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GOPAC Granted Observer Status at CoSP-UNCAC

A GOPAC delegation will be attending the fifth session of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (CoSP-UNCAC) as Official Observers. The Observer Status officially allows GOPAC to participate in NGO briefings during the Conference in addition to other UNCAC working group and implementation review group meetings. This access allows for greater opportunities to ensure State Parties to the Convention are sharing information openly as well as to remind them of their commitments under the Convention to promote and strengthen measures to prevent and combat corruption more efficiently and effectively and to ensure their implementation.
GOPAC is partnering with the UNCAC Civil Society Coalition and calling on our members to implore their States Parties to:

In parallel with the formal CoSP-UNCAC proceedings, GOPAC is hosting its Fifth Forum of Parliamentarians and welcomes all to attend. The event will take place on 27 November in La Huaca Theater in the Atlapa Convention Center, Panama City.

GOPAC Zambia and GOPAC Oceania Chairs Advocate for Anti-corruption in Post 2015 UN Agenda

The Chair of GOPAC Zambia, Hon Cornelius Mweetwa was an official young parliamentarian delegate from Zambia at the Global Young Parliamentarians Consultation on International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and Post 2015 UN Development Agenda held in Negombo, Sri Lanka in October. The event examined the progress made in the implementation of the Programme of Action adopted by 179 nations in 1994 in Cairo at the International Conference on Population and Development. GOPAC Oceania Chair, John Hyde, was also present and moderated sessions. Mr Hyde and Hon Mweetwa discussed GOPAC's efforts to incorporate anti-corruption into the Post 2015 agenda.

“Anti-corruption needs to be part of the Post 2015 UN Agenda,” GOPAC Zambia Chair Hon Cornelius Mweetwa told MPs participating in the event.
He moved that the Second Global Young Parliamentarians' Dialogue on ICPD issues include a recommendation that: Any future development goals need to address eradicating corruption in order to increase resources for population and development.

“MPs, particularly young parliamentarians, realise that money lost to corruption is money that cannot be devoted to tackling maternal childbirth, decreasing teenage pregnancies and comprehensive sexuality education,” said Mr Hyde. “Anti-corruption must be more prominent in the important ICPD and Millennium Development Goals discussion.”

Parliamentarians Key Players in Development Framework

Those committed to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are realising that the full benefits won’t be realised unless parliamentarians become key players and corruption is tackled head on.
That was a key message coming out of the Seoul Post 2015 conference on implementation, according to John Hyde, Chair of GOPAC Oceania.

“With only 800 days till the United Nations (UN) deliver the framework to guide development in the Post 2015 era, people understand that shared global goals to end poverty and realise true human rights need the active participation of elected MPs to achieve implementation at the local level,” said Mr Hyde, who spoke at this week’s conference in Korea.

Diverse experts from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), civil society, medicine, education and other fields all addressed the roadblock of corruption in achieving the existing eight MDGs.
“An estimated $6.2 trillion is lost to corruption each year, while funding the MDGs would cost no more than $481 billion in development,” said Mr Hyde. “What humanity loses to corruption in a single year would be enough to end poverty and fund rights-based sustainable development a dozen times over.”

The UNDP’s own consultation with a million people saw good and responsive governance as the third priority, behind health and education for Post 2015.

GOPAC is urging the UN to commit to the new proposed Goal 10 e) of the High-Level Panel Report on the Post 2015 Development Agenda: “to reduce bribery and corruption and ensure officials can be held accountable”

Launch of GOPAC Sri Lanka

Sixteen government and opposition parliamentarians from Sri Lanka gathered in Sri Jayawardanepura, Kotte, in October to set up the 48th national chapter of GOPAC. Meeting at the Parliament of Sri Lanka complex the participants signed up to ensure there was transparent oversight of anti-corruption, mindful that in 2004 Sri Lanka became the first South Asian country to sign the UN’s Convention against Corruption. All party leaders were present at the meeting. An additional 16 parliamentarians who were unable to attend the event have also pledge their support to join in the fight.
The GOPAC Sri Lanka Members of Parliament (MPs) elected the Hon Rauff Hakeem MP as chair. Hon Hakeem serves as the Minister of Justice and is the Leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, a minority party member of the Sri Lankan Government.

The GOPAC Sri Lanka MPs met again on 8 October to adopt their yearly action plan. MPs at the inaugural meeting identified money laundering, review of the UNCAC and transparency in procurement as issues they may consider.
Has your parliament played an active role in the monitoring and implementation of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) in your country?

Share your thoughts here: GOPAC Question of the Month

GOPAC Delegation at International Anti-corruption Conference in Peru

On 26 September, GOPAC hosted a panel session at the IV International Anti-Corruption Conference hosted by the Controller General’s Office of Peru. With the theme of this year’s event being “Networks for the Prevention of Corruption”, GOPAC was pleased to have the opportunity to showcase some of the work being undertaken to fight corruption and promote transparency by our network of parliamentarians around the world.  Representing GOPAC’s Global Task Force for Parliamentary Oversight, Cesar Jauregui from GOPAC Mexico spoke about the important role Parliamentarians play in combatting corruption through oversight of the Executive, while GTF Advisor Vicki Baxter Amade highlighted some of the steps parliamentarians can take in promoting the participation of society in combatting corruption. 
The recently established GOPAC Peru chapter took advantage of the event to present their plans to the Peruvian public, with Chair Carlos Bruce calling for the appointment of an Independent Auditor General to oversee the finances of Peru’s Congress, and committing the local chapter to work in partnership with the Controller General’s Office in combatting corruption.  

An audience of 800 people representing ministers, parliamentarians, public officials and civil society welcomed the participation of GOPAC in the event and applauded the establishment of a formal GOPAC chapter in Peru.

New Members of our Board of Directors

GOPAC is proud to announce that John Hyde, Chair of GOPAC Oceania, was elected Treasurer of the Executive Committee in October. Mr Hyde was already on the Board of Directors as a representative of the Oceania region. He originally joined GOPAC in 2011 and since then has been a strong leader for the organization. He has been instrumental in the formation of a national chapter in his home country of Australia, as well as national chapters in Kiribati and Sri Lanka.

The Board of Directors has also elected an Audit Committee. The Chair of the committee is Fernanda Borges of GOPAC Timor Leste.
She is joined by Hon Shakeel Shabbir Ahmed (Kenya), Ms Yasmin Ratansi (Canada), Hon Robert Masitara (Botswana), and Hon Aliou Barry (Guinea).

The purpose of the Audit Committee is to assist the Board in fulfilling its responsibilities, by providing oversight of the GOPAC annual audit as well as oversight of investigations of significant cases of conflict of interest, misconduct, fraud, and abuse.

New Chair of United Nations Convention Against Corruption Global Task Force

The United Nations Convention Against Corruption Global Task Force welcomed Hon Kamarudin Jaffar as the new Chair in October. Hon Jaffar is also the Chair of GOPAC Malaysia. The outgoing GTF-UNCAC Chair Dr. Naser Al Sane will remain as a member of the GTF.

GOPAC’s involvement in the UNCAC began with its participation at the Merida, Mexico signing ceremony in December 2003. A resolution of the GOPAC Global Conference in Arusha, Tanzania in September 2006 outlined the commitment to form the United Nations Convention against Corruption Global Task Force (GTF-UNCAC) to promote the effective implementation of the UNCAC and also identify complementary improvements in the governance roles of parliamentarians.

Hon Jaffar has degrees from the University of Kent at Canterbury and School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, United Kingdom.
He once served as an officer in the Malaysian Civil Service and later became a lecturer at the National University of Malaysia. He was the founding Director of the Institute for Policy Research (IKD) in 1985. In 1986, he was appointed the Political Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister, Abdul Ghafar Baba. In 1991 he relinquished this post but continued his political positions in UMNO becoming its Division head of Tumpat in 1998.

He was detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) on 21st September 1998, a day after Deputy Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim was arrested. He was freed after eighteen days but was stripped of his party membership in July 1999. Hon Jaffar was first elected to parliament in 1999. He won his seat again in the 2004, 2008 and 2013 elections. He was the Secretary-General of PAS from 2005 to 2009.In parliament he has served as a member of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) since 2004.

Promoting Guidelines to Strengthen Oversight at WB/IMF Annual Meetings

GOPAC Program Advisor, Dr Lesley Burns, attended the annual meetings of the World Bank (WB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) and of the Parliamentary Network of the WB and IMF held at the IMF headquarters in Washington DC, 8-10 October 2013. The event was an opportunity to promote the Guidelines to Strengthen Oversight through Parliamentarian-Donor Collaboration, our oversight tool developed in collaboration with the Parliamentary Network on the WB and IMF.

The Parliamentary Network meeting included a session on anti-corruption work undertaken by the WB which included lively discussions from legislators.
Parliamentarians enquired about the WB’s efforts towards ensuring increased collaboration with parliamentarians. They also expressed a desire to work more closely with donor organizations to ensure aid money is spent effectively in their countries to ensure they are accountable to their citizens. In line with the recommendations set out in the Guidelines to Strengthen Oversight, parliamentarians also called for regular and mandatory meetings with WB and IMF staff throughout the life of WB or IMF funded projects.

Collaborating with Civil Society Stakeholders to Fight Corruption and Promote Transparency

GOPAC Canada and the GOPAC Global Secretariat have partnered with Transparency International Canada to bring together civil society organizations in Canada working in the fields of anti-corruption and pro-transparency. The group gathered on Parliament Hill on 9 October to discuss opportunities to increase their collective impact in the exercise of public leadership by working together. Participating organizations included Publish What You Pay Canada, FAIR Canada, Canadians for Tax Fairness, the International Development Research Centre, the Canadian Bar Association, Paul Maillet Center for Ethics, Connective Capacity Consulting, the Halifax Initiative, the Parliamentary Network, the Ethics Practitioners Association of Canada, and the Canadian Red Cross.
 
The purpose of this gathering was to better understand the achievements and priorities of participating organizations and to identify issues of common interest that would benefit from collaboration between organizations.

 
Overall, the meeting was a success. The participating organizations identified a number of key shared issues, including beneficial ownership, whistleblower protection, and joint anti-corruption advocacy. Attendees were keen on moving forward and building a stronger and more effective anti-corruption community, both in Canada and abroad. They agreed to report to their respective organizations on the outcomes of the meeting, determine which issues they would be most interested in collaborating on, and prepare to commit to working with each other in the weeks and months to come.

For their part, GOPAC Canada together with the GOPAC Global Secretariat have committed to take the lead on advocating for beneficial ownership and organizing a joint activity on International Anti-Corruption Day, 9 December, to raise support for the anti-corruption agenda in Canada.
By working together, civil society organizations can further advance their respective mandates of improving accountability and integrity in the public sphere.
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