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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2251

Global Integrity’s latest findings on global governance and corruption

By Professor P. Radhakrishnan

Global Integrity, based in Washington, D.C., is an independent international non-profit organization tracking governance and corruption trends around the world.

It has been highlighted by the World Bank as one of three key, “Independent civil society organizations [making] a variety of noteworthy contributions to the monitoring of the quality of checks and balances institutions." Adding to this accolade was the honor conferred on it in July 2007 by Ashoka, a global organization of the world's leading social entrepreneurs: A diverse group of organizations from across the globe have showcased their most successful strategies to create a more transparent and accountable society in the Ashoka’s “Ending Corruption: Honesty Instituted” collaborative competition. Global Integrity was one of the three winners from more than 80 innovations which participated in this initiative.

Perhaps it’s most important work is the Global Integrity Report, an annual compilation of in-depth country assessments that combines qualitative journalism with quantitative data gathering to assess the existence, effectiveness, and enforcement of good governance and anti-corruption mechanisms.

The latest Global Integrity Report, released on January 30, assesses anti-corruption mechanisms and government accountability in 55 Countries, including China for the first time. The six integrity indicators used are: (1) Civil Society, Public Information and Media; (2) Elections; (3) Government Accountability; (4) Administration and Civil Service; (5) Oversight and Regulation; and (6) Anti-Corruption and Rule of Law.

The key findings of the Report are the following:

* Although elections are seemingly the linchpin of Western governance reform efforts around the world, there is little evidence to suggest they are strongly related to improved government accountability.

* Significant weaknesses in China's anti-corruption framework raise questions as to the true risks facing investors rushing to capitalize on the country's economic expansion — and to the risks Chinese sovereign investment funds pose to Western markets.

* The wealthier G8 countries suffer from similar corruption challenges as developing countries.

* Poor regulation over political financing remains the most serious deficiency in anti-corruption systems around the world.

* Despite the conventional wisdom which says that changes in governance and anti-corruption performance take many years to manifest themselves, several countries exhibited significant improvements and backsliding from 2006 to 2007.

* In politically charged environments, governments are more likely to place greater restrictions on the formation of broadcast media outlets than on print media organizations.

* Civil society organizations (CSOs) play an important role in curbing corruption in post-conflict countries where government institutions are weak.

* In key African countries where Global Integrity applied special indicators to assess the effectiveness of civil society organizations (CSOs), African governments were more willing to cooperate with CSOs on issues related to public service delivery (i.e. health and education) than on transparency and government accountability issues.

* Poor ratings for government accountability across all countries — in the executive as well as the legislative and judicial branches — suggest that governments are hindering governance reform efforts in their own countries.

“This report should be a roadmap for change and a wake-up call to policy makers, investors, and aid donors around the globe,” said Global Integrity’s International Director, Marianne Camerer in a press release. “It’s also a take-action toolkit for public officials and citizens who want to fight corruption and increase government accountability.”

The report is the product of months of on-the-ground reporting and data gathering by a team of more than 250 in-country journalists and researchers who prepared more than a million words of text and 20,000 data points for their respective countries. Twenty-four countries were repeated from Global Integrity’s 2006 assessments, while 31 were newly assessed. The 2007 report covers the following countries:

Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Georgia, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Liberia, Malawi, Mexico, Moldova, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Romania, Russia, Sierra Leone, Spain, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Vanuatu, Zambia.

Among these countries the overall rating in terms of Legal framework, Actual implementation, and Implementation gap is Very Weak in Algeria, Armenia, Burundi, Cameroon, China, Egypt, Lebanon, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan; Weak in Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ecuador, Georgia, Kyrgyz Republic, Mexico, Moldova, Nepal, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Tanzania, Thailand; Moderate in Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, France, India, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Malawi, Timor-Leste, Uganda; and Strong in Bulgaria, Canada, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Romania, Spain, United States.

The report is a Must Read for politicians, policy makers, administrators, opinion-makers, academics, media persons, whistle-blowers of society, discerning pubic at large, and all others concerned about the creation of a better global social order.

Dr. P. Radhakrishnan is Professor of Sociology at the Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai, India.

- Asian Tribune -

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