmounting these two challenges will be the biggest victories for all mankind."
    –GOPAC Albania Chair, Namik Dokle

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In Canada, MPs and former MPs joined together at the beginning of April for an information session aimed at inviting new members to CanPAC. The meeting generated lively discussions on the importance of a Canadian Chapter of GOPAC and the impact Canadian members can have on anti- corruption work at home and abroad. The official inaugural meeting will be held at the beginning of May and lay the path to ensure Canada is a leader in global anti-corruption efforts.

 

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Manila 2013: Join us to Fight Corruption

Join us January 29 – February 3, 2013 in Manila, Philippines for the fifth biennial Global Conference of Parliamentarians Against Corruption. Through our workshops, discussion groups and special events, we can build a strong team of parliamentarians dedicated to fighting corruption the world over.

GOPAC is working in partnership with the Philippine Senate and Southeast Asian Parliamentarians Against Corruption (SEAPAC) to ensure this year’s conference is the most successful yet. Check the GOPAC website for updates.

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GOPAC Timor Leste Fighting to Improve Transparency

The ratification and proper implementation of the UNCAC is central to any country’s fight against corruption. It provides countries with a framework and requires them to implement a wide range of anti-corruption measures, laws, policies and procedures.

Following the Timor Leste Government’s recent ratification of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), GOPAC Timor Leste hosted a two-day workshop to raise awareness of what is required to implement the UNCAC and improve transparency within the country. GOPAC members, MPs and representatives from other state institutions in Timor Leste

attended the workshop which took place at the end of March.

"A collective effort on the part of all citizens and national institutions is required to tackle corruption"
    – Maria Paixao, Vice President of Timor
       Leste Parliament

This important event was a partnership between GOPAC, the National Parliament, the European Union, the Asia Foundation and the UNDP. Representatives of the Anti- Corruption Commission, the Office of the Prosecutor General and non-governmental organizations also attended.

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Meet a GOPAC Member

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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.

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Parliaments still vital to public quest
for democracy

At the beginning of April, the Inter- Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) released a joint report examining the changing relationship between parliaments and citizens. In the report, the IPU and the UNDP found that parliaments face greater public scrutiny and pressure than ever before particularly when it comes to their ability to hold governments to account.

"Citizens must have access to information about parliamentary proceedings, legislation and policy, and be able to engage in continual dialogue with parliamentarians."
    – Global Parliamentary Report

More than 125 parliaments and 660 members of parliament (MPs) participated in the report which aims to help both legislative assemblies and politicians better understand and respond to public expectations. It also outlines the many measures that parliaments have already taken to ensure MPs are more accountable including the emergence of parliamentary monitoring organizations; the growing number of parliaments with codes of conduct; and the limits placed on the length of parliamentary mandates.

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It also recommends that to be more effective, MPs should move beyond finding individual, local solutions to their growing constituency work. They should instead channel widespread constituency concerns into parliament’s national legislative work in order to find strategic, tangible responses to common problems.

Visit the IPU website for more on the Global Parliamentary Report.

Copyright © 2012 Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC), All rights reserved.
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