Boosting transparency and accountability policies in Latin America | Gerardo Berthin

19 Dec 2013

zero corruption

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-corruption experiences and policies in Latin America came to be. The publication on anti-corruption policies in Latin America was launched during the Panama-based UNCAC event and focuses on the experiences of Argentina, Colombia, Chile, El Salvador and Mexico in designing and implementing their anti-corruption policies. It reflects the rich discussions that took place with state representatives and experts and examines the progress of policy and actions in all five countries, including the regulatory framework, main actors and challenges.

In Latin America, countries have responded to the need to prevent and punish corrupt practices in several ways. Some have recently started to establish their anti-corruption systems and policies, while others have been fighting corruption for more than 30 years. The five assessed countries have adopted anti-corruption standards according to their legal frameworks in order to meet regional and global commitments.

The basis for anti-corruption policies is a "dual track”. It implies, on the one hand, a re-evaluation of the state’s role and its institutions. On the other hand, it involves the promotion of strategic partnerships with citizens and civil society organization.

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