International Anti-Corruption Day is celebrated on December 9 every year to raise public awareness of corruption. This day is crucial for governmental institutions and non-governmental organizations, as well as for the whole society, to be reminded that joint cooperation is essential for the prevention of corruption, which in turn is fundamental to achieve progress in terms of Sustainable Development Goals’ (SDG) implementation.
The Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) continues to actively promote the fight against corruption. The organization implements significant measures to promote awareness raising in the Anti-Corruption direction and successfully implements the Certification Program in Fighting Corruption. IDFI continues collaboration with local self-government bodies to establish more open and participatory governance at the local level. The organization systematically monitors the implementation of the Anti-Corruption policy documents. In the beginning of 2021, IDFI submitted its views and recommendations to the Secretariat of the Anti-Corruption Council to assist in the development of effective Anti-Corruption policy documents. Despite this, new Anti-Corruption Action Plan, which is to define the commitments of the public agencies to be carried out in 2021-2022 - is not developed yet in the end of 2021; Public Administration Reform (PAR) Action Plan has not been developed either, the relevant strategies have not been updated, and information on the progress of these processes has not been published.
IDFI actively observes the assessments by international organizations of the situation in Georgia regarding corruption, analyzes and periodically publishes the results. In 2021 Georgia was mentioned in the rankings of several international organizations. According to the data, Georgia’s Anti-Corruption indicators continues to be worsened. High-level corruption by public officials remains a problem.
It is noteworthy that Georgia’s implementation of Anti-Corruption recommendations issued by international organizations is characterized by low progress that clearly indicates a transition to a passive phase in the fight against corruption in the country.Considering this, it has to be mentioned that hindering the OECD/ACN report on Anti-Corruption environment by the Government of Georgia is particularly alarming.
IDFI has been talking for years about the problems linked with the independence of the agencies fighting against corruption. Independence is one of the most important factors necessary for effectively fighting against corruption and ensuring public trust towards the institutions. It is necessary to reform the Anti-Corruption system since it cannot effectively respond to cases of high-level corruption. This raises questions in society and negatively affects the trust towards public institutions. The organization has long advocated for the importance of creating an independent Anti-Corruption agency equipped with a high degree of independence, relevant authority and public trust to investigate high-profile corruption cases and answer all the lingering questions.
IDFI is actively working to strengthen the accountability and openness of commercial and government organizations, including in terms of fighting against corruption. To achieve this goal IDFI uses different international and local platforms. IDFI has become a PWYP member NGO from Georgia in order to promote the transparency of companies engaged in the extractive industries, and the creation of a common public good as a result of the income derived from the minerals’ extraction. The organization hosted a regional conference on this topic within the framework of the Open Government Forum. The forum was attended by local and international experts and stakeholders from several sectors on a number of key issues: transparency of beneficial property, Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI), Publish What You Pay network, and Georgia’s perspectives.
IDFI actively works to raise the attention of relevant actors on important Anti-Corruption issues. In 2021 the organization conducted research on Beneficial Ownership Transparency in Georgia and Visegrad Countries and developed a guide for monitoring beneficial ownership. Besides, in order to determine the reason for the low number of cases of whistleblowing in Georgian public institutions, to identify gaps, and to elaborate specific recommendations for their eliminationIDFI conducted an in-depth research on whistleblowing mechanism. Herewith, it is noteworthy that IDFI has been actively discussing from the beginning the dangers of rising corruption risks within the pandemic and it was focusing on this issue in 2021 as well.
In order to overcome the existing challenges, it is crucial that Georgia adheres to the recommendations of international Anti-Corruption institutions. It is also important that the authorities pay more attention to the Public Administration Reform and the fight against corruption, take into consideration the challenges identified in these areas, develop effective policy documents in a timely manner and undertake ambitious commitments within these strategic documents to make relevant changes.
This material has been financed by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida. Responsibility for the content rests entirely with the creator. Sida does not necessarily share the expressed views and interpretations.
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