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Frontpage News 2011 Adressing corruption risks with Transparency International

anti-corruption seminar.JPG

Adressing corruption risks with Transparency International

A new agreement ensures that the EEA Grants and Norway Grants will draw on the expertise of Transparency International to identify and address corruption risks in the implementation of the grant schemes.

The EEA Grants and Norway Grants have entered into an agreement with Transparency International (TI), a global network fighting corruption. The Grants will support TI’s efforts to assess the overall integrity systems at country level, which will be a key information source for addressing corruption risks within relevant sectors and institutions in the beneficiary states. TI will also develop a methodology for risk assessment affecting the Grants that can be applied to the countries.

"We are very pleased with this agreement with Transparency International because it further strengthens the donor states’ and beneficiary states’ common fight against any corruption, fraud or mismanagement of funds", said Ambassador Ingrid Schulerud from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

New programmes of funding are now being set up in the beneficiary states for the next few years, which makes this an important phase to analyse and target risk factors. The highest degree of transparency and accountability applies to all parties involved in the EEA and Norway Grants at all levels, and the experience from the EEA and Norway Grants 2004-09 has been good. There were very few reported cases of attempted fraud or corruption, and issues have been effectively followed up and sanctioned.

Meanwhile, corruption remains an obstacle to achieving much-needed progress in several beneficiary states according to Transparency. TI publishes an annual ‘International Corruption Perceptions Index’ which ranks countries in terms of perceptions of the level of public sector corruption. In the 2010 Index, the 15 beneficiary states ranked from 26 (Estonia) to 73 (Bulgaria) in the world.

"With this partnership we want to support the efforts of all parties involved in the EEA and Norway Grants to prevent incidences of corruption by identifying key risk areas and by providing tools and solutions to address these risks", said Anja Osterhaus, Acting Director for TI in Europe and Central Asia.

TI will also provide information about existing tools and solutions to address corruption risks in management, including procurement, which is a high-risk area for corrupt practices. Pilot projects will be conducted for Integrity Pacts, a tool aimed at preventing corruption in public contracting. Finally, TI will provide professional input for annual seminars focusing on transparency and good governance in the EEA and Norway Grants.

The cooperation with Transparency International was presented at a seminar in Prague on 06 September 2011, where representatives from the donor and beneficiary states met to discuss how to address corruption risks in grant management.

Photo: Anja Osterhaus from Transparency International discusses with Jens Eikaas, Norwegian Ambassador to the Czech Republic