Transparency International’s MENA Programme (TIMP)
Empowering and Strengthening Civil Society’s Institutional, Organizational Capacities and Networks in the MENA Region to Address Corruption
The MENA region has entered a new era where the public in these countries is calling for citizenship. They are reframing their relationship to their own governments, and at huge risk if need be. They want to be an active partner in designing new constitutions, laws and policymaking. The public in the Arab world is inherently aware that changing the way governments run their administrations and making governments more accountable are imperatives in improving the economic and social fabric of society in the Arab world.
Fighting corruption and promoting transparency are key elements in this equation. Corruption hinders institutional reforms and has a detrimental effect on the wellbeing of millions of people across the region. Studies recently completed by TI demonstrate that reforms do not go far enough. One of the key challenges at this moment in time is to promote a cycle of reform demand and reform implementation, and ensure that relevant conditions are in place. Anti corruption activists need an analytical framework and tools with which to work, while there also needs to be strong political will from the side of the government.
This Programme focuses on CSO empowerment, supporting with the most relevant and successful TIs services, tools and solutions the momentum that currently exist in the MENA region and by so doing make a difference in the fight against corruption in this region five years from now. In this process, TI will reach out to new partners while deepening its work with existing partners, providing them with additional tools to ensure that successes on the anti-corruption front are sustainable and replicable. More importantly, we will promote collaboration across the region so that our new partners can benefit from the experience and expertise of the more established Chapters.
Transparency International (TI)
TI is the global civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption. TI brings people together in a powerful worldwide coalition to end the devastating impact of corruption on men, women, and children around the world. TI’s mission is to create change towards a world free of corruption. TI challenges the inevitability of corruption, and offers hope to its victims. Since its founding in 1993, TI has played a lead role in improving the lives of millions around the world by building momentum for the anti-corruption movement. TI raises awareness and diminishes apathy and tolerance of corruption, and devises and implements practical actions to address it.
TI is a global network including more than 90 locally-established Chapters and chapters-information. These bodies fight corruption in the national arena in a number of ways. They bring together relevant players from government, civil society, business and the media to promote transparency in various areas as public administration, procurement, and business. TI’s global network of Chapters and contacts use evidence-based advocacy campaigns to lobby and support governments and businesses to undertake and implement anti-corruption reforms.
Politically non-partisan, TI does not undertake investigations of alleged corruption or expose individual cases, but at times will work in coalition with organisations that do. Without engaging in politics, TI works to facilitate political processes of governance and anti-corruption reforms at
national, regional, and global levels, and plays a leading role in moving the anti-corruption agenda forward.
The strengths of TI originate from the combined characteristics of its network of Chapters and its international Secretariat based in Berlin which together bring:
• wide-ranging knowledge acquired through worldwide research and advocacy work undertaken at regional, national and local levels;
• recognised international experience and networks of experts on corruption in numerous sectors;
• indices and tools developed to measure and address corruption in various contexts;
• “constructive criticism” and coalition building approach makes TI a valued and trusted partner by governments, international organisations, business, media and society around the world;
• independence and non-political partisanship;
• capacity to mobilise and build coalitions of stakeholders.
In November 2010, the TI Movement agreed on a new TI Strategy to 2015, outlining shared aspirations and priority areas to guide the direction of TI over the next 5 years. Many of the areas outlined in the TI Strategy 2015 are reflected in this proposal, including the focus on People (component 3, through e.g. the ALACs and our work with youth) an on strengthening TI’s anticorruption presence in the region (component 1). A key element of TI’s work is diagnosing corruption by measuring its occurrence through surveys and indices and developing practical tools to counter corruption and implement solutions. This approach is prominent in the TI Strategy 2015 and in this Programme through component 2. 6TI, through global and regional anticorruption work will address and emphasise the strong linkages between corruption and the realisation of the Millennium Development Goals, which have 2015 as their target. By the end of this Programme, TI hopes that commitment to concrete action is taken, and that the greatest possible number of stakeholders understands the linkages between corruption and the MDGs.
The Programme will be managed by the Africa & Middle East (AFME) department part of the Network, Chapters and Programmes group of the TI Secretariat (TI-S) in Berlin, with much of the implementation taking place at country level being undertaken by the TI Chapters in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA).
We believe that TI is uniquely placed to work with and mobilise civil society in MENA in all its shapes and forms and has the necessary neutrality and credibility with local partners. TI has now been working in ten countries in the MENA for well over a decade. In addition to gaining the trust of various stakeholders in civil society, TI has also succeeded in building a dialogue with governments in the region, and earning their respect, even when these interlocutors have proven to be challenging.
The TI-S, including the AFME Department, has substantial experience in managing similar multicounty projects. The Source Book Adaptation Programme, supporting organisational capacity strengthening was implemented from 2002 to 2006, with a value of approximately 1 million Euro.
The USAID-funded MABDA (Measuring Anti-corruption Efforts and Building Demand for Effective National Integrity Systems in Egypt and the Arab World) programme, which ran from 2008 to 2011 with a value of 2.3 million USD, has focused on measuring anti-corruption (undertaking National Integrity System Studies). In the past three years, the AFME Department has also implemented large-scale multi-country advocacy projects, including on advocacy and legal advice centers. This experience has given the AFME Department guidance and a body of lessons learned on which to build successful management of this Programme. In support of the Programme, TI has recently signed a three year grant agreement with USAID with the overall aim of promoting access to information and enhancing civil society engagement as a basis for good governance and public accountability. This 3-year project component is being implemented in collaboration with TI partners in Morocco, Palestine, Egypt and Yemen. In addition, this project will allow TI to expand its partnership to civil society activists in Jordan and Iraq.
The TI-S also manages many other comprehensive and large-scale projects and programmes,
including a similar AusAID funded Institutional & Network Strengthening Programme which has been implemented since 2004, supporting organisational capacity strengthening as well as increased coordination in the Asia-Pacific region, and a DFID funded programme in 20+ countries with a 5M+ GBP budget aiming to improve governance and transparency.
Situational Analysis – Overall Programme Justification 1
The Arab World, traditionally known for its rich heritage, spans a vast area with differences in
culture, ethnicity, civil rights and the strength of civil society. A decade ago, the emergence of a new generation of younger leaders in Jordan, Morocco, Syria and elsewhere, had been a cause of optimism. These leaders were more modern in their outlook than their predecessors, more acutely aware of the impact of technology and globalisation on the lives of their people, and had 1 Kindly refer to the specific components of the Programme for a more detailed situational analysis for each specific component. 7 expressed the need to initiate change to improve opportunities for the poorest in their country and to institute measures to combat corruption. Unfortunately, many hopes were thwarted and expected changes did not come to light. Frequently, the process of change was made difficult by non-democratic government structures and an “old guard” which often had little accountability and responsiveness to its citizens. In much of the Arab World, unemployment averages 15 per cent, in some countries, Algeria for instance, it is close to 30 per cent. Many have started to question why the region has not reaped better rewards from globalisation. In many Arab countries, authoritarian regimes maintained a heavily state-managed economy that discouraged private investment, entrepreneurship and dynamism of the sort that powered growth in other emerging economies. Although poverty rates are relatively low, the lack of opportunities for the young and educated translates into deeply frustrated aspirations.
The recent developments in the MENA region have opened up unprecedented opportunities for working with civil society and other stakeholders. For the first time in many decades, people in the Arab world are calling for citizenship. They are reframing their relationship to their own governments, and at huge risk if need be. They want to be an active partner in designing new constitutions, laws and policy-making. The public in the Arab world is inherently aware that changing the way governments run their administrations and making governments more accountable are imperatives in improving the economic and social fabric of society in the Arab world. Recent challenges mean that governments need to accommodate to a new role—one which serves the “people” in a more citizen-oriented, efficient, effective, transparent, and accountable manner while creating solid infrastructure to support investment and economic activity while enforcing the rule of law.
Corruption at all levels remains one of the most visible factors that affect governance systems, flourishing where there is minimal oversight and accountability. Such a systemic weakness, rooted to various degrees in all the countries which comprise the MENA region, hinders key institutional reforms and negatively affects the well-being of millions of people from the Maghreb to the Mashreq. TI’s National Integrity System Studies (NIS) identify the weaknesses in a country’s institutions (the judiciary, parliament, the executive, political parties, media, etc.) which overall make up a country’s “integrity system”. Most recently completed in Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon and Palestine, these studies 2 show that although some improvements have been made, these have been piecemeal and do not go far enough. In practice, for the ordinary citizen, very little has changed over the last decade.
Anti corruption and the protection of human rights, particularly socio-economic rights, are inevitably linked. Due to various forms of corruption, which can take the shape of non-transparent government, poor service delivery, reduced access to fundamental services (water, electricity, education, employment, housing, land, health, etc.) and the ensuing lack of opportunities (fair and gainful employment; ability to develop as individuals, to live in dignity, to enjoy economic security, to build a family or to start a business etc.), citizens in the MENA region are disempowered and in such instances unable to play an active role in society, to take their place as citizens and to advocate for the long-term rights that affect them.
The UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders asserts the right of everyone to promote and “strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms”3 and the UN See also the four National Integrity System reports produced by TI between 2009 and 2010 and the Regional Overview report drawing recommendations and highlighting common trends from the studies (the five publications cover Morocco, Lebanon, Egypt and Palestine). See also the CPI scores and the GCB results.
All publications are available upon request or directly online on TI-S website www.transparency.org
Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms , Article; 1 8 Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) guarantees public participation in anti-corruption efforts4 Yet human rights defenders working to fight corruption often have their own rights violated. This happens at a personal level – through intimidation, threats, harassment or attacks – or at an institutional level, where governments clamp down on organisations by changing their registration or reporting requirements, or limiting funding sources. In order to begin to counter this, it is imperative to promote a cycle of reform demand and reform implementation; this, however, requires that proper conditions be in place. Despite the prolonged efforts to bring such conditions about, decades of volatile socio-political conditions have created an environment in which both the will and the ability of all actors to progress towards good governance are severely crippled. In this challenging context, Civil Society Organizations, understood in the widest sense, are among the most important stakeholders. A heavy burden is placed upon them; to act as watchdogs, independent interlocutors of the respective governments, and to propose concrete and viable reform avenues, with the ultimate common goal of full accountability always in mind.
There is growing enthusiasm and willingness on the part of civil society in the Arab countries. However, anti-corruption activists need an analytical framework with which to work and need to develop tools with which to advocate change.
On the other hand, reforms cannot be sustained if the governmental counterpart is not willing to implement them. It is therefore important that those tasked with designing and carrying out the actual reforms understand the tools used by CSOs, their importance, and the fact that strong, independent, and bottom-up demand for change is a voice that can no longer be disregarded.
Anti-corruption work and efforts by civil society remain dissipated. Without cohesive and concerted region-wide efforts it will be difficult to make inroads into anti-corruption work in the region. A strong network of CSOs can create a virtuous, self-reinforcing cycle. Well connected, cohesive and motivated groups can support one another and grow in their ability to tackle challenges, from systemic governance gaps to sudden deteriorations of the political climate.
Decades of restriction by autocratic, oppressive, sometimes tyrannical regimes, have greatly diminished the potential of civil society to coalesce and bring about lasting change. Lack of faith in the possibility for tangible reforms, apathy, and in general a sense of disempowerment have had considerable influence on its ability to engage in anti-corruption actions, deepening and widening the gap between the governments and their citizens.
Civil society organisations and local stakeholders who monitor and advocate in support of transparency and an end to corruption and the abuse of power are crucial voices promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms. These advocates are not only trying to uphold these rights but are also identifying and addressing the devastating role corruption plays in denying access to basic public services to people to which these are guaranteed as a human right. When they speak publicly about corruption cases or actively press for policy reform, they seek to make institutions accountable, electoral processes fair and transparent or overall improve the quality of governance.
By doing this, they can be targets of harassment, intimidation and attack. This Programme will also coach activists so that they learn how to stay safe and continue their work in difficult and challenging environments.
TI is uniquely equipped to work with civil society in this way. Successfully-completed regional programmes, such as the Adaptation of the Transparency International Source Book, a manual for corruption fighters, into Arabic and the research-based advocacy “MABDA” programme with its high-quality studies, have all contributed to intensifying networking among professional groups who have been enlisted in the fight against corruption in the region, thus creating and strengthening the multi-sectoral coalitions which are the basis for TI’s work. The regions’ decision-UNCAC. Article 13 on Public Participation.
makers were involved in determining the anti-corruption strategies appropriate for their own circumstances, which over time will help them design their own country-specific action plans.
In November 2010, the TI Movement agreed on a new TI Strategy to 2015, outlining shared aspirations and priority areas to guide the direction of TI over the next 5 years. Many of the areas outlined in the TI Strategy 2015 are reflected in this Programme, including the focus on People (through the citizens engagement component), Values (particularly in relation to Youth Integrity) and on strengthening TI’s anti-corruption presence in the region.
TI now faces a tremendous opportunity to put its vast pool of tools and expertise to best use, in a context that has never before offered such openings and windows of opportunity. TI envisages working on a mid to long-term programme of CSO empowerment that will exploit all the momentum and forward thrust which now exists in the MENA region to take its Chapters into a position to make a real difference five years from now.
In this process, TI will reach out to new Groups while deepening its work with existing partners and Chapters, providing them with additional tools to ensure that successes on the anti-corruption front are sustainable and replicable. More importantly, we will promote collaboration across the region so that our new partner Groups can benefit from the experience and expertise of the more established ones. It is important to realise that even in the “emerging” countries, there is wide variation in capacity and freedom of manoeuvre for civil society. In some of these very difficult countries, the outputs from these new, inexperienced groups will reflect their more embryonic state.
Activities will take place in Algeria; Bahrain; Egypt; Jordan; Kuwait; Lebanon; Libya; Morocco;
Palestine; Yemen; Mauritania; Tunisia; Iraq; Syria and North Sudan.
The countries in question can be clustered into five main groups:
1. Countries where TI has well established Chapters and substantive work has been done in past. These countries include Morocco, Lebanon, Palestine and Kuwait. In those countries, TI will support its partners as they seek to deepen their understanding / assessment of sector specific and / or local level corruption issues. The Chapters here are already active on a wide range of issues including education, anti-corruption legislation, awareness-raising, national budget monitoring and private sector transparency, to name just a few of the fields they are working in. There are also ALACs (Advocacy and Legal Advice Centres) in Lebanon, Morocco Palestine and Kuwait.
2. In countries such as Bahrain, Jordan and Egypt, TI-S priority will be to strengthen the capacity of existing partner Groups and support their coalition-building efforts. These Groups have much potential but the challenge is frequently that of raising capacity and encouraging them to work together in a more cohesive way. In Egypt, which was difficult terrain, a fledgling coalition of local Groups has been active for a while and we hope that this will emerge into a formal Chapter. Less established Groups exist in Jordan and Yemen.
3. In Algeria, Mauritania, Yemen and Iraq, TI has had contact with several Groups. The difficult political situation did not enable this Group to flourish as anticipated, but it is hoped that these can be revived, strengthened and additional partner Groups brought on board. In Iraq, TI has also been in dialogue with the national Anti-Corruption Commission in the country. A mission to Algeria also took place in April, where we trained lawyers, magistrates and trainee judges, familiarising them with anti-corruption methods, tools and anti-money laundering. We also met with CSOs working in Algeria in order to better understand the challenges of operating in a still fairly repressive climate.
4. In countries with no TI presence such as Tunisia, Libya, Syria, Sudan, TI will work at supporting emerging Groups with anti corruption tools and skills. A TI mission to Tunisia took place in March 2011. We discovered that there is much willingness to work on anticorruption issues, but little knowledge of the related skills or how to approach work on governance. A relatively new anti-corruption commission is under a great deal of pressure and dealing with the past will be a key priority in moving forward. Building coalitions between CSOs, governmental agencies and the private sector will not be easy. So, although challenges are huge there is also a great deal of potential.
5. Mauritania is of particular interest as it strides both the Arab world and Sub-Saharan Africa, yet has a predominantly Muslim population and many structures and traditions which exist are strongly inspired by Arab culture. There has been much investment from the side of multilaterals such as the World Bank, EU and UNDP in attempting to strengthen governance initiatives in Mauritania. The German GIZ has also carried out some small-scale programmes with some success. However, the impacts of these are limited due to a weak civil society and weak public institutions´ capacity. TI Morocco is a close neighbour of Mauritania and has expressed considerable interest and commitment in using their expertise to help reach out to civil society in the country. TI strongly feels that Mauritania should be part of a regional programme for the Arab world and believes existing expertise in the Arab world can be mobilised to help this kind of outreach. In TI’s experience, regional anti-corruption programmes have proven to be of inestimable value in the MENA region. Studies and anti-corruption products carried out and implemented by local partners in the MENA have helped in overcoming constraining factors such as the low resonance in the region of strategies from an Anglo-Saxon legal, administrative and political environment.
Addressing these constraints on a regional rather than country-specific basis has allowed the analysis of the nature and causes of corruption to be handled on a thematic basis, working with professional groups focusing on the substantive aspects of the diagnosis. By embedding local activities in the framework of a regional programme, one avoids the politicisation of debate that can occur in a purely national context.
Region-wide activities will also encourage the exchange of information among the various countries in the region regarding the situation in their respective societies and about existing or possible strategies for combating corruption. We have found that promoting this exchange is one of the most valuable contributions that TI as a global movement can make to help countries design their own strategies and programmes.