YALI Network – Why Transparency & Good Governance Matter


[TEXT: Young African Leaders Initiative
Online Training Series] Hello, I’m Professor Nancy Boswell and this is
Why Transparency and Good Governance Matter.
[TEXT: Nancy Boswell, Director – US & International Anti-Corruption Law Certificate Program, American University Washington College of Law] [TEXT: Responsible Leadership on Transparency & Good Governance:
Why Transparency & Good Governance Matter] In this lesson, we will define transparency and good governance
[TEXT: Learning Objectives: What is transparency and good
governance?] and what it means when they are missing in the public and private
sectors.
[TEXT: What are the consequences of a lack of transparency
and good governance in the public and private sectors?] We’ll then discuss some of the international conventions that have been concluded to foster transparency and good governance
and to combat corruption.
[TEXT: What are some of the international conventions that
exist to foster transparency and good governance?] [TEXT: What Is Transparency & Good Governance?] Transparency and good governance are widely
considered fundamental to the proper management of public affairs,
natural resources and property. To fair business competition. To alleviating
poverty and spurring economic growth. And to maintaining trust in government. But what are
transparency and good governance? Transparency is characterized by timely public access to information
affecting the public welfare.
[TEXT: Transparency means the public has access to information] For example, the public needs to know about,
and have an opportunity to comment on, proposed laws and regulations, the backgrounds of those elected or
appointed to serve them, and the disposition of state assets and revenues. Transparency is also characterized by a political climate
in which citizens and the media are free from
harassment or other impediments to hold their government accountable for
acting in the public interest. In fact, despite widespread internet and social media,
too many governments still constrain access to information and interfere with civil society and
the media playing a meaningful oversight role. Good governance respects the rule of law and
recognizes that public office is a trust to be exercised in the public interest and
[TEXT: Public office is a public trust] not for personal or political gain.
[TEXT: Not for personal gain] These principles of transparency and good governance are agreed
global norms, applicable to the public sector and to the private sector.
[TEXT: Global norms, applicable to the public sector
& private sector] To legal, accounting, banking, media and other
professions and to the NGO sector. [TEXT: Consequences of a lack of transparency & good governance in
the public & private sector] The absence of transparency and good governance
permits illegal or unethical actions and inhibits accountability. How? The misuse or theft of state assets,
whether locally generated or from foreign aid, denies citizens basic services, such as adequate health care,
education and access to clean water. This increases infant mortality, illiteracy, malnutrition and
poor health; it decreases investment and economic
opportunity and perpetuates poverty. The problem is often most acute in countries rich in
natural resources. Bribes distort decisionmaking in favor of the most corrupt rather
than those offering the best product at the best price.
[TEXT: Bribes favor the most corrupt] Bribes can also be used to circumvent environmental controls, safety
measures and other regulations put in place to protect the public.
The result is unnecessary or substandard — and even dangerous — outcomes for the public, such as inferior infrastructure and building construction
and tainted food and medicine. And the costs to cover bribes are typically
passed along to the public in higher prices for
goods and services. Such misconduct is often linked to other forms of
crime: trafficking in arms, wildlife and drugs. Human trafficking — illegally transporting people for forced
labor or sexual exploitation — is facilitated by corruption. Payoffs to police, politicians and judges are also an
intrinsic part of corruption. Thus, corruption undermines trust in public institutions and support
for democracy and political and economic reform.
[TEXT: Corruption undermines trust in public institutions] In extreme cases, it threatens political
stability and even fuels conflict.
[TEXT: Threatens political stability & fuels conflict] And when people see their leaders amassing wealth at their expense,
they get angry and may look to violent actors for remedies. This threatens national security. Terrorist groups have used corruption to
finance and perpetrate terrorism. They exploit lax banking systems and regulations to set up
illegal funding mechanisms. And money intended to defend against terrorism has also been
misappropriated by those who use it for their personal gain. [TEXT: International Conventions to Foster Transparency &
Good Governance] Corruption is often viewed as an inevitable fact of daily life to be
tolerated.
[TEXT: Nancy Boswell, Director – US & International
Anti-Corruption Law Certificate Program, American University Washington College of Law] But growing recognition of the damage caused
by corruption has led to a global consensus on the need and the standards for transparency and good governance. These standards are codified in several legally
binding multilateral agreements. The two most important are the Convention on Bribery of Foreign
Public Officials concluded by members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation
and Development,
[TEXT: Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development] or OECD Convention,
[TEXT: OECD Convention] and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption,
or UNCAC.
[TEXT: United Nations Convention Against Corruption,
UNCAC] The OECD Convention was the first and remains the
only convention focused solely on those who pay bribes to
foreign public officials in international business. It underscores the essential role the private sector must play in
addressing corruption. Parties to the convention, including
most of the world’s major exporting nations, have made it a criminal offense to
intentionally offer or pay bribes, directly or indirectly through third parties,
to foreign public officials, for that official to act or refrain from acting so as to obtain or
retain business, or for other improper advantage in international business. Both individuals and companies may be
prosecuted, and sanctions are required to be effective, proportionate and dissuasive. The growing likelihood of exposure and
prosecution — and the consequent negative public reaction — has led many large companies to adopt or upgrade ethics and
compliance programs. It has also led them to demand that smaller companies in their
supply chains, as well as their intermediaries, also adopt measures to prevent and detect bribery. Of course, bribery is a two-sided transaction and simply
addressing those who offer or pay bribes cannot, alone,
solve the problem. Since the mid-1990s, several regional anti-corruption conventions
have been adopted, addressing those who pay bribes as well as public officials who
demand bribes or engage in other forms of corruption. The adoption of the Inter-American, African and
Council of Europe anti-corruption conventions
[TEXT: Inter-American, African and
Council of Europe anti-corruption conventions] culminated in the adoption and entry into force of the UNCAC in
December 2005. The UNCAC includes preventive measures for the public and private
sectors,
[TEXT: THE UNCAC includes preventive measures for the public
and private sectors,] diverse criminal provisions, including on solicitation, bribery,
[TEXT: diverse criminal provisions, including on solicitation,
bribery,] embezzlement and money laundering,
[TEXT: embezzlement and money laundering,] and stolen asset recovery provisions.
[TEXT: stolen asset recovery provisions] Given the prevalence of solicitation and
bribery in the context of government contracting, customs, taxes and inspections, and the theft of state assets, this
legal framework is of the utmost importance. Today, over 180 countries are parties to the UNCAC, representing a
global consensus and a global commitment to implement
[TEXT: 180 countries are parties to the UNCAC] transparency and good governance measures. This reflects a sea change in the attitude toward corruption and the
growing global support for transparency and good governance. But daily news of corruption scandals around the world remind us that the challenge is still formidable
and will not be solved by laws alone. It will require our collective political will to take action. After you have completed all the lessons in
this course at YALI.state.gov,
[TEXT: Test your knowledge, yali.state.gov] you can test your knowledge and earn a YALI Network Certificate.
[TEXT: YALI Network, Select Media © AP Images
Produced by the U.S. Department of State]

7 thoughts on “YALI Network – Why Transparency & Good Governance Matter

  1. suis contant de suivre ce cours édifiant in my country, people are souffring because of the lack of tranparency of our leaders. We have to change it.

  2. In AFRICA lack of transparency and accountability as a factor is influencing the ongoing of the development of poor economies.

  3. According to transparency and good governance and four pillar of good governance how to reduce and illuminate fraud and corruptions in the governments institutions

  4. Professor, Transparency and Good Governance Matter because it breeds Peace, create Hope, it Provides equal opportunities for every citizens within a given country Globally.

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