|A meeting between representatives of the international donor community and Coalition 2000 took place at the Center for the Study of Democracy on September 28, 1998. The meeting was co-chaired by Mr. Thomas O'Brien, Resident Representative of the World Bank in Sofia and Mr. John Tennant, Mission Director, USAID/Bulgaria.
Dr. Ognian Shentov, Director of the Center for the Study of Democracy and a member of the Coalition 2000 Steering Committee, presented the Coalition 2000 process and its anti-corruption efforts so far. "In only five months Coalition 2000 was able to develop an Anti-Corruption Action Plan, which was later published in 2,000 copies and distributed for comments and recommendations among state institutions, non-governmental and international organizations, major print and electronic media in Bulgaria and abroad," Dr. Shentov said.
"Coalition 2000 has conducted a series of surveys aimed at measuring the actual level of proliferation of corrupt practices and at determining the public's perceptions of corruption," said Mr. Alexander Stoyanov, Director of Research at the Center for the Study of Democracy, which is among the founding organizations of the Coalition 2000 process. Annual Corruption Monitoring Reports will summarize the survey results and provide reliable information on the effectiveness of anti-corruption efforts, Mr. Stoyanov explained.
An awareness campaign to be developed and implemented by Coalition 2000 will promote better understanding among decision-makers and the general public of the causes of corruption and its negative effects on the economy, according to Emil Georgiev, Coordinator of Coalition 2000.
"Coalition 2000 could become a platform not only for anti-corruption efforts of Bulgarian organizations but also for regional and international anti-corruption initiatives," said Boyko Todorov, Director of the Information and Documentation Centre on the Council of Europe and a member of the Coalition 2000 Steering Committee.
"Coalition 2000 is a timely initiative given the fact that corruption has become an overwhelming problem at all layers of Bulgarian society," Mr. O'Brien stressed. "The cooperation between the public administration and non-governmental organizations in fighting corruption is particularly valuable," Mr. Romain Darbellay, Cooperation and Development Attache at the Embassy of Switzerland, pointed out.
"The international community in Bulgaria could contribute to the anti-corruption efforts of Coalition 2000 by encouraging a sense of international pressure," Mr. Antonio Vigilante, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Sofia, stressed. The international community could also be a reliable source of feed-back, based on its experience in the country, thus assisting Coalition 2000 in identifying corruption-related problems, both systemic and specific.
According to Mr. Tennant, "Coalition 2000 is an initiative of little parallel on a world scale. The existence of an Anti-Corruption Action Plan, which enjoys public backing, is a good prerequisite for effective results." Hence, Coalition 2000 deserved to receive the support of the international donor community. Furthermore, the Coalition 2000 initiative could indirectly assist other international donor projects in Bulgaria.