How to make a municipality an island of integrity

Kyiv, 4 December 2015 – Over 100 students and civic activists met with legend of Bolivian politics Ronald MacLean-Abaroa to learn about his decade-long experiences in the struggle against total corruption at the municipal level.

3Organized by UNDP in partnership with the Anticorruption Center of Kyiv Mohyla Academy and the Reanimation Package of Reforms, the meetings were aimed at students and national-level "reform agents" who were interested in the fight against corruption in social and political spheres. The event was broadcasted online to ensure wider coverage.
MacLean-Abaroa was the first democratically elected mayor of La Paz, Bolivia, who was re-elected to serve four terms. Appointed the youngest minister at age 29, he held various government positions and was nominated as the presidential candidate in Bolivia. Moreover, he is one of the founders of Transparency International in Latin America, author of a therapeutic approach to a sick institution, and lecturer at Harvard University. He is a co-author of the book "Corrupt Cities: A Practical Guide to Cure and Prevention," a practical guide for those who are beginning to fight corruption in their own city, village, or town, which has become a world's bestseller and has been published in five languages, including Ukrainian.
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"Corruptions is not a cause, it's a symptom," MacLean-Abaroa started his speech based on his extraordinary leadership and success in the fight against corruption in La Paz.
When he became a mayor, the municipality was a totally dysfunctional with 26,000% inflation rate in the country. After 17 years of the military rule, it was the first democratically elected government that found itself in the midst of transition from authoritarian centralised top-down control government to more open democratic system.
12339414 521248161387035 6671312453661667817 oRonald MacLean-Abaroa managed to turn the city into what some sources call, an island of effectiveness and integrity, restoring and improving municipal government services, multiplying city revenues, and increasing investments in public works while regaining the city's international creditworthiness. The approach he used in La Paz came to be known as a therapeutic approach to a sick institution. Its success has been replicated in more than 20 local governments across Central and Eastern Europe.

"Corruption manifests itself in scandals. We direct our attention to corruption scandals and we find people behind these scandals. That makes us to think immediately about control and our actions goes towards these people. However, that prevents us from looking at the system. We should look at the system, but not at individuals," he emphasized.
Corruption is not about a culture, but about a system, MacLean-Abaroa concluded.
UNDP assists Ukraine's anti-corruption and transparency agenda through supporting the National Agency for Prevention of Corruption, establishing the regulatory frameworks for prevention through conflict of interest rules and assets declaration, and building the capacity of civil society to address local corruption risks. In addition, UNDP is committed to promoting public administration reform and international standards of public service, effective delivery of administrative services, facilitating open budgets, and implementing open data in Ukraine.