The Balkan Black Sea Anti Corruption roundtable,
hosted by CSD and CIPE on 2 and 3 October, 2002 in Sofia, Bulgaria was
attended by over 20 representatives from 10 countries. The event started off with informative
presentations and lively discussion, focused particularly on the
importance of sound laws to combat corruption. The necessity of
including the business community in local and regional reform
efforts was also stressed by the Georgian delegation in order to
counter-balance a natural tendency toward top-down (statist)
anti-corruption efforts. Key issues raised during the morning
session of day One included: quality of the law making process, how to develop effective enforcement mechanisms and the impacts of
criminalization and extra-legal (informal sector) activities on
developing anti-corruption strategies.
Following the situation reports and roundtable
discussion on day One and the site visits on the morning of day Two,
participants broke out into two groups to review the material
presented and develop anti-corruption strategies for future
implementation in the country and at regional level. The breakout
groups were based on language: Group One - Russian speaking
including the Azeri and Central Asian participants; and Group
Two - English speaking, which included the CEE and Georgian
participants. Following an hour brainstorming session, the groups
reported back to moderator John D. Sullivan from CIPE. Key elements
of anti corruption plans and strategic points included the
- Target sectors identified for anti-corruption
reform - economic/business sector, tax system, and judicial/rule of
- Plan to draft a Code of Conduct for Civil
- Plan to create an independent organization to hold
Members of Parliament accountable.
- Create an Office of Government Ethics, with a
direct connection to the Ombudsman.
- Pay civil servants living wages.
- Create business associations with major
anti-corruption elements, and regular seminars held to engage the
business community directly.
- Address and improve on the "cookie cutter" approach
to anti-corruption and related reforms often applied by
international finance and development organizations.
- Strengthen the role of economic journalists in
- Define the pillars of the democratic state and
build the corresponding institutions and governance mechanisms
necessary for legal and regulatory implementation.
- Identify common anti-corruption challenges within a
country and within a region, and approach reform
- Improve regional integration at the theoretical and
enforcement levels (law making, customs, communications/lessons
- Broaden scope and view of regional networks, based
on similar challenges to include Southeast Europe, the Caucasus and
Central Asia; hold regular seminars and improve
Overall the roundtable and the seminar were well received by the
participants, and the interaction and networking between countries
and regions was particularly valuable and significant. Additional
value of the event was the realization among all participants that
no group, country or region has a monopoly on effective approaches
to combat corruption. By coordinating efforts, the following
challenges, common to all participants, can be addressed:
- Identify better ways to present anti-corruption
reform strategies and policies to local and international stakeholders.
This can be done by better networking and collective thinking on
how to move forward. One example is to approach international
organizations working on anti-corruption issues in a
"cookie cutter" fashion, on a more united front with real regional
needs and locally-inspired reform approaches. This could improve
implementation in difficult environments such as SEE, the Caucasus
and Central Asia.
- Develop a better understanding of law-making and
democratic governance issues among reform stakeholders, including
NGOs, the business community, and government. This involves asking
questions such as: who profits from laws passed by Parliaments?,
what is the capacity of a country's institutions and government to
draft proper laws and implement them?, and how can state capture be
avoided when working to combat corruption and develop functioning
- Assess the transaction costs of legal and
regulatory action i.e. anti-corruption, and develop incentives to
make entrepreneurship easier in the formal sector, rather than
increasing punitive measures toward business in the informal
- "Develop tangible reform products that help stakeholders
understand anti-corruption measures and their effective
implementation such as Impact analyses of draft legislation and Short
handbooks for businessmen and citizens to resist corruption.
In addition to active participation by an
international audience at the roundtable, which was web-cast on the
CIPE and CSD websites (www.cipe.org) and (www.csd.bg) and had 20 people log on, the
participants at the Sofia event developed strong relationships and
began to discuss next steps for improving anti-corruption measures
in their countries, and in their regions. The cross fertilization
of ideas and strategies will be built on by CIPE and the participants
through follow up grants, publication and dissemination of the
country reports presented at the roundtable.