Fighting Corruption

By Laura Spadanuta

Having outsiders involved in the process allows for greater transparency and makes it less likely that corruption will continue, say Eldon and Pyman. As an example of this concept in action, Eldon points to Bulgaria. Though it is considered by Transparency International to be the most corrupt European Union country, Bulgaria is making some attempts to improve.

“The Bulgarian defense ministry now advertises all major procurement projects on its Web site. And it’s open to everyone to comment. And when you get a corruption-related issue, then some of the NGOs like TI Bulgaria…are now welcome to put comments in. So, the kind of least formal way of doing it is just greater transparency,” says Eldon.

Another country said to be making noticeable progress in thwarting corruption is Georgia, which has improved on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, in part due to transparent procurement processes. And Pyman sees some potential for improvement in the Arab Spring countries where there is public anger about corruption.

Pyman and Eldon also stress the importance of companies and organizations having their own anticorruption policies in place before going into highly corrupt nations to do business. Another critical component, according to Pyman and Eldon, is compliance monitoring.

Security officials and diplomats tend to be pessimistic about countering corruption, notes Pyman. But winning over influential members of those groups is key to getting anticorruption measures codified into official agreements.

“From our point of view, [some] of the groups that you most want to convince are the policymakers and the major diplomats who are involved in settling conflicts,” he says. As an example, Pyman cites research by Bertram Spector, an expert in negotiation analysis, which has shown that when anticorruption measures are included in conflict settlements, they can be more effective.



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