Our Perspective

      • Boosting transparency and accountability policies in Latin America | Gerardo Berthin

        19 Dec 2013

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        One of the main challenges undermining human development and democratic governance in Latin America and the Caribbean is the lingering perception of corruption, particularly bribes. This jeopardizes the potential of public policies as important means to promote greater equality and human development. For example, people make a direct correlation between the perceived corruption and the quality and effectiveness of public services in a given country. In November 2013 the Fifth Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC ) took place in Panama City with more than 1,500 Member States delegates, in addition to representatives from civil society, academia, the private sector and media outlets. To date, the UNCAC has been ratified by 169 states, and in Latin America only half a dozen of countries are not part of the convention. UNDP and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) have been boosting efforts to better understand how UNCAC parties have been designing and implement transparency and accountability policies. The region and the entire world still lack further studies to assess the impact of coordinated anti-corruption policies and the role of specialized agencies in preventing. That’s how this first attempt to systematize anti-corruptionRead More

      • Moving from transparency to accountability in the fight against corruption | Patrick Keuleers

        13 Dec 2013

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        Football Match Anti-Corruption Campaign in Argentina (Photo: UNDP Argentina)

        Corruption is a major bottleneck to sustainable development: it prevents public and private investment from going where it is most needed, drives up costs, and distorts resource allocations and priorities. This realization was at the heart of the commemorations for International Anti-Corruption Day on December 9th, and at the 5th Conference of the State Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption which I attended in Panama City recently. Anti-corruption has been one of the fastest growing and most successful areas of work under our democratic governance portfolio. The World Bank estimates that corruption can cost a country up to 17 percent of its GDP. Imagine the impact on achieving the Millennium Development Goals by the 2015 deadlines if only 10 percent of that money could be channeled back into development. Through the MYWorld Global Survey, more than 1.5 million people have identified “honest and responsive governments” among the top priorities for the ‘World They Want’. A degree of consensus is now emerging around the importance of integrity, transparency and accountability in governance as key factors to reduce poverty, inequalities and exclusions. Addressing integrity in the public sector is an important component of that strategy. The public service is expected toRead More

      • Political quotas for women: Myths & facts | Elizabeth Guerrero

        09 Dec 2013

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        Salvadorian parliamentarians celebrate the approval of the new law that addresses violence against women (Photo: El Salvador Legislative Assembly)

        Women still comprise only 21.4 percent of members of parliaments (MP) around the world. While Latin America has more than 24 percent of women MPs — one of the highest shares in the world — the region still has a long road to travel towards gender parity. The provision of quotas — an idea that began in Europe and has spread to other continents — has effectively been used to boost women’s political participation, adopted as a temporary measure to encourage political parties to nominate a minimum percentage of women. This may take place as a voluntary action by political parties or through law-driven measures which push parties to nominate a certain number of women candidates. Yet several myths remain: Myth 1: "Quotas contradict the principle of equality before the law" This argument is based on the assumption that men and women actually have the same opportunities to run for elections. But that simply does not reflect reality. In many countries women can vote, but they cannot be elected. Evidence shows that women and men do not share the same opportunities to be appointed candidates because women face a number of barriers to be nominated by political parties. Therefore, the ideaRead More