Corruptie op onderwerp
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Defensie & VeiligheidLees meer
Information is power. When it’s not provided freely, corruption can thrive. Laws need to guarantee public access to information. Governments must proactively disclose it, and we must demand it. Then it’s hard for corruption to hide.
When our right to know is denied, we can’t hold decision makers or institutions to account for their actions. Nor can we make informed choices when we vote.
If information isn’t public, we can’t enjoy many of our rights, such as participating fully in political life. We might not even understand our rights in certain circumstances. When access to information is blocked, we can never know what’s really going on.
We need to make sure that national laws guarantee public access to information – and that such laws are implemented on a day-to-day basis. These laws are a key safeguard against corruption. They enable us to monitor what’s happening. This is vital in areas with specific corruption risks, including water, health and education. Over 90 countries have passed access to legislation in the last 15 years but implementation is patchy. Millions of people still don’t know about these laws or know how to use it to their advantage.
Global anti-corruption treaties stress the value of access to information. So governments know what reforms they should have in place. And we can monitor their progress in enforcing those reforms. Then we can make sure our right to know is fulfilled.
Defensie & Veiligheid
Vast expenditure combined with a reputation for secrecy. The defence sector poses unique corruption risks. But greater openness can prevent corruption risks. And it won’t compromise national security.
The cost is paid by everyone. What is wasted on defence corruption could be spent in improving schools, healthcare or infrastructure. Corruption destroys trust in military institutions and the armed forces, risking lives in the process. When leaders buy arms because they’ve been bribed or received favours, it is the soldiers in the field who are left with shoddy guns or inadequate protection. Soldiers exist to protect citizens, but governments have a duty to protect their soldiers, and they buy from defence companies to do so. Corruption, on the other hand, protects only the corrupt.
Citizens also perceive police corruption and police as some of the principal corruption problems in their societies. Bribe-taking, random arrests and corrupt avoidance of investigations are all commonplace in many countries. Such police corruption has been hard for civil society to tackle in the past.
No. Many countries’ experiences tell us that increased transparency in fact strengthens the defence sector. Transparency helps protect international arms transfers, defence contracting and security agencies from corrupt activities and the devastating impact they have.
Governments, the defence industry, the armed forces, security agencies and civil society must take a coordinated approach to tackle and prevent corruption. The defence industry has begun to introduce essential codes of conduct, but it must go further. We need to monitor whether these standards are met. Governments should not only help companies by demanding standards, but also by developing the right processes to keep corruption risks at bay. This means anti-corruption measures must be aligned across purchasing defence ministries, exporting governments and contracted companies. An honest and clean track record should be the currency companies and countries use to trade in the sector.
Likewise, tackling police corruption needs a stronger civil society, using tools already developed for use in the defence sector, and independent oversight. We need a combined effort to lift the curtains hiding defence and police corruption.
Water is our most vital resource. But corruption makes it undrinkable, inaccessible and unaffordable. We must demand stronger regulations. And we need information, to check that policies are right and money goes where it should, so no one will go thirsty.
Deforestation affects us all, threatening millions of livelihoods and causing massive greenhouse gas emissions. Corruption in the forestry sector only speeds this destruction. But it can be curbed, so that forests are preserved and forest products are sustainably harvested.
Water management, irrigation and dam projects are large, expensive and complex. This makes corruption in procurement and contracts both easy and profitable. Funds for managing water resources can line the pockets of corrupt officials. Big agricultural businesses can pay bribes for access to irrigation systems and groundwater supplies. This deprives smallholders of their livelihoods. Bribery also means that water pollution often goes unpunished.
Corruption keeps people thirsty and ill. It distorts policies and budgets for drinking water and sanitation, making it easy for waterborne diseases to spread. Corruption also affects service delivery and billing. Informal providers – often the only source of water delivery to the poor – can use extortion and bribery. In some developing countries, corruption can add 30-45 per cent to the price of connection to a water network. In such situations, families face a struggle to survive and escape poverty.
It may seem remote but deforestation affects us all. It destroys some of the most beautiful places in the world, the last remaining original pristine forests and their biological diversity. It threatens the livelihoods of millions of people, some of them among the world’s poorest. Globally, it contributes over 20 per cent of annual greenhouse gas emissions, more than the entire transport sector.
The World Bank estimates up to US$23 billion worth of wood is illegally cut each year. This results in lost revenue of US$10 billion. As many of these primal forests are in the developing world, it robs these societies of precious revenue, thwarting development goals and keeping people in poverty. If we want to end poverty and protect the environment, such illegal logging needs to be curbed.
Given that logs are large and need infrastructure to be cut, transported and sold, illegal logging can only survive with the connivance of many people. Thus, corruption plays a key role. Such corruption can be high-level: politicians can decide who gets land concessions, give contracts to friends and relatives, or allow logging without appropriate permits. But even low-level officers can turn a blind eye to trees being cut, or ignore illegal transport.
Corruption also undermines conservation by siphoning off funds meant to protect our forests. Although still under development, there are concerns that the US$29-33 billion per year projected to flow to protect forests could be skimmed by the same corrupt actors.
We must press governments and international agencies to strengthen the regulation of water management. And to enforce those regulations. By joining international climate control schemes, governments can help safeguard water sources for future generations. Governments and companies must work together. Staff need the right training and resources. Water contracts must be awarded and carried out accountably, and private companies must be pressed to behave more ethically when it comes to water and sanitation. Toward these ends, we work collaboratively with all stakeholders to spread ideas and solutions that reduce corruption risks while improving service delivery.
It’s vital to listen to poor people. They can sense when corruption restricts their access to water, but the complexity of the water and sanitation sectors often makes pinpointing the source of corruption difficult. If communities can express their needs, corruption can be uncovered and blocked. Civil society can help by monitoring water projects, but we need the right information. It must be clear and easily understood, even in specialised areas like hydropower. Then we can check policies, money flows and delivery standards. So corruption can’t taint our most vital resource.
As a first step to curbing corruption-driven activities in the forestry sector, it is important that citizens know what is going on, and understand the corruption risks prevalent in the timber industry and forestry governance. Governments in forest-rich producer countries and those of consumer countries buying forest products both need to work together to stop forest destruction. Officials – from forestry officers to judicial staff, customs agents and government inspectors – need training and education so they have the technical skills to combat corruption and enforce environmental, forestry, transport and trade laws. They must be well trained to identify controlled species and recognise forged certification. Forest preservation programmes need similarly skilled officials to ensure that corruption doesn’t squeeze out conservation efforts.
We must make sure the countries that buy forest products also act. They must prosecute anyone who imports timber but can’t prove its legal origins and they must devise similar regulations to prevent corruption in the forest carbon market.
But all this will only happen if citizens of both the selling and buying countries – those that are losing their birthright and those that are consuming these vital stolen resources – act to pressure their governments and businesses involved in this trade.
Corruption in health means the difference between life and death. Poor people are worst affected. But if we’re watching, funds can’t disappear. With information on budgets and plans, we can ensure that health facilities give us the best possible care.
Without proper checks from regulators, public health funds can easily disappear. World Bank surveys show that in some countries, up to 80 per cent of non-salary health funds never reach local facilities. Ministers and hospital administrators can siphon millions of dollars from health budgets. Or they can accept bribes. This distorts policy and denies people hospitals, medicines and qualified staff. Stolen funds also hamper efforts to beat major health challenges, such as malaria and HIV/AIDS.
It’s not only developing countries which suffer. Wealthy countries lose millions of dollars each year to insurance fraud and corruption.
At the local level, we all have an important role to play. We must demand accountability from health professionals and administrators. We can scrutinise clinic or hospital budgets. Or make sure we’re aware of official charges for services – so we and others don’t pay more. We must also demand public consultations over health services. These allow us to participate actively in planning and implementation. Open tender systems and clear procurement processes are also needed. By monitoring these, we can help ensure that health facilities give us the best possible care.
Whistleblowers are vital in exposing corruption, fraud and mismanagement. Safeguards can protect and encourage people willing to take the risk of speaking out about these crimes.
But in some countries, blowing the whistle can carry high personal risk – particularly when there is little legal protection against dismissal, humiliation or even physical abuse. Controls on information, libel and defamation laws, and inadequate investigation of whistleblowers’ claims can all deter people from speaking out.
Whistleblowers are less likely to report workplace misconduct when their employers do not provide clear internal reporting channels. And in some settings, whistleblowing carries connotations of betrayal rather than being seen as a benefit to the public. Ultimately, societies, institutions and citizens lose out when there is no one willing to cry foul in the face of corruption.
Safeguards also protect and encourage people willing to take the risk of speaking out about corruption. We must push countries to introduce comprehensive whistleblower legislation to protect those that speak out and ensure that their claims are properly investigated. Companies, public bodies and non-profit organisations should introduce mechanisms for internal reporting. And workplace reprisals against whistleblowers should be seen as another form of corruption.
Public education is also essential to de-stigmatise whistleblowing, so that citizens understand how disclosing wrongdoing benefits the public good. When witnesses of corruption are confident about their ability to report it, corrupt individuals cannot hide behind the wall of silence.
Olie & Gas
Many countries rich in oil and gas are home to some of the world’s poorest people. Wealth stays corruptly in the hands of the elite. We must demand openness in revenues, payments and activities. Then insiders can’t hide their actions or their profits.
Many oil and gas companies protect the identities of their equity holders and subsidiaries. This allows corrupt leaders to hide stolen funds unnoticed. Inadequate financial statements make it easy to disguise corrupt deals, and impossible for any of us to monitor them. Many oil and gas companies don’t publish information country by country. This allows them to hide the royalties, taxes and fees they pay. But without this information, we can’t hold governments to account for the money they receive.
Stolen oil and gas income has terrible consequences. It benefits an elite few. But for everyone else, it fuels conflict over resources. And it traps people in poverty they’d otherwise avoid.
Governments in producer countries also need to be fully open. They must publish income and royalties. National oil companies must meet international accounting standards and publish independently audited accounts. Many leading oil and gas companies are based in developed nations. These nations must punish corrupt activity by their companies abroad. They can help prevent it by requiring companies to report on operations in individual countries.
We must encourage companies to join sector initiatives to promote transparency. If everyone involved in oil and gas is open about their activities, there’ll be less room for corruption. And more money for development.
We all want the best possible education for our children. But corruption causes poor teaching and unequal access to schooling. Tighter regulations are essential. And we must track funds and resources, to make sure they end up in the classroom.
The cost of corruption is high. Stolen resources from education budgets mean overcrowded classrooms and crumbling schools, or no schools at all. Books and supplies are sometimes sold instead of being given out freely. Schools and universities also ‘sell’ school places or charge unauthorised fees, forcing students (usually girls) to drop out. Teachers and lecturers are appointed through family connections, without qualifications. Grades can be bought, while teachers force students to pay for tuition outside of class. In higher education, undue government and private sector influence can skew research agendas.
The end result is limited access to – and poor quality of – education, and a social acceptance of corruption through a corrupted education system.
It’s important to have clear regulations controlling education finance and management. These give guidelines on new schools, exam processes and fees. Regular external audits must take place to detect and deter fraud. And frequent school inspections can prevent corruption in teacher management and behaviour. Consistent penalties for abuses are also needed.
No teacher should be appointed without proof of their qualifications and experience. We must also push for exam regulations to be widely published. And we must monitor grading, so students won’t have to buy their way to good marks.
Politiek & Overheid
Political corruption doesn’t just mean election rigging. Politicians can let private rather than public interests dictate policy. How can we stop this? By speaking out. By demanding accountability from leaders, we can build honesty in politics.
But political corruption isn’t just about election rigging. It can lead politicians in office to steer away from good government. Their decisions can benefit those who fund them. The public interest comes second. Political corruption can divert scarce resources from poor and disadvantaged people. This is especially common in countries where democratic institutions are weak or absent. Private rather than public interests dictate policy.
This means an ethical line has been crossed. Governments can’t act freely and democracy can’t function. Our trust in politicians is damaged. We can turn away from involvement with how we’re governed. Then political corruption continues unchecked.
We need to call on our politicians and public officials to be accountable for their actions. How can we trust them if we don’t know what they’re doing? We must demand that they put in place regulations which will force them to act openly. Then corruption can’t hide. And our trust in the political process will improve. When leaders act transparently, showing us clearly what they do, we can make informed choices when we vote. And we can hold them to account once elected.
From grassroots groups to big organisations, civil society has a crucial role to play. We can monitor electoral campaigns and parties’ activities. If state resources are abused, we must report it. And if regulations to prevent corruption aren’t in place, we must demand them. Rules about politicians’ conflicts of interest, for example. Or regulations to stop corporate lobbying and political funding from distorting the democratic process. If companies publish their donations, they can show their contributions aren’t intended to win favours.
By speaking out, we can show that everyone gains from honest elections and open decision-making. Even politicians.
Bribery in business remains widespread, distorting markets and hurting the public interest. But we can tackle it. We must press companies to adopt a zero-tolerance approach. Better external regulation is needed and markets must be more transparent.
Corruption distorts markets and creates unfair competition. Companies often pay bribes or rig bids to win public procurement contracts. Many companies hide corrupt acts behind secret subsidiaries and partnerships. Or they seek to influence political decision-making illicitly. Others exploit tax laws, construct cartels or abuse legal loopholes. Private companies have huge influence in many public spheres. These are often crucial – from energy to healthcare. So it’s easy to see how corruption in business harms taxpayers’ interests.
But companies also need an honest operating environment. So we must make sure that governments enforce international anti-bribery laws and conventions. This protects companies from corruption across borders and down supply chains.
We need to help make sure these approaches are effective. This means more transparency from everyone involved with markets. Then we can hold businesspeople to account for their actions. We must call on companies and the institutions that regulate them to report their finances and actions openly. This shows staff, investors and consumers that they’re committed to clean business. And it creates the environment of trust that’s most profitable.
Sport is a multi-billion dollar business. And it has ties to political and private interests. This means fertile ground for corruption. But greater openness can prevent it. If we can monitor money and decisions in sport, we can ensure fair play wins through.
Corruption in sport has many forms. Referees and players can take bribes to fix matches. Club owners can demand kickbacks for player transfers. Companies and governments can rig bids for construction contracts. Organised crime is behind many of the betting scandals that have dented sport’s reputation. And money laundering is widespread. This can take place through sponsorship and advertising arrangements. Or it may be through the purchase of clubs, players and image rights. Complex techniques are used to launder money through football and other sports. These include cross-border transfers, tax havens and front companies.
Open, competitive bidding processes will help prevent corruption when host cities or venues are chosen for sporting events. They’re also essential in bids for major projects, such as building stadiums. Bids need to be monitored to make sure they’re fair. Sponsors can play their part by promoting ethics in sport as part of their corporate responsibility programmes. The media also has the power to raise awareness about corruption in sport. With these changes to the rules of the game, the sector can regain its reputation for fair play.