IACA this week reiterated the importance of using a human rights approach to tackle corruption during the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Global Summit 2018 in Tbilisi, Georgia. One of three main themes of this year’s Summit was fighting against corruption, in addition to civic engagement and public service delivery.
The Summit brought together heads of state or government, ministers, public servants, members of parliament, local authorities, researchers, academia, journalists, and representatives of civil society and international foundations. Focus during the Summit was on addressing challenges in upholding the principles of open government, a field within which tackling corruption is crucial. The Summit coincided with Nelson Mandela International Day 2018, which marks 100 years since the birth of Mr. Nelson Mandela, a key historical figure in the global fight against corruption.
IACA’s Dean and Executive Secretary, Mr. Martin Kreutner, joined high level speakers on a panel discussion on “Rebooting Public Service Delivery” during the Summit. Other panel members were Ms. Helen Clark, OGP Ambassador, Former United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator and Former New Zealand Prime Minister; Ms. Ayanda Dlodlo, Minister of Public Service & Administration of The Republic of South Africa; Mr. Janek Mäggi, Minister of Public Administration of Estonia; and Ms. Thea Tsulukiani, Minister of Justice of Georgia. The panel was moderated by Ms. Nora O'Connell, Associate Vice President, Public Policy & Advocacy, Save the Children.
During the panel discussion, Mr. Kreutner spoke inter alia on the importance of the Agenda 2030 and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He highlighted that “without implementation of Goal 16, on Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions, achievement of the other Goals is simply not possible; the involvement of all stakeholders is crucial in this regard.”
Mr. Kreutner also mentioned the positive impact that new technologies can have on increasing government accountability to citizens, but also emphasized the potential downsides and risks of over-idealizing e-government and the need to remain vigilant and take an active approach to ensure accountable and human rights-based systems are in place for privacy, data handling, and consent. Human beings shall be governed also in the future by humans and not by algorithms or artificial intelligence.
Another area he touched upon was the importance of ensuring equity when considering corruption issues in the global south and the global north, noting the need to avoid a double standards approach, and stressing that no country is free from the risk of corruption.
Additionally, Mr. Kreutner held bilateral discussions and meetings with high-level officials of the Government of Georgia. Discussions centered on fostering continued cooperation between IACA and Georgia such as the delivery of tailor-made training programmes, technical assistance, and exchange of expertise. Mr. Kreutner also provided updates on current developments including the upcoming seventh session of IACA’s Assembly of Parties.
In 2017, the Ministry of Justice of Georgia successfully hosted a module of IACA’s Master in Anti-Corruption Studies (MACS) programme in Tbilisi, the focus of which was Corruption Prevention and the Future of Anti-Corruption.
Georgia is a Party to IACA, having acceded to the Agreement for the Establishment of IACA as an International Organization in March 2015.