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GOPAC Receives Grant from National Endowment for Democracy

GOPAC is pleased to announce that we have been awarded a grant by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) which will finance a one-year project on strengthening anti-corruption policies and mechanisms in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region. The Arab Region Parliamentarians Against Corruption (ARPAC) regional chapter will use the grant to develop national anti-corruption reports specific to seven MENA region countries: Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia, and Yemen. ARPAC and its national chapters will work with local experts to research and write the reports using the GOPAC-UNDP Anti-Corruption Assessment Tool for Parliamentarians, existing literature and official documents, and interviews with
stakeholders. The project will also include roundtable discussions in each target country involving parliamentarians, civil society organisations, academics, members of the media, and representatives of the judiciary to provide further analysis and recommendations for the reports. Furthermore, ARPAC will produce a comparative regional report highlighting regional trends, successful models, shortcomings, and policy recommendations.

NED is a non-profit organisation based in Washington, D.C. and supports projects and initiatives of non-governmental organisations across the world aimed at strengthening democratic institutions.

Bosnian and Herzegovinian Parliamentarians Attend GOPAC Information Session

On 17 April, an information session was held in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) to introduce members of the BiH Parliamentary Assembly to GOPAC and to help form a GOPAC national chapter. The event was facilitated by the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) initiative titled Strengthening Parliamentarian Capacities and Key Institutions Charged with Fighting Corruption in BiH, which receives support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Norway. Honourable Elizabeth Lloyd Behjat, member of the Parliament of Western Australia and of GOPAC Australia, and Ms Dubravka Filipovski, member of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia and of GOPAC Serbia were among the speakers who took part in the information session.

Hon Behjat gave a detailed overview on GOPAC’s mission and main activities, explained its structure and objectives of
national and regional chapters, and the role that our Global Task Forces (GTFs) play in carrying-out our programmatic priorities. She also spoke more specifically about GOPAC Australia’s experience, explaining its evolution, successes, and challenges.

Following Hon Behjat’s presentation, Ms Dubravka Filipovski spoke about GOPAC Serbia’s work, which included conducting workshops and roundtables at the Parliament of Serbia, promoting GOPAC’s mission during plenary sessions, working with independent state authorities such as the Serbian State Audit Institution, and collaborating with Transparency International and other like-minded non-governmental institutions. She stressed that much work still needs to be done in the Southeastern Europe region and highly encouraged BiH parliamentarians to join the global fight against corruption and establish their own national chapter.

APNAC Holds Biennial General Meeting in Chad

The African Parliamentarians’ Network Against Corruption (APNAC) held their Biennial General Meeting (BGM) in N’Djamena, Chad, 24-26 April. This year’s BGM was hosted by APNAC-Chad and the National Assembly of Chad and welcomed delegates from ten APNAC national chapters, as well as John Hyde, GOPAC Oceania Chair and member of the GOPAC Executive Committee.

The discussions during the three-day meeting were focused on the current climate of political corruption and the lack of parliamentary oversight in national legislatures across Africa. There was consensus among the participants that corruption is increasingly more pervasive in Africa and disproportionately affects those living in extreme poverty. Justice systems across Africa have become prone to corrupt practices and public confidence in courts continues to
decline. Attendees also remarked on the impact corruption is having in the fast-developing extractive sectors and that oversight measures need to be put in place and observed for citizens to fairly benefit from resource development revenues.

As a result of the meeting, parliamentarians are urged to intensify their fights to combat corruption and end impunity in their respective countries and to continue their capacity-building efforts. APNAC national chapters are strongly encouraged to continue building partnerships with civil society organisations which can contribute to the successful implementation of anti-corruption measures. Finally, APNAC Board members are asked to keep working towards the strengthening of the regional chapter and increase efforts to establish additional APNAC national chapters. 

GOPAC CEO Addresses 14th Session of UN Committee of Experts on Public Administration

On 22 April, GOPAC Chief Executive Officer Akaash Maharaj spoke at the 14th session of the United Nations Committee of Experts on Public Administration (UNCEPA). The event was held at the United Nations General Assembly Hall in New York City and welcomed UNCEPA Bureau and Committee Members, representatives of UN Member States and civil society organizations.

As part of his address, Mr Maharaj introduced audience members to GOPAC’s global efforts to bring about international prosecutions of crimes of grand corruption. He explained that GOPAC is currently pursuing four
different avenues in an attempt to realise this endeavour: expand the number of national courts asserting universal jurisdiction over grand corruption; make use of regional courts in Africa, Europe, and Latin America; press for an expansion of the jurisdiction of international institutions or the creation of an international anti-corruption court; and implement a series of civil actions against kleptocrats to force them to return stolen State assets.

We invite you to read Mr Maharaj’s complete address to the UNCEPA and watch the video clip of the session.

GOPAC Releases French Version of Congressional Oversight Handbook

GOPAC proudly announces that Improving Democratic Accountability Globally: A Handbook for Legislators on Congressional Oversight in Presidential Systems is now available in French. The publications, originally released in English and Spanish in 2013, provides legislators in presidential systems with a user-friendly tool to improve the effectiveness of a legislature’s oversight
function. The handbook demonstrates how legislative oversight leads to reduced corruption, how oversight can be evaluated, and what steps can be taken in presidential systems to improve oversight.

We encourage you to share the French version of this publication with your francophone colleagues.

Upcoming Programmes and Trainings Offered by IACA

The International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA) is a pioneering institution in the field of anti-corruption education, training, networking, cooperation, and academic research based in Laxenburg, Austria.  The following is a list of upcoming IACA trainings that are designed to provide participants with hands-on skills to help them become stronger corruption fighters:
  • Best of Luis Moreno Ocampo (deadline 15 June);
  • Master in Anti-Corruption Studies (deadline 30 June);
  • Procurement Anti-Corruption Training (deadline 5 July); and
  • Legal Incentives for Corporate Integrity (deadline to be announced).
All interested GOPAC members are encouraged to submit applications. For more information on these courses, please consult the IACA website

World Bank Offering Free Online Course on Public-Private Partnerships

The World Bank Group (WB) is currently offering Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs): How can PPPs help deliver better services?, a free four-week online course open to all. PPPs are becoming increasingly more common in large infrastructure projects; however they can be especially susceptible to
corruption as they can often lead to conflicts of interest and influence peddling. When implemented properly, PPPs can improve service provision and help drive economic growth. The next online session will begin on 1 June and run through 27 June.

Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s Benchmarks Pave Way for Stronger Parliaments

Parliamentarians across the world will receive valuable guidance on standards of conduct and ethical behaviour thanks to Recommended Benchmarks for Codes of Conduct applying to Members of Parliament, new benchmarks designed to improve parliamentary performance. This world-first initiative was led by Ken Coghill, Associate Professor at Monash University, and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA).

The CPA—an international association of national, provincial/state and, territory parliaments in the UK and its former colonies—recognised that a framework was needed, but little was known about which parliaments had implemented codes of conducts, much less how effective they were. The association therefore commissioned Professor Coghill to develop benchmarks to help guide parliaments in writing such codes.

“Parliaments are most effective when MPs put the public interest ahead of personal gain, favouring campaign donors or other special interests,” said Prof Coghill. 
In his research, Prof Coghill found that the culture present among MPs from any given country represents a significant factor when developing codes of conduct. He adds that the effectiveness of the codes depend on how well they are received by MPs and to what extent their parliament wishes to enforce them.

Draft benchmarks led to recommendations that were debated and adopted by MPs and clerks from the CPA’s global regions, academics, and parliamentary strengthening experts at an international workshop held at Victoria’s state legislature in Australia.

The benchmarks are being circulated to parliaments in Commonwealth countries, who can use them to write their own new and or revised codes; however they may also be used by parliaments of non-Commonwealth countries as the benchmarks were designed to be adapted to any parliament. A full copy of the CPA’s publication is available here.
Copyright © 2015 Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC), All rights reserved.

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