The EEA and Norway Grants draw on the expertise of Transparency International (TI) in identifying and addressing corruption risks in the implementation of the grant schemes.
Founded in 1993, Transparency International is a global network that brings together government, civil society and businesses to promote transparency and fight corruption. While all beneficiary countries have committed to applying the highest degree of transparency and accountability in the implementation of the grants, corruption remains an obstacle to achieving much needed progress in several beneficiary countries. TI publishes an annual 'International Corruption Perceptions Index' which ranks countries in terms of perceptions of the level of public sector-corruption. In the 2014 index, the 16 beneficiary states ranked from 26 (Estonia) to 69 (Romania) in the world.
What is TI doing for the EEA and Norway Grants?
The EEA and Norway Grants draw on the expertise of Transparency International (TI) in identifying and addressing corruption risks in the implementation of the Grants during the current funding period (2009-2014). This is what they have completed so far:
- Development of a risk assessment tool to assess potential exposure to corruption risks in each beneficiary state and in all programmes
- Publication of a Synthesis report summarising the results of using the risks assessment tool
- Integrity assessments of all beneficiary countries
- Pilot projects for Integrity Pacts, a tool aimed at preventing corruption in public contracting.
The risk assessments by TI have contributed to the donor countries' decisions on control and audit measures, and to ensuring that monitoring and control measures are directed at high-risk programmes and countries. The analyses have also made the beneficiary countries more aware of the strengths and weaknesses of their institutions. National Focal Points and Programme Operators are working hard to identify and mitigate corruption risk. Together with Transparency International, an overview of risk mitigation measures has been developed, for use of national, programme or project level.
One of TI’s main ongoing tasks is to support the implementation of an effective complaints mechanism for the Grants. This includes the development of a guidance document on good practice in complaints mechanisms, and a checklist to be used by the FMO and the National Focal Points.
TI also provides information about existing tools and solutions to address corruption risks in management (including procurements), contributes to seminars on transparency and good governance in the EEA and Norway Grants, and provide tailored support as necessary.
Transparency and control in the Grants
The successes that have been achieved by the Grants would not have been so marked were it not for the existence of properly functioning control systems. The EEA and Norway Grants are contributions from public resources in the donor countries, with co-financing from the beneficiary countries. Mechanisms are in place to ensure that all funding is safeguarded and used in line with rules and regulations set out for the grants. Zero tolerance to corruption and mismanagement has always been a guiding principle for the Grants.