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APNAC Elects New Executive Committee

Members of the African Parliamentarians’ Network Against Corruption (APNAC) gathered for their Biennial General Meeting in Kampala, Uganda, 21-29 April 2013. The meeting provided APNAC with the opportunity to elect a new Board, to review and amend its Constitution and to adopt its 5-year Strategic Plan. The amended constitution strengthens APNAC‘s governance both through its body and the inclusion of a very strong code of conduct.

The Honourable Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu of Ghana was elected Chair of APNAC and Senator Marie-Claire Mukasine of Rwanda was elected Vice-Chair. They are joined on the Board by regional representatives who were also elected at the BGM.

The Hon Louis Vlavonou (Benin) and the Hon Oumar Sarr (Senegal) will represent West Africa; the Hon Margaret Kiboijana (Uganda) and Hon. Dr Mary Mwanjelwa (Tanzania) will represent East Africa; the Hon Ouchar Tourgoudi (Chad) and the Hon Madi Maina Tchari (Chad) will represent Central Africa; and the Hon Willias Madzimure (Zimbabwe) and the Hon Ana Rita Sithole (Mozambique) will represent Southern Africa.

GOPAC’s success is due in large part to the strength of our regional and national chapters and APNAC has been a steadfast leader in the fight against corruption since its inception. We welcome the new Board and look forward to many successes in the fight against corruption in Africa and around the world.



Parliamentary Ethics Forum in El Salvador

GOPAC Latin America and the Caribbean collaborated with the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador to host a parliamentary ethics forum in San Salvador, El Salvador in April 2013. The event drew over 80 participants to discuss the theoretical and practical role of ethics in parliament and in the civil service.

The workshop was chaired by the Hon Sigfrido Reyes, President of the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador and Chair of GOPAC El Salvador. He emphasised the importance of strengthening and expanding the current Codes of Ethics to ensure transparency and probity.

Ricardo Garcia Cervantes, GOPAC Vice-Chair and Chair of GOPAC Latin America and the Caribbean, also spoke at the event stressing the role that public access to information plays in ensuring transparency and, therefore, holding governments to account.

The event concluded with an introduction to GOPAC’s Handbook on Parliamentary Ethics and Conduct: A guide for parliamentarians, a key resource to guide parliamentarians in the understanding and improvement of standards of ethical conduct within legislative bodies.



Peer Support Vital to the Fight Against Corruption in Jamaica

Over the past year, GOPAC Canada has been working with parliamentarians in Jamaica to help build anti-corruption capacity in the Caribbean country. In May, four members from Canada went to Kingston, Jamaica for a Parliamentary Oversight workshop with members of the Public Accounts Committee of the Parliament of Jamaica. The event was also an opportunity to share knowledge about the steps to setting up a GOPAC national chapter in the country.

During the meetings GOPAC Canada and the Parliament of Jamaica signed an agreement to improve scrutiny, transparency and accountability. They also expressed their shared goal to strengthen parliamentary oversight capacity and establish a GOPAC Jamaica chapter.



Parliamentary Forum for Democracy in Mongolia

At the close of April, GOPAC was honoured to participate in the Parliamentary Forum for Democracy as part of the Seventh Ministerial Conference of the Community of Democracies in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The forum brought together over 50 delegates and observers from 15 countries, to deliberate under the theme of Parliaments against Corruption.

GOPAC was well represented at the event. Our participation included Budiman Sudjatmiko from GOPAC Indonesia who spoke on a panel on parliaments combatting corruption and Mairamkul Tilenchieva of GOPAC Kyrgyzstan who spoke on capacity building and future cooperation.

The resolution resulting from the forum urged governments to support the strengthening of coalitions with international anti-corruption organizations including GOPAC. It states that the Parliamentary Forum for Democracy needs to develop stronger relations with such organizations and networks with the aim of increasing knowledge sharing and capacity-building – a move that GOPAC welcomes and encourages.





Reconciling Hopes with Realities in the Fight Against Corruption

In April 2013, members of GOPAC’s regional chapter Arab Region Parliamentarians Against Corruption (ARPAC), participated in the Fourth UNDP Arab Anti-Corruption and Integrity Network Conference in Beirut, Lebanon hosted by the United Nations Development Program. The conference, entitled Reconciling Hopes with Realities in the Fight against Corruption: Paving the Way for Innovation, provided participants with a unique common space to acquire in-depth knowledge about the recent efforts of Arab countries in the area of anti-corruption and draw lessons from the experiences of countries outside the Arab region.

GOPAC Executive Director, Akaash Maharaj, presented at the Strengthening cooperation to recover assets derived from corruption workshop alongside Emma Walters, Regional Governance Adviser (Anti-Corruption) for MENA Region for the Department for International Development of the United Kingdom and Jean-Pierre Brun, Senior Financial Sector Specialist at Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR). Mr Maharaj delivered remarks on strengthening international cooperation to recover assets derived from corruption.

He shared the challenges countries may face; how new government can identify stolen assets and work with foreign governments to facilitate the recovery of the funds; and how countries can work together to make it possible to bring the perpetrators of grand corruption before international institutions and ensure that they are brought to justice.

“Political corruption kills more people than war and famine combined. No matter how fast they run or how far they hide, perpetrators of grand corruption should not be allowed to escape justice”.

Akaash Maharaj
Executive Director, GOPAC

On the side lines of the conference, ARPAC hosted a meeting of its Executive Board and invited Mr. Maharaj to participate. Together they discussed ARPAC’s priorities. Mr. Maharaj affirmed the Global Secretariat’s commitment to support GOPAC regional chapters and to help facilitate the realisation of their priorities.



Strengthening UNCAC and its Review Mechanism – UNCAC Coalition

The Chair of GOPAC’s United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) Global Task Force, Dr. Naser Al Sane participated in the UNCAC Implementation Review Group Non-Governmental Organization Briefing as a member of Transparency International’s delegation. The briefing took place in Vienna, Austria on 30 May.

The States Parties to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) are required to align their policies and legislation with the measures prescribed in the Convention. This Implementation Review Mechanism has been designed to assist State Parties to gather information on the implementation of the UNCAC and to report on progress in this area.

While the States Parties to the UNCAC, the Implementation Review Group (IRG), and UNODC were commended for their progress made to date in the first cycle of the implementation review of the UNCAC, several issues were raised by the TI delegation concerning restrictions being placed on NGOs to participate as observers in the IRG.

During the session, Dr. Al Sane stated that GOPAC is urging its member parliamentarians to work with international organizations and civil society organizations such as the UNODC, the UNCAC Coalition and Transparency International to ensure that the Implementation Review Mechanism is an open and transparent process at the national level. He also stressed that the States Parties need to follow the already applicable Rules of Procedure of the Conference of States Parties which state that NGOs should be admitted as observers to IRG sessions.

Civil society participation in international review mechanism bodies is essential as it contributes to genuine dialogue and helps to improve law, policies, programmes and institutions at a national level. Access to information and open meetings are the basis to instill trust in citizens.

In the lead up to the IRG meeting, the UNCAC Coalition, consisting of over 300 civil society members, sent a letter to the IRG on civil society's contribution to the UNCAC Review Mechanism. The full letter is available on the UNCAC Coalition website.




Call for Bids for the Sixth Global Conference of Parliamentarians Against Corruption

The Global Conference of Parliamentarians Against Corruption is GOPAC’s flagship gathering and one of the foremost events for the worldwide anti-corruption movement. The fifth Global Conference of Parliamentarians Against Corruption in Manila, Philippines was our most successful to date, with over 600 delegates gathered from more than 70 countries. As our network grows larger and stronger, we have no doubt that our next Global Conference will surpass Manila’s impressive precedent.

We are now accepting expressions of interest from countries to host the 2015 Global Conference.

The GOPAC Global Conference of Parliamentarians Against Corruption is a unique opportunity for the host country – their parliaments and parliamentarians – to demonstrate leadership in shaping the agenda for the international anti-corruption community, and to take centre stage in the worldwide fight against corruption.

All proposals should follow the Guidelines for Submitting a Proposal . Please submit your proposal to Emilie Lemieux at the GOPAC Global Secretariat at emilie.lemieux@gopac
by 31 August 2013. The GOPAC Executive Committee expects to render its decision by 30 November 2013.

Copyright © 2013 Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC), All rights reserved.
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