As part of the International Anti-Corruption Day Conference on December 1, 2020, the Partnership for Transparency (PTF) hosted a panel discussion on lessons learned from COVID-19 monitoring projects, and the important role of civil society in widespread relief efforts.
The unprecedented public expenditures on COVID-19 relief and recovery are justified, but evidence suggests the speed and scale of response has also created opportunities for corruption. These risks, combined with restrictions on movement, civil society, and the media aggravate pre-pandemic difficulties in achieving Sustainable Development Goal 16 (SDG16) targets. In a discussion on this challenge, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) provided an overview of governance and anticorruption efforts within COVID-19 response, followed by presentations from civil society organizations (CSOs) in India, Uganda, the Philippines, and Mongolia. A representative from each CSO presented case studies on their work to mitigate corruption risks in COVID-19 response programs.
Participants included: Vinay Bhargava, chief technical adviser at the Partnership for Transparency Fund; Dante de Los Angeles, treasurer and managing director of PTF Asia; John Versantvoort, head of the Office of Anticorruption and Integrity (OAI) at the Asian Development Bank; Cissy Kagaba, executive director of the Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda (ACCU); Undral Gombodorj, director of the Democracy Education Center (DEMO); and Bibhu Prasad Sahu, executive director of Youth for Social Development (YSD).
The discussion focused on how stakeholders can work together to promote the SDG16 targets during and beyond the pandemic. In particular, there are three aspects to consider: (a) examples of how CSOs monitor the pandemic response; (b) examples set by previous anti-corruption initiatives that can be used for designing effective policies and programs during and after the pandemic; and (c) recommendations for optimizing and capitalizing on CSO engagement in COVID-19 response operations. The panel discussed how participating CSOs address these challenges, as well as how governments and international financial institutions can incentivize collaborative approaches to control corruption and generate more efficient and effective COVID-19 responses.
To learn more, watch the full recording here: https://19thiacc.pathable.co/meetings/virtual/rAHfmrLwJgm4PQzjT