|Mark your Calendars!
The fifth biennial GOPAC Global Conference is only one year away in Manila, Philippines – January 31- February 2, 2013. GOPAC members and stakeholders will once again converge to share, inspire and educate, ensuring we are strong in the ongoing fight against corruption. GOPAC Global Secretariat staff, in collaboration with the GOPAC National Chapter in the Philippines, are hard at work planning the event. We will be launching the official conference website in the coming months.
GOPAC Vice-President and Chair of GOPAC América Latina y el Caribe García Cervantes Visits Global Secretariat
GOPAC Vice-President, Senator Ricardo García Cervantes, was in Ottawa at the end of January to meet with Global Secretariat staff and GOPAC stakeholders. The meetings provided Sen. García Cervantes, Interim Board Member of América Latina y el Caribe Mae. Fernando Pérez Noriega, GOPAC CEO John Williams and the Director of the Global Secretariat Andrea Blake with the opportunity to discuss the roles and responsibilities shared between the Global Secretariat and América Latina y el Caribe, the Latin American Chapter of GOPAC chaired by the Senator. The visit also afforded the Senator the opportunity to meet with representatives from partner organizations Parliamentary Centre, ParlAmericas and the Government of Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
These meetings work to strengthen the relationship between the Global Secretariat and Regional Chapters and ensure the fight against corruption is a collective one.
Parliamentarians from Burkina Faso Attend Anti-Corruption Workshop
To help parliamentarians from Burkina Faso complete the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) self-evaluation tool, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) organized a workshop January 12-13, 2012 with the help of the BURKINDI Network and the UNDP regional office in Dakar. The BURKINDI Network is the National Chapter of GOPAC in Burkino Faso and is made up of parliamentarians from the National Assembly who are interested in fighting corruption. Over 65 of 111 Representatives from the National Assembly participated in the workshop. Also in attendance were representatives from the Court of Auditors; National Commission for the Fight Against Corruption; Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ministry of Finance; civil society organizations involved in the fight against corruption; independent experts from research institutes and universities specializing in corruption issues or the professional development of parliamentarians; and media covering parliamentary issues or who have experience making requests for information from the National Assembly.
According to the Chair of the BURKINDI Network, MP Dieudonné Bonanet, the objective of the workshop was to provide parliamentarians with the tools and knowledge necessary for fighting corruption. “This will allow them to contribute to the official review of the application of the UNCAC,” said MP Bonanet. He also highlighted that the workshop constituted a perfect opportunity for partnerships between parliament and state bodies, civil society, media, and academics.
The workshop was coordinated by four independent experts from Senegal and Benin including: Marie Laberge and Luc Damiba, independent experts from the UNDP regional office in Dakar; Felix Ye, democratic government specialist from the UNDP regional office in Dakar; and Epiphane Adjovi, independent expert from Benin.
Participants actively participated in discussions arising from the workshop, demonstrating not only their keen interest in the workshop but also a strong political will in parliament to fight corruption. At the end of the workshop, the experts were satisfied with the results of the two days. They were also hopeful that an advocacy tool will be developed for the implementation of recommendations from the workshop as well as a tool for monitoring efforts and progress indicators and one for strengthening capacities of the National Assembly and the BURKINDI Network.
GOPAC Members in Latin America Attend Anti-Corruption Seminar in Chile
Members of GOPAC’s Regional Chapter in Latin America participated in the International Seminar on Probity and Transparency in the National Congress and in the Political Party System held in Santiago, Chile January 12-13. As part of the meetings, they contributed to the Santiago Declaration on transparency and integrity in parliaments and political parties and reaffirmed their commitment to fighting corruption in the region. Participants also analyzed aspects of how political parties operate including transparency of activities, internal democracy, financing and spending, lobbying, and conflict of interest.
GOPAC members attending the meetings included Senator Ricardo García Cervantes, Chair of GOPAC’s Regional Chapter in Latin America, Senator Carlos Baráibar from Uruguay, Senator Juan Manuel Galán from Colombia and Representatives Douglas Leonardo Mejía Avilés, Inmar Reyes and Rafael Paz Velis from El Salvador. In addition, the meetings were attended by high ranking officials throughout the region including: Guido Girardi, President of the Senate, Chile; José Miguel Insulza, Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS); Heraldo Muñoz, Regional director of UNDP for Latin America and the Caribbean; Sen. Hernán Larraín, President of the Ethics and Transparency Commission for Chilean Senate; President of the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica, Juan Carlos Mendoza; and President of the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador Sigfrido Reyes.
At the event, Sen. Garcia Cervantes advanced the anti-corruption agenda in the region and highlighted that many legislatures in the region are seriously analyzing ways to control various aspects of anti-corruption, including money laundering, addressing conflict of interests and increasing accountability. The Senator also spoke about the work Mexican Senators are doing to adhere to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. He stressed the importance of each nation looking at its situation and implementing appropriate legal frameworks. He also stressed that increased communication between parliamentarians can facilitate the sharing of best practices. GOPAC can help on all these fronts as it can facilitate information exchanges and provide parliamentarians with tools they can use to combat corruption and increase democratic accountability.
Steps towards a new GOPAC National Chapter in El Salvador
As part of the International Seminar on Probity and Transparency in the National Congress and in the Political Party System held in Chile, Senator Ricardo García Cervantes in his capacity as Chair of GOPAC América Latina y el Caribe, and Sigfrido Reyes, the president of the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador, signed a letter of intent to create a GOPAC National Chapter in El Salvador.
The letter highlights the need for parliamentarians from countries that make up GOPAC América Latina y el Caribe to link their efforts in combating corruption and their commitment to conduct their public and private life with integrity. It encourages members to adopt the Code of Ethics and Conduct of GOPAC.
It is with great enthusiasm that we welcome El Salvador as a chapter in formation and are committed to providing technical advice and assistance for the creation of the new National Chapter and their integration into GOPAC.
Deadline for Global Monitoring Survey Submissions Fast Approaching
Please help us share crucial information about anti-corruption initiatives being undertaken by our National Chapters by completing our Global Monitoring Survey. Information collected in the survey will help shape the development of programming and resources we provided through the Global Secretariat and aid us fight against corruption around the world.
We would like all National Chapters to return completed surveys by February 10. For additional information on the Global Monitoring Program or to obtain a copy of the Global Monitoring Survey, please contact Priya Sood at the GOPAC Global Secretariat.
Call for Workshop Requests
We would like to invite National and Regional Chapters to submit requests to the Global Secretariat for Global Task Force (GTF) workshops to be held in your region or country. GTF workshops are available in a wide range of topics such as anti-money laundering, the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, parliamentary ethics and conduct, and parliamentary oversight. We can even tailor a workshop to suit the needs of specific regions and countries. For countries not yet part of the GOPAC network, we also offer an introductory workshop on starting a National Chapter and the fight against corruption.
For more information about holding a GOPAC Global Task Force Workshop in your region or country, please contact the Global Secretariat.