Statement 2 by Lanre Rotimi, ISPE / EAG,
Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Post 2015 Development Agenda
Meeting with Major Groups and other Stakeholders 24, July 2015
“Fighting Corruption - Building Public Support for Anti Corruption Efforts”
List of Contributors:
International Society for Poverty Elimination / Economic Alliance Group
Muslims for Progressive Values
My name is Lanre Rotimi and I am honored to make this Longer Statement on the topic of “Fighting Corruption - Building Public Support for Anti Corruption Efforts” on behalf of the International Society for Poverty Elimination / Economic Alliance Group in Collaboration with Muslims for Progressive Values.
We congratulate the co-chairs and all contributors on the Post 2015 Zero Draft.
The agenda is brave and bold, albeit hopeful and can indeed help achieve overarching Goals of Poverty Elimination and Environmental Sustainability if all good ideas and pertinent suggestions harvested from this 7th and 8th IGNs are processed to remove discontent and fill gaps in pre 7th and 8th IGNs Post 2015 Zero Draft to produce AAAA and SDG that help achieve increasing convergence between World Sustainable Development Strategy, WSDS, Vision Intention and Reality.
The WSDS which is what the SDG and AAAA as One really is, is essentially a Global Strategy with four overarching Cross Cutting Themes - Trade, Aid, Debts and Corruption. Our observation that none of the Groups from Monday to Friday in the 7th IGN is focused on any of these Themes encourage us to create this Group to focus on Fighting Corruption.
So much activity is ongoing in the fight against corruption, but the more activities we have the more corruption is getting worse. Are we losing the fight against corruption? Not necessarily, and certainly not for lack of effort or effectiveness. However, we notice cases where the more successful an anti-corruption body is, the more likely it is to fail. At first blush, that correlation seems illogical; but successes encourage counterattacks by powerful and well-funded individuals or groups. In addition, the media hold anti-corruption agencies to standards of success that often are impossible to achieve. Success in a series of small cases will be met by accusations that “you let the big fish get away.” Civil society organizations always seem dissatisfied and always want you to do more, even if one could argue that this is what those organizations are supposed to do!
The Big Question is: If we do not know why corruption is fighting us, we will not know how to fight corruption. And, if we do not know why a successful anti-corruption body attract death, we will not know how to nurture and grow anti-corruption body at sub-national, national, sub-regional, regional and global levels that will be successful on sustainable basis. This Big Question cannot be answered without answers to all HOW questions in Synthesis Report, Data Revolution Report, AAAA (revised) and SDG.
While the document is well-written, it has many technical terms. We now need a simpler document for the public, so everyone can understand it, recite it, and teach it … like the Ambassador from the Netherlands once said in his intervention, in language that his 13 year old daughter can read and tell her friends. Getting the language and the messaging right is not only about publicity and communications, it is also about facilitating ownership by the people in each of the 193 Member States. We suggest Member States work with Civil Society, Knowledge and Communication Professionals and Journalists and the Citizens themselves to do this. Indeed this would demonstrate that the commitment to multi-stakeholder partnerships is serious, something we call for more broadly.
The People’s Voice at the Local level should be effectively heard at National levels and then be effectively Communicated at the Sub-regional, Regional and Global levels. This process would follow 3Cs': Coordination, Collaboration and Cooperation.
We commend the negotiations that transformed the FfD Zero Draft into a successful agreement, resulting in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the AAAA. The AAAA (revised) is intended to be the backbone of the MOI of the SDG. Now 4 Reports: the AAAA, Post 2015 Zero Draft, Synthesis Report and Data Revolution Report need to be coordinated in ways that answer HOW questions and resulting in a mechanism being put in place to be sure that all Goals and Targets are fully implemented and realized on schedule dates. This requires an expanded and detailed document about the MOIs' in the AAAA (revised) and SDG that effectively fill all identified gaps and link all identified disconnect within effective Global Collective Action for Political Stability, Economic Stability, Financial Stability, Peace and Security and Fighting Corruption.
Further, the Global Collective Action for Political Stability, Economic Stability, Financial Stability, Peace and Security and Fighting Corruption should improve legislative oversight and People's Voices at Sub-national, National, Sub-regional, Regional and Global Parliament levels. This calls for designing institutional architecture that revamps existing institutions and establishes new institutions from top down and bottom up, e.g. from Village to Global levels.
The SDG Initiative can and should be a “World Sustainable Development Strategy”, WSDS, built on Pillars of Development and Human Rights in all its ramifications; Diplomacy and Negotiation; Defense and Security; Democracy and Elections each with Political and Cultural; Economic & Financial; Social and Environmental; Religious and Moral Dimensions appropriate to specific Village to Global Context in each of the UN 193 Member States, whose design help deliver sustainable solutions to real and complex world political, economic, social, cultural, terrorism, corruption and religious etc problems on the ground and in ways that help Reform National Institutions and International Institutions to be fit for the 21st Century; that is help establish and sustain New World Order. The WSDS requires a "One Worldwide Approach with Local Context" adopted by each of the 193 Member States and their Partners.
WSDS overarching Goals are Poverty Elimination and Environmental Sustainability. To achieve these there are Four overarching Cross Cutting Themes – Trade, Aid, Debts and Corruption, that are Interlinked, Interconnected and Interdependent, such that it is fail in one fail in all. If Corruption is to be tackled with the seriousness that it deserves, it cannot be a Target hidden in SDG Goal 16 but a Goal on its own. WSDS Vision Ambition cannot be realized without Peace. But Peace is threatened by Terrorism and Conflict – Intra State and Inter State which is underlined by Corruption. Again these issues hidden in SDG Goal 16 need to be removed to stand alone as separate Goals. The implication is that if Member States and their Partners are serious about achieving increasing convergence between SDG and AAAA (revised) Vision Intention and Reality, current SDG Goal 16 needs to be unbundled to produce new SDG Goal 16 focused on Governance and four New Goals focused on Corruption, Conflict, Religion and Data bringing the SDG to 21 and working out appropriate number of Targets.
Implementing WSDS calls for Joint Local, National, Sub-regional, Regional and Global Stakeholders Approach to Fighting and Winning a War on Poverty, Hunger, Disease and Environmental Degradation (PHDE). This require Winning Twelve Battles Against Arrogance, Ignorance, Indifference, Incompetence, Indiscipline, Injustice, Intolerance, Insincerity, Inequality, Interference, Impunity and Corruption (A10IC).
In this War we must recognize the denominators – Poverty of Ideas, Integrity, Trust, Competence and Spirit.
We would like to see more emphasis on the importance of peace for achieving sustainable development and that peace as a desirable outcome in itself is strongly - and rightly - affirmed. Including Peace as one of five Ps of the SDG is strongly welcomed. This requires a crucial focus on the causes of violence, insecurity and injustice - both in the narrative as well as in the Goals and Targets. It also requires evolving Corruption Free Society at sub-national, national, sub-regional, regional and global levels. The vision for development financing fails to constructively engage with the peace agenda. The AAAA (revised) and SDG should acknowledge the risk of doing harm and effectively support peace-building as well as the risk of fighting corruption effectively and efficiently on successful and sustainable basis from Village to Global levels.
Similarly, the role of third parties in data production in each Action Agenda Item in each of the 17 / 21 SDG and AAAA (revised) as well as monitoring and evaluation of policy, program, project interventions in AAAA (revised) and Post 2015 Zero Draft needs to be more strongly affirmed
The AAAA (revised) and Post 2015 Zero Draft should also go further in recognizing the more multi-polar Global Order and in effectively promoting a renewal in multilateral partnerships and trust. We need to think about how the AAAA (revised) and SDG – as WSDS: Action Plans with ACTION, can effectively ACT as a common narrative with universal buy - that can coordinate Village to Global Multi-Stakeholder ACTION in a period of geopolitical uncertainty.
Building Public Support for Anti Corruption Efforts
Fighting corruption is not easy. Unlike many criminals, dishonest public officials often continue to have power and influence. Political interference, even in cases involving low-level officials, frequently can derail a prosecution. Civil society organizations may help uncover fraudulent activities, but they also may undermine effective prosecution by inadvertently tampering with evidence or tipping off the crooked politicians. Worse, they can go “public” with exaggerated claims that make the final conviction and restitution look comparatively puny and suspicious. The media may release stories prematurely, allowing corrupt parties to hide or destroy evidence and move illicit proceeds to safe havens, often in other parts of the world.
Months of work can be wasted because other parties have undermined a National Anti Corruption Agency’s efforts. Developing evidence in corruption cases is not easy, especially because most corruption is “consensual”—that is, both sides – Citizens / Citizens and Citizens / Non Citizens within and outside the Country, benefit from the exchange.
Unfortunately, this explains why many people in anti-corruption agencies do not see civil society and the media as friends. This perceived adversarial relationship leads to a spiral of distrust and suspicion on all sides. As a result, Sub-national, National, Sub-regional, Regional and Global anti-corruption efforts become less effective, and the agencies are thrown into an increasingly negative light.
There is a global recognition that something can and must be done about corruption, that is why it is bundled up in SDG Goal 16—but far less agreement about how to correct the situation most effectively, that is why this Statement is calling for a separate SDG Goals focused on Governance, Corruption, Conflict, Data and Religion and for answers to Synthesis Report, Data revolution Report, AAAA (revised) and SDG HOW questions. Although there was early acknowledgment that independent anti-corruption agencies might hold the key, many in the international community now are questioning such agencies’ value because of the high-profile destruction of successful agencies in both developing and developed countries.
Another Big Question – Are these anti-corruption agencies truly independent? Are there competent Investigators, Prosecutors, Judges and Courts of minimum certain levels of quality and quantity? Where Competence is Hard Competences – Learning and Skills and Soft Competences – Character, Courage and Mindset.
What is to be done? Level 1, Leaders and Management in anticorruption bodies must understand that success always occurs on two fronts: getting the “bad guys” and being able to explain why the agency’s work is both effective and important. Anti-corruption initiatives must be institutionalized not individualized with emphasis on establishing effective media strategies and taking proactive measures to get the anti-corruption message to the public. These Leaders and Management must help their agencies understand how to control the way they present themselves to the public, how to frame their agencies’ work, and how to develop allies in the press and the community at large Level 2 – Heads of Government must understand that success on sustainable basis greatly depends on their full personal and official support and must lead by example subjecting themselves, their family and friends to the rule of law so they can have the moral right to subject other Citizens and Non Citizens to the rule of law. Level 3 – Civil Society and Media must understand that without required Political, Economic, Social, Cultural, Security and Religious Space the Heads of Government, Leaders and Management of anti-corruption bodies cannot work in ways that institutionalize success on sustainable basis within effective and efficient Justice Administration System.
No one reading this needs to be lectured on the importance of controlling corruption and countering its devastating impact on individuals, communities, and nations. Because of the United Nations Convention against Corruption, everyone in the global community has an opportunity to change the reality of corruption. But it is those good anti-corruption professionals, frequently little appreciated and too often demeaned, who can have real impact. It is their efforts that will win or lose the battle. And we commend and celebrate them with these words from someone who was noted for giving a good fight: it is also important to note that there are many bad anti-corruption professionals, hence the need to put in place early warning mechanism to speedily identify them and flush them out of the Justice Administration System.
Denial and Deception
World Hunger and Poverty in the face of World Abundance and Wealth is a Scar on the Conscience of World Leaders. The successes and disappointments of FfD 3 underline the magnitude and complexity of the challenge that must be overcome if AAAA (revised) and SDG Ambitions are to be realised.
On this occasion of 70th Anniversary of the UN, the UN under current Leadership must rediscover itself and must reinvigorate Reforms to empower it to better tackle these challenges. 70 years ago, the UN was established to Mobilize Global Collective ACTION for Political Stability. The UN Family Organization, including World Bank Group and IMF. In 2015 the UN must be re-established to effectively Mobilize Global Collective Action for Political Stability, Economic Stability, Financial Stability, Peace and Security and Fighting Corruption. This demands Reforming each Entity in the UN Family Organization to be International Institution fit for the 21st Century.
The fact that only 2 CSOs’ participating in 7th IGN collaborated in preparing this Statement, against background of many UN Officials, Developing Countries and CSOs’ expressing discontent with outcome of FfD3 is evidence of Denial and Deception that must be tackled if AAAA (revised) and SDG Vision Ambitions are to be achieved on successful and sustainable basis.
7th and 8th IGN
Sustainable Solutions to Poverty, Hunger, Climate Change, Environmental Degradation and related problems including Corruption and Terrorism on the ground in Developed and Developing Countries exist. Ability to successfully implement these solutions with effective monitoring and evaluation of this implementation exist or can be acquired. However, the Big Challenge is the Willingness to successfully implement these solutions with effective monitoring and evaluation of this implementation. Tackling this Big Challenge is essentially issue of Changing Attitude and Behavior at Scale that the 7th and 8th IGN need to effectively address.
The Program of the 8th IGN is not out as at the time of making this Statement. The 7th IGN appears not to have structure or coordination with regard to the daily 3 Speaking Slots. The result is much duplication in the presentations and many aspects of AAAA (revised) and Post 2015 Zero Draft / SDG remaining untouched.
The 8th IGN will be more productive and result oriented if Structured and Organized to effectively address overarching Goals of Poverty Elimination and Environmental Sustainability from the Dimensions of Trade, Aid, Debts and Corruption with focus on Level 1. Implementation Solutions Level 2. Follow Up and Review Solutions Level 3. Capacity Building – Individual Level - Hard Competences: Learning and Skills and Soft Competences: Character, Courage and Mindset; Institution Level – Resources and Processes empowering the Individual to deploy Competences towards achieving Corporate Goals and Environment Level – Political, Economic, Social, Cultural, Security and Religious Space for Institutions and Individuals to Thrive on Chaos, CommWSDS as well as Communication for WSDS.
A situation where Thematic Interest Groups focus on specific issues within 5 Major Themes – Trade, Aid, Debts, Corruption and CommWSDS – One Major Theme per Day without any Group duplication issues an earlier Group is focused upon and the Secretariat selecting the most Comprehensive Group Statement to secure the 3 available speaking slots will be more beneficial and productive.
Never has our World been so rich. Never has our World been so poor. The vicious circle of being too poor to be rich and too rich to be poor must be broken by AAAA and SDG if our World is to be a happier, safer and healthier place to live, work, play and raise children. There is more than enough Resources - Influence, Science, technology, Innovation, Fund, Manpower and Spiritual to achieve increasing convergence between AAAA (revised) and SDG Vision Intention and Reality, if there is shift from working HARDER to working SMARTer; shift from Disordered Change to Ordered Change. Can this vicious circle be broken without the evolution of a Corruption Free Society?
It must be recognized that Corruption is simply evidence of flaws and failures in Systems within an Institution or Country / Society. it is not helpful to Demonize Corruption or to take sadistic pleasure in the humiliation and ruin of “Big Fish”. It is helpful to undertake Comprehensive Systems Reform to strengthen, reinforce and reinvigorate sub-national, national, sub-regional, regional and global systems within National and International Development Cooperation to be fit for the 21st Century.
Moving forward there is a need for definition of Commonly Occurring Forms of Corruption acceptable to all 193 UN Member States; there is a need to replace current subjective World Governance Indicators measuring Corruption with SMART Objectively Validated Indicators measuring Corruption and there is a need to rank all 193 Countries on the same Index. For example, SMART OVI for Bribe Takers ranking all 193 UN Member States will see many Developing Countries including Nigeria high on the list and SMART OVI for Bribe Givers ranking all 193 UN Member States will see many Developed Countries including US, UK, France and Germany high on the list. It takes two to tango. Giving Global Publicity to Bribe Takers Index while shielding from the Global Media the current incomplete Bribe Givers Index is itself Corruption.
Also, there is a need to set Universal Corruption Line that no Country Developed or Developing should fall below. Global Collective Action for Political Stability, Economic Stability, Financial Stability, Peace and Security and Fighting Corruption should aim at using the Rankings based on SMART OVIs to strengthen Developed and Developing Countries above Universal Corruption Line from falling below the Line and to PULL Up Developed and Developing Countries that fall below SMART OVI to first rise above the Line and thereafter remain above the Line.
Should Stakeholders look on watching flaws and failures in AAAA (revised) and Post 2015 Zero Draft and SDG (from September 2015) Village to Global Policy, Program, Project Interventions, the probability is high that looming Global Recession could become reality making 1930s' Global Recession child's play, with ultimate catastrophic consequences for Citizens in each of the 193 UN Member States, particularly the billions of poor on both Developed and Developing Countries sides.
The five Ps’ – and perhaps a sixth, on Participation - present a strong foundation on which to successfully build a simple narrative and message that, come September 2015, can be effectively communicated around the world, into every school, office and living room. We need to flesh out HOW the five (six) Ps’ connect with one another and with the Goals and targets in a holistic but simple way. This won’t be easy, but at least we now have the Pillars for this work.
At the same time as the Secretary General said about his hopes for the SDG Agenda, the AAAA and Cop21, it is time for not just words, but ACTION.
Our suggestion: an Experts Working Group, EWG, with official recognition to work with co-Facilitators, Missions, Secretariats; the SDG process, the FfD process and all others, on the way forward that provide clear answers to all HOW questions in the AAAA (revised) and SDG.
The EWG could submit Interim Report for consideration and approval at 8th IGN. The Interim Report should focus on HOW to Design and Deliver Agriculture Revolution, Enterprise Revolution, Government Revolution, Applied Research Revolution, Attitudinal and Behavioral Change Revolution, Data Revolution, Digital Revolution, other Primary Revolutions as well as Education Revolution, Health Revolution, Housing Revolution, Financial Inclusion Revolution, Anti Corruption Revolution, Conflict Resolution Revolution and other Secondary Revolutions that WORK in our World as is today and not as any Stakeholder wish it to be. invited we could make suggestions on EWG Membership that address issues of Diversity, Inclusion, Ownership, Harmony and Alignment etc.
We are willing to offer a more detailed information / clarification as directed by co-Facilitators, UNDESA and UNNGLS or requested by Missions.
Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the once-in-a generation agenda that is truly transformative, visionary and inclusive, to guide our valuable efforts in the Global Partnership for World Sustainable Development.
Lanre Rotimi - International Society for Poverty Elimination / Economic Alliance Group
Omair Paul - Muslims for Progressive Values