UNDP Anti-Corruption Lab: successful ways to fight corruption in local communities

UNDP-supported 18 civic watchdog groups presented their best practices of curbing corruption at the local level at a networking meeting to engage in peer-to-peer learning and knowledge sharing.

IMG 4898675968795670697Kyiv, 25 November 2016 – The UNDP Anti-Corruption Lab convened a wide range of local civic activists and social good doers from 14 oblasts of Ukraine to share their experience of fighting corruption in their communities.

This 1.5-day meeting was tailored for the graduates of the 2nd UNDP Anti-Corruption School awarded seed grants to report back on the best practices and lessons learned from their anti-corruption work. From investigative journalism to monitoring officials' e-declarations and conflict of interest situations, these initiatives have approached combating corruption in innovative and collaborative ways.

Since the School, several changes have taken place in the Ukrainian anti-corruption milieu. The e-asset declaration system got launched on 1 September 2016 postponing the submission period for public officials to the end of October. More recommendations were developed to clarify conflict of interest and lifestyle monitoring procedures. Now comes the time to meet again, learn more about the novelties, reflect on the most effective tools in civil society organisations' anti-corruption work, and address problematic issues.

In his welcome speech, UNDP Team Lead Ivan Presniakov emphasised that the UNDP Anti-Corruption Lab is a great platform to encourage citizen engagement and enable people to take the lead in tackling corruption in their own societies.

IMG 4761976987096709879Through collaborative efforts, these 18 civic groups strive to check completeness and accuracy of data declared by officials, define the scope of illicit enrichment or other illegal activity, and verify the lifestyles of certain public officials vis-à-vis what is declared.

Olha Makarova from the "Kantseliarska Sotnia" ("White Collar Hundred") NGO dwelt on reviewing the plausibility and truthfulness of declared data, finding hidden patterns, and detecting anomalies.

In her turn, Oleksandra Drik from the Civic Lustration Committee and "Declarations under Control" coalition presented an electronic system to work with whistleblowers exposing some misconduct, illegal, or dishonest activity.

As a wrap-up exercise, participants shaped a set of approaches to apply for better access to and monitoring of public officials' declarations, their lifestyle, and possible conflict of interest situations.
In particular, Gunel Babakishieva (Eidos Centre) and Halyna Yanchenko (Anti-Corruption Headquaters of Kyiv) facilitated a common discussion on the ways to approach main obstacles in tracing cases of conflicts of interest: interpretation of the law, need for standardization of practice, and greater support of national media for local activists.