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Meeting of Inter-Parliamentary Commission on Financial, Economic and Budgetary Issues of FOPREL in Panama City, Panama

The cost of corruption is enormous, both in economic and social terms. According to the Association of Fraud Examiners, criminals launder anywhere from US$100 billion to US$250 billion each year, equivalent to 2-5% of Latin America's US$5 trillion GDP.

As such, the First Working Meeting of the Inter-parliamentary Commission on Financial, Economic and Budgetary Issues of the Forum of Presidents of Legislative Powers in Central America and the Caribbean (FOPREL) focused their discussions on how to strengthen their respective Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regimes. Parliamentarians from Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama were keen to learn more about GOPAC and what national chapters could do to enhance their national anti-corruption strategies.

Honourable Mary King, GOPAC Global Task Force AML member, introduced the GOPAC Anti-Money Laundering Action Guide for Parliamentarians, an effective tool to assist parliamentarians in introducing AML legislation. She encouraged participants to join the GOPAC network, establish coalitions of parliamentarians and develop concrete, multi-partisan national anti-money laundering action plans.

Mr. Emile van der Does de Willebois , from the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR) initiative, described approaches to recovering proceeds of corruption located in foreign jurisdictions, identified the difficulties that practitioners are likely to encounter and suggested options to address these challenges.

Members of parliament signed a Declaration resolving to:

  • Promote capacity building initiatives for parliamentarians and legislative officials in the region on AML and the recovery of stolen assets;
  • Support and promote the development of a draft framework law to combat money laundering; and
  • Convene another inter-parliamentary meeting of the members of the parliamentary committee within 4 months for analysis, discussion and adoption of the draft framework law.

NL_Mar_AkaashMaharaj.JPGGOPAC Global Secretariat Welcomes a New Executive Director

GOPAC is delighted to welcome Akaash Maharaj as our new Executive Director. Akaash previously served as our Chief Operating Officer, but has now taken on overall leadership of the Global Secretariat as GOPAC’s primary professional officer.

“I am grateful to GOPAC’s Chair and Executive Committee for their confidence,” said Akaash, “and I will work tirelessly to justify their faith. I am sincerely honoured to serve the cause of public integrity alongside the GOPAC membership and staff.”

Akaash has a distinguished history in the global anti-corruption, pro-democracy, and human rights movements. A frequent contributor to international debate, his articles have been published by newspapers in every region of the world, and Maclean’s magazine named him one of Canada’s 50 “most well-known and respected personalities”.

Outside of his professional life, Akaash is an active international athlete, and was a triple gold medallist at the International Championships of Equestrian Skill‑at‑Arms. He also led the Canadian Equestrian Team as CEO during their most successful Olympic and Paralympic Games of all time.

He earned his Master of Arts from Oxford University, in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, and was the first overseas student elected President of the student government in the history of the 900 year‑old University.

Akaash is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and has been decorated twice in Canada’s national honours, for his work on peace in the Middle East and for his service to the integrity of international sport.





GOPAC Global Conference Calls for Legal Instruments to Prosecute Corruption

Legislators from around the world have resolved to seek the adoption of global legal instruments to enable the international community to pursue and prosecute the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of corruption. The resolution was a key part of the Declaration adopted at the Fifth Global Conference of Parliamentarians Against Corruption, in Manila, Philippines, 31 January to 2 February 2013.

The Manila Declaration also called for the promotion of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), enforceable codes of ethics and conduct over parliamentarians themselves, and broader participation from all segments of society in the fight against corruption. The Declaration

embraced GOPAC’s five Global Task Forces (GTFs), which cover the UNCAC, anti-money laundering, parliamentary ethics and conduct, parliamentary oversight, and participation of society, as well as the women’s parliamentary network.

"A successful fight against corruption requires the cooperation of legislators and partner organizations around the world,” said new GOPAC Chair Senator Edgardo J. Angara of the Philippines. “Through our Conference Declaration, we are urging the international community to take an active part in bringing the corrupt to justice and protect the rights and well-being of peoples."



International Women’s Day Sees Formal Launch of GOPAC’s Women in Parliament Network

GOPAC honoured International Women’s Day on 8 March by formally launching its Women in Parliament Network (WPN) to support the efforts of female parliamentarians to combat corruption and to strengthen democracy and good governance. GOPAC’s global membership made the decision to launch the Women in Parliament Network at our fifth Global Conference, held in Manila from 31 January to 2 February 2013. During the Global Conference session on women in the fight against corruption, distinguished speakers presented strong cases that governments that include more women in key decision-making positions tend to be more democratic and less susceptible to corruption.

"We have been celebrating International Women’s Day for over a century and, in line with this year’s theme, GOPAC’s Women in Parliament Network is ensuring that we continue advancing gender equality in the legislatures and societies of the world,” said Donya Aziz, Chair of the Women in Parliament

Network and a Member of Parliament in Pakistan. “GOPAC believes it is vital to empower female members to become involved in the full range of parliamentary committees and not accept being confined to roles traditionally associated with women."

GOPAC’s Women in Parliament Network will support its members through a range of activities, including peer mentoring, capacity-building workshops, and the sharing of best practices. It will also work with partners such as the United Nations, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, and civil society organizations to conduct and share research on gender dimensions to the effects of corruption, transparency, and good governance. Any members who would like to join the Network are encouraged to contact GTF Advisor Vicki Baxter at in her capacity as Network Coordinator.



GOPAC Joins Forces with the International Anti-Corruption Academy

A formal agreement to cooperate in the areas of technical assistance, education and research will bolster the leadership of GOPAC members in the anti-corruption movement.

Martin Kreutner, Dean and Executive Secretary of the International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA) joined outgoing GOPAC Chair, Dr. Naser Al Sane in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that formalizes the organizations’ shared commitment to working collaboratively in the prevention of and fight against corruption.

In his presentation to conference delegates, Dean Kreutner congratulated GOPAC members on their success noting the benefits of GOPAC’s work on the anti-corruption movement and stating, “I thus support and highly commend the respected work of GOPAC and its members

and am delighted by the prospect for furthering our cooperation, by joining forces against the evil of corruption”.

Founded in 2010, IACA provides tailor-made training to strengthen individuals’ capacities in the fight against corruption. GOPAC and IACA will work together to develop the capacity of parliamentarians by inviting GOPAC members to participate in specialized training courses as participants as well as instructors.

The two organizations have already begun to collaborate under the umbrella of this MOU and we are certain that our joint projects will advance the capacity of parliamentarians to resist and fight corruption, increase compliance to international anti-corruption standards and result in an improved respect for the rule of law globally.


Call to our members to participate in the Review Mechanism of the UNCAC

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. A review mechanism process was approved at the 3rd Conference of State Parties in 2009. This has been designed to assist State Parties to gather information on the implementation of the Convention and to report on progress in this area.

In most cases, the self-assessment process is driven by the executive branch of government and the independent anti-corruption agency, with only very limited participation of the legislative and judicial branches. Too often, this process limits the role of non-state actors, particularly in countries marked by unstable governance practices and where the executive is particularly prominent. The results of the review mechanism therefore only reflect the views of the executive on the issue of the fight against corruption, giving a misleading picture of the activities of other branches of government. A more participatory process is recommended to improve responses to the review mechanism.

When the preparation of responses to the review mechanism is collaborative, the self-assessment process is then a transparency mechanism in itself. Meaningful participation of the legislative branch and civil society also marks the seriousness of the government's commitment in the implementation of UNCAC, helps raise public awareness of corruption and therefore increases the general intolerance towards the phenomenon.

We are therefore calling on you, our members, to:



GOPAC encourages its members to attend the 6th Annual Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Global Conference on 23-24 May, 2013 in Sydney Australia.

The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) standards encourage transparency in financial transactions between governments and the private sector with the

objective of improving governance and reducing corruption. EITI compliance is an expression of a country’s willingness to improve transparency. Building on this momentum, we encourage all EITI candidate and compliant countries to create and support active GOPAC chapters. Together we can strengthen our coalition against corruption.

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