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Strengthening Transparency, Accountability and Integrity in Defence and Security Sector

On 7-9 November, GOPAC joined forces with NATO and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NPA) to collaborate on a three-day workshop to explore corruption in the defence and security sector and promote good practice and practical tools to strengthen transparency, accountability and integrity, with emphasis on the role that could be played by legislators. This was the first workshop jointly hosted by GOPAC, NATO, and NPA. It was held in Vienna, Austria at the International Anti-Corruption Academy, a strong GOPAC partner.

Participants, mostly members of parliament, came from Ukraine, Austria, Latvia, Serbia, Armenia, Australia, Canada, Colombia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Afghanistan, Montenegro, Norway, and Bulgaria. There were also representatives from various NGOs, academia, the diplomatic corps, and the military.
The event included panel sessions on the impact of corruption on defence and security; oversight in defence management; and a stronger dialog that would bring a balance between the need for military secrecy and clear oversight. Parliamentarians were also given an opportunity to share national experiences which included representatives from Armenia, Latvia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Afghanistan. The closing day of the conference hosted breakout sessions where participants were invited to a free exchange of ideas.

In addition to providing a venue for important discussion on the role of anti-corruption measure in the defence and security sectors, the event also provided an opportunity to promote the important work of GOPAC. It allowed us to reach out to new members that will help us build an even stronger network in the fight against corruption.

GOPAC Welcomes New Chapter in Ecuador

Ecuadorian parliamentarians from various political parties met in Quito, Ecuador in October to launch GOPAC Ecuador, the seventh national chapter in GOPAC’s regional chapter in Latin America and the Caribbean. The event was hosted by Observatorio Legislativo and the Canadian Embassy.

Activities included the presentation of the 2014 Latin American Legislative Transparency Index. This Index was developed in collaboration with civil society organizations that are part of the Latin American Network for Legislative Transparency. It contains relevant information on the legislative powers of the region and aims to comparatively evaluate them.

The new GOPAC members also elected an Executive Committee to lead the chapter. They welcomed
Dr Miguel Angel Moreta as the inaugural Chair. He is joined by Cristina Reyes as the Vice-Chair, Wilson Chicaiza as the Treasurer and Luis Tapia as the Secretary. Observatorio Legislativo, a civil society NGO based in Ecuador, has agreed to function as the GOPAC Ecuador Secretariat.

Dr Moreta pledged to uphold a commitment to transparency and contribute to the work being carried out by GOPAC. The Executive Committee will now work with chapter members towards developing an action plan on the anti-corruption work they wish to accomplish in Ecuador.
In your view, are individual behavioural traits or social and institutional structures more to blame for corruption?

Share your thoughts here: GOPAC Question of the Month

Success in the Fight for Beneficial Ownership Transparency

In lead-up to the G20 Summit in Brisbane, Australia, the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC) signed an Open Letter to G20 Leaders urging for increased transparency in global financial systems to fight organized crime, corruption and tax evasion. The open letter was endorsed by a coalition of 25 representatives from NGOs and civil society organizations around the world.

As a result of our efforts, the G20 leaders endorsed the 2015-2016 Anti-Corruption Action Plan. They also committed the G20 High-Level Principles on Beneficial Ownership Transparency—principles that will improve the transparency of the public and private sectors and of beneficial ownership.

A Declaration of Beneficial Ownership is a legally binding instrument which requires individuals to declare and disclose the actual ("beneficial") owners of a company, trust, or property before entering into a transaction with a financial institution. 
Why is this so important? When beneficial ownership information is publicly disclosed, it enables financial institutions, law enforcement authorities and citizens to track the source, movement, and destination of illicit funds, and to crack down on money launderers and tax evaders. It helps make stolen asset recovery efforts more efficient and effective. And it promotes free-market exchange by enabling entrepreneurs to know with whom they are doing business. For more information on beneficial ownership, please read our discussion paper Transparency Through Beneficial Ownership Declarations.

This is an important success for GOPAC, our members and the fight against corruption. It was in early 2013 that our members resolved to advocate for the requirement that all financial institutions and intermediaries demand a binding legal declaration of beneficial ownership for all deposits and other financial transactions, with sanctions for non-compliance at the at the Fifth Global Conference of Parliamentarians Against Corruption.

GOPAC Members in Myanmar Launch PEC Guide in Bhasa

Parliamentarians in Myanmar now have a new tool to help them in the fight against corruption. On 30 October GOPAC members in Myanmar launched a Bhasa version of the GOPAC Handbook on Parliamentary Ethics and Conduct. The launch took place in Naypyidaw, Myanmar with Hla Myint Oo, Chairman of the International Relations Committee and David Allan from Spectrum. 
This is the fifth version of the GOPAC Handbook on Parliamentary Ethics and Conduct we have produced since its launch. Members can also download versions in English, Spanish, French and Arabic.

GOPAC Speaks at International Parliamentary Conference on Growth and Development

The Chair of GOPAC’s Parliamentary Oversight Global Task Force (GTF-PO), Gavin Woods, represented GOPAC at the International Parliamentary Conference on Growth for Development, hosted in London, England 17-20 November. The event, hosted by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program and the World Bank Group, welcomed legislators, experts and academics for discussions on the role of parliamentarians in managing economic growth for equitable development.

Mr Woods presented at a session on curbing illicit activity and corruption. He spoke about the threat that public sector corruption can pose to the prosperity and well-being of a country and of how this threat is growing.
Mr Woods outlined the workings of the National Anti-Corruption Hotline (NACH), an independent program providing tools for whistle-blowers in South Africa to speak out in confidence. He also addressed other efforts being taken in South Africa to curb corruption in the public sector and presented the successes and challenges of those efforts.

Mr Woods also spoke about the joint declaration to the G20 leadership, a declaration that was signed by the Executive Director of GOPAC. The Letter amounts to a joint plea to the world’s most powerful leaders asking for their intervention and for the establishment of a fairer and more honest global financial system in respect of how capital and money flows take place between countries.

GOPAC Oceania Members Hard at Work at UN's Asia Pacific Conference on Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment

The Chair of GOPAC Cook Islands Hon Minister Nandi Glassie  and GOPAC member Hon Ms Selina Napa MP joined GOPAC Oceania Chair John Hyde at the United Nations’ Asia Pacific Conference on  Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment. This is the major Asia-Pacific regional meeting feeding into the UN's Convention on the Status of Women in March 2015.

"GOPAC members have been very active working to increase representation of women in all our parliaments," said Hon Nandi Glassie, who is also the Cook Islands Minister for Health, Ombudsman, Parliamentary Services and Internal Affairs.

"We cannot have true transparency and accountability in our governments and societies, if we are not removing barriers for women to participate in parliaments and decision-making,” said Mr Hyde. “The Pacific nations have been very strong in advocating for a rights-based approach to gender issues. It is very rewarding to see Fiji, which elected its first democratic parliament in September since its 2006 coup, stand up again as a leader on women's empowerment."

Mr Hyde said a number of other parliamentarians attending the UN Asia-Pacific meeting from parliaments in Bangladesh, the Maldives and Bhutan have expressed interest in joining GOPAC, as they see the nexus between fighting corruption and achieving gender equity.
Governments at the Asian and Pacific Conference on Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment finalized discussing the draft ministerial outcomes document that will be approved at the end of the conference by member states of the Asia-Pacific region. State delegations discussed, improved, changed, and approved language in the document related to the 12 critical areas of concern identified twenty years ago in the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA). They also agreed on the measures States will take to accelerate the implementation of this platform of action. Civil society organizations have been active in lobbying governments throughout.

Under the critical areas of concern, issues around the health of women and girls generated the most discussions, while other concerns, such as training and education and women and power reached consensus without major opposition. Governments accepted additional implementation measures related to inter-governmental synergies; inclusion of gender in macroeconomic analysis; institutional reforms to increase accountability and transparency; the advancement of women and girls with disabilities in programmes and policies; and the strengthening of the role of UN Women. States also agreed to strengthen coordination with regional civil society. The declaration ended with the stand-alone development goal for gender equality.

Extended: Call for Nominations for Anti-Corruption Award

Do you know a member of GOPAC who, through their tireless fight towards a corruption-free world, exemplifies GOPAC’s core values of INTEGRITY, ACCOUNTABILITY, COLLABORATION, and DIVERSITY? Is their story—their fight against corruption—one that should be shared with the masses and used to teach others that what many think impossible—the eradication of corruption—is in fact possible and being worked towards in your country?

They could win a scholarship to the International Anti-Corruption Summer Academy!

We are now accepting nominations for our First Annual GOPAC International Anti-Corruption Award. All you have to do is tell us how this member has contributed to the fight against
corruption in 500 words or less. Everyone is eligible to nominate but the nominee must be a GOPAC member.

Thanks to the generous support of the International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA), GOPAC is granting the winner of the International Anti-Corruption Award with a scholarship to IACA’s Summer Academy 2015 in Laxenburg (Vienna), Austria. The winner will also be named GOPAC Ambassador and profiled throughout our communications products.

The call is now open and runs until 31 December 2014 at 11:59pm EDT.

Submit your nomination by emailing
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