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GOPAC Audit Committee Member Joins International Anti-Corruption Day Celebrations in Guinea

The Honourable Aliou Barry, a parliamentarian in Guinea and member of GOPAC’s Audit Committee, participated in several events in recognition of International Anti-Corruption Day in Conakry, Guinea. Ahead of the official celebrations, over 50 youth took part a mini-marathon to bring awareness to the fight against corruption and the Hon Barry spoke at a news conference about corruption and its negative effects on development. At the news conference, he was joined by representatives from Agence nationale de lutte contre la corruption, Agence guinéenne de la transparence, and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.

On International Anti-Corruption Day, 9 December, a conference was jointly organised by the United Nations Development Programme’s office in Guinea and Coordination des jeunes intègres pour le développement de Guinée (COJID-GUINEE) at the Université Général Lansana Conté de Sonfonia. In his presentation, the Coordinator of COJID-GUINEE,
Souleyman Camara, explained that corruption not only fuels grave inequalities, but also plays a major role in halting economic growth and undermining good governance. Mr Camara affirmed that corruption is especially detrimental to the young, as it jeopardises their futures and their ability to reach their full potential.

The Hon Barry gave remarks on the devastating financial burden corruption imposes on African countries. He stated that while Africa receives $50 billion per year in development assistance, more than $148 billion are lost each year due to corruption. He urged young people to use their voices to denounce unethical behaviour, stressing that they can be incredible agents of change in the fight to end corruption.

The Hon Barry also gave training sessions to students to strengthen their knowledge of anti-corruption measures, help them grasp the importance of the rule of law, and raise their awareness of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.

GOPAC Kiribati Member Moves Motion to Help Recover Assets

In the fall of 2014, the Hon Alexander Teabo, GOPAC member, brought forward a motion in the Kiribati House of Assembly in an effort to find out how more than $1.1 million was stolen from the State’s coffers. Kiribati acquired this amount through a development aid fund from Taiwan that was intended to help pay for a new landing craft; however, the money reportedly never reached the Filipino supplier responsible for building the craft. The Kiribati President launched a full investigation, which has already led to the suspension of a deputy minister-level official.

The Hon Teabo is calling for significant improvements in the way development aid is managed in Kiribati, stating that a
lack of competence, care, and responsible behaviour may be some of the reasons why these funds went missing. As explained in its Improving Oversight in the Management of Development Aid position paper, GOPAC strongly encourages parliamentarians to maintain high levels of engagement with donor agencies and the funding process in order to reduce any dishonest use of donor aid. When these funds are misused or lost due to corrupt practices, governments are unable to provide the necessary relief to their poorest and most vulnerable citizens.

Building Stronger Global Participation for
Post-2015 Negotiations

Beyond 2015, a civil society campaign which aims to promote a strong and people-centred post-2015 agenda, launched a Call for Participation in early December. Their intent was to urge global leaders to push for meaningful participation of civil society organizations and citizens from all walks of life in the official post-2015 negotiation and implementation process.
The six-day exercise garnered the support of 826 organizations from 110 countries across all continents, including GOPAC. The full results of Beyond 2015’s Call for Participation are available for viewing here:
http://www.beyond2015.org/news/call-participation-results

GOPAC Board Member Speaks at Extractive Industries Seminar

The International Monetary Fund, World Bank Institute, Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Natural Resource Governance Institute, and United Nations Development Programme collaborated to host Transparency and Accountability in Extractive Industries: The Role of the Legislature, a global conference held from 12-16 January at the Parliament buildings in Kigali, Rwanda.

On the second day of the conference, GOPAC Board member, Senator Marie Claire Mukasine, participated in a panel session on the oversight role parliamentarians need to play to ensure that citizens fairly benefit from revenues obtained through natural resource development. Sen Mukasine explained that as Rwanda sees the rapid growth of their mining sector, parliamentarians
need to put into place oversight measures that will secure the integrity of public infrastructure investments. She indicated that the abuse of power by those in decision-making positions, resource extraction operations in remote locations, and the lack of mature banking systems are some of the key drivers of corruption currently plaguing the mining sector.

Sen Mukasine went on to provide ten recommendations that parliamentarians should incorporate in their oversight work of the resource sector, which are outlined in GOPAC’s position paper, The Shared Benefits of Resource Revenue Transparency.

ARPAC Participates in Roundtable on Protection for Whistleblowers

ARPAC, in collaboration with the Lebanese Transparency Association (LTA), organized a roundtable to discuss the proposed law on whistleblower protection, which was presented to the Lebanese Parliament in 2010. The event took place on 11 December in Beirut, Lebanon. Speakers who attended the roundtable all agreed that passing legislation to protect whistleblowers in Lebanon is absolutely crucial and would allow journalists to report freely on the country’s corruption cases without fearing persecution. They also discussed the dire need for a Lebanese anti-corruption commission, as well as a law on access to information. Such legislation would allow citizens and civil society groups in Lebanon to obtain public information and use it to hold their government to account.
This event is part of the larger Political Corruption project that the Coalition for Accountability and Integrity – AMAN (Transparency International’s national Palestinian chapter) is leading. The project aims to raise awareness of the state of political corruption in the Arab world and provide a set of recommendations to help develop strategies and plans for tackling and preventing corruption. The AMAN-led initiative is focusing its research on Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen, Tunisia, Morocco, and Palestine.

The LTA invites everyone to sign their petition on whistleblower protection in Lebanon: http://transparency-lebanon.org/En/PetitionForm/1/26/0
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