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Enhancing CSOs Advocacy Efforts for Countering Corruption in Critical Sectors in SEE: Leveraging the EU Accession Process and State of the Art Research
 
On 29-30 October 2015 the Center for the Study of Democracy, an ANTICORRP partner, organized a regional SEE presentation of ANTICORRP results as part of an international conference in Podgorica, Montenegro. The event was held within the framework of the regional civil society anti-corruption initiative SELDI, and provided local and regional good governance stakeholders with the best methods for transforming the existing cutting-edge anti-corruption research into efficient policy and advocacy tools.

Mr. Ruslan Stefanov, Director of the Economic Program at the Center for the Study of Democracy, Bulgaria chaired the ANTICORRP session at the conference, outlining the many possible practical tools, which regional anti-corruption stakeholders can take away and adapt from the ANTICORRP research. He noted that regional CSOs should strive to leverage the EU accession process and EU research generated knowledge to reduce corruption risks and pressure in the region. Dr. Andreas Bågenholm, Program Manager, Quality of Government Institute, Gothenburg and ANTICORRP Project Manager, presented the Quality of Government 2013 survey and the historical experience of Sweden in tackling effectively corruption. According to him, the challenge is to identify past practices applicable in the current situation of the region, as the past experience of countries like Sweden could prove difficult to replicate due to various differing factors. The Quality of Government 2013 survey carried out in 206 regions assesses the perception of corruption in the areas of education, health care and law enforcement. According to the data, there are large regional variations even within countries in Europe. He noted that according to the research findings GDP per capita, gender equality, freedom of the press, transparency and ethnic diversity prove to be the key factors that contribute to positive anti-corruption developments. Dr. Andreas Bågenholm concluded by underlying that without social trust, strong institutions, and effective tax, pension and other systems, no successful anticorruption changes can be sustained.

Ms Ágnes Czibik, Researcher at the Government Transparency Institute, and Analyst at ANTICORRP, presented the possible tools to detect corruption risks in the area of public procurement. She introduced the notion of red flags, which can be assuming different forms and can signal corruption risks, such as having only one bidder, publishing an open call few days before the deadline, political ties of the winner, etc. Ms Czibik showcased that her institute had calculated that the average price savings compared to the announced expected price of the tender that can be achieved, in public procurement based on the number of participating bidders can be substantial – from 10% in the case of one bidder, up to 22% in the case of more than eight bidders. Ms Czibik noted that by using similar methods CSOs can identify hotspots of corruption, where they should intervene and thus help for the improved future planning and funding of donors’ initiatives. She recommended that the CSOs and public institutions invest in data collection. For example, researchers and policy-makers can compare motorway prices in different EU regions, and identify areas with higher corruption risks.

Agenda (Adobe PDF, 420 KB)
Presentation by Ms Ágnes Czibik, Researcher at the Government Transparency Institute and Analyst at DIGIWHIST: The Digital Whistleblower, Hungary (Adobe PDF, 565 KB)
 
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