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Overview of Anti-Corruption Strategies in Asia-Pacific
Saturday, 14 September 2019
(Continued from last week)
Implementation mechanism. Most anti-corruption strategies also contain provisions on the institutional set-up to implement it. However, M&E is covered only in rare cases.

2.Dissimilarities in anti-corruption strategies
The sequencing with the establishment of anti-corruption agencies. Anti-corruption strategies and agencies are usually interlinked, but there are two different scenarios in the Asia-Pacific region. In some cases the strategy precedes, and actually envisions the establishment of an anti-corruption agency. In other cases the strategy follows the establishment and actually is found to be conceived by the agency. For example, in the case of Bhutan, the ACA coordinated the development of the anti-corruption strategy in order to translate government’s zero tolerance policy against corruption. In Papua New Guinea, the strategy preceded the establishment of the ACA and one of the objectives of the strategy is to establish a strong and independent ACA. In the case of Mongolia, the drafting of the first anti-corruption strategy preceded the establishment of the ACA while the drafting of the second one is coordinated by the ACA. The relationship between anti-corruption strategy and the anti-corruption agency might be different according to each country; however, in many countries, the responsibility to draft the anti-corruption strategy is given to the agency. For example in Afghanistan the ACA was originally established as the High Office of Oversight on Implementation of the National Anti-corruption Strategy to coordinate and oversee the implementation of the national anti-corruption strategy.
Box 2: Conditions for effective anti-corruption agencies.
In practice anti-corruption agencies in the region are often undermined in their role to develop and/or implement anti-corruption strategies because of weak political will, manifested in limited resources and staff capacity. Also they sometimes have the tendency to centralise anti-corruption efforts instead of engaging various stakeholders in the process. Such engagement of stakeholders is essential to build ownership and help to ensure the acceptability and effectiveness of strategies adopted.
To help anti-corruption agencies to be more effective in preventing and combating corruption, the UNDP together with UNODC and other partners developed the Jakarta Statement on Principles for Anti-Corruption Agencies at a UNDP/UNODC Conference hosted by the

Corruption Eradication Commission of Indonesia. The Principles highlight that effective ACAs tend to be well-resourced, headed by strong leadership with visible integrity and commitment, and situated amongst a network of state and non-state actors who work together to implement anti-corruption interventions.
See http://www. unodc. org/documents/treaties/UNCAC/COSP/session5/V1388018e.pdf, and the UNDP study on South-South Exchange on Effective Anti-Corruption Agencies: Bhutan, Maldives, Timor-Leste(http://www. undp.org/content/dam/undp/library/Democratic %20Governance/Anti-corruption/South-South% 20 AntiCorruption%20 Agencies %202012.pdf).
Use of corruption surveys. In drafting their anti-corruption strategies, Bhutan and India used inputs from corruption perception surveys. On the other hand in Malaysia and Vietnam corruption perception surveys were among the measures introduced as part of the anti-corruption strategies to track progress over time.
Length. The length of anti-corruption strategies varies significantly across countries in the region. The anti-corruption strategy in Maldives, including its action plan, is not more than 12 pages long while in Afghanistan it spreads over 194 pages. Nepal’s anti-corruption action plan stretches to over 134 pages. The challenge is to design a clearly articulated document that communicates a vision of how to address corruption while avoiding the creation of a “wish list” with overambitious objectives or unnecessary details. For example, the anti-corruption strategy of Afghanistan is so broad and encompassing that it is difficult to prioritise actions as well as identify roles and responsibilities for implementation. To be effective, strategies need to be accompanied by an action plan to prioritise and sequence implementation.
C.Process for developing the anti-corruption strategy
A high-level taskforce or committee is usually set up to draft the anti-corruption strategy. This is observed in several countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bhutan, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Nepal. The call to draft an anti-corruption strategy often comes from the highest authority in the government_the President or Prime Minister’s Office_giving an indication of political will to combat corruption. Secretariat support is usually provided by the ACA. In many cases, the ACA is the lead agency involved in taking the initiative or actually involved in drafting the anti-corruption strategy document. Where the ACA is not involved, the Office of the President, the Prime Minister’s Office or the Cabinet takes the lead. In Nepal, the Prime Minister’s Office took the initiative in drafting the anti-corruption strategy and its action plans as well as monitoring their implementation.
Where donor support is available, services of international experts also can be used to support the drafting of the anti-corruption strategy. This expertise is useful, especially in terms of sharing lessons from other countries. This is observed in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bhutan, PNG, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, and Timor-Leste. However, there is always a risk that donor support undermines ownership of the anti-corruption strategy. The likelihood of an anti-corruption strategy being implemented diminishes when the country’s institutions do not own the strategy or the development of such a strategy becomes a technical exercise to give lip-service to donor pressure.
Experience in the region shows that external and internal consultations during the drafting process are key for the successful implementation of strategies. A series of workshops, consultative meetings, and academic seminars should be organized, preferably in different parts of the country, to have public participation and stakeholders’ involvement. The public also should be invited to submit their views. The anti-corruption strategy in Afghanistan entailed 64 rounds of meetings. In the case of Pakistan eight rounds of consultative workshops were organized in different parts of the country. In Thailand, advice was sought from seven universities. In Malaysia, officers from senior government agencies, government-linked corporations, and non-government organizations (NGOs) participated in a 6-week-long laboratory before coming up with national key results areas (NKRAs) for measuring the strategy implementation. In Nepal, TI reviewed in 2011 the implementation plan of the strategy and found that it was prepared without consulting anti-corruption agencies (Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority [CIAA] and the National Vigilance Council [NVC]) and other key stakeholders (Ministry of Education). This hampered the implementation of the strategy.
Because of extensive consultations, it often takes a long time to draft an anti-corruption strategy that reflects a common vision among key stakeholders. Sometimes successive governments are involved. Drafting of an anti-corruption strategy is a time-consuming process. Some countries in Asia-Pacific may have drafted their anti-corruption strategy relatively quickly. For example, it took PNG only six months to draft its strategy, and another 18 months to have the government adopt it. In Pakistan, the drafting of its 2002 anti-corruption strategy took 13 months. Experiences from other countries indicate that the drafting of an anti-corruption strategy takes anywhere from one to two years. Nepal presents another case where the strategy was drafted by one government in 2008. It took two years for another government to draft Action Plans in 2010. Implementation of these Action Plans rested with a third government in 2011.

D.Implementation and M&E mechanisms
Although more than a dozen countries have developed anti-corruption strategies in the region, few of them have an effective implementation mechanism including an action plan with clear roles and responsibilities. Moreover, few strategies built in elements of evaluation and data collection from the design phase. The challenge faced by many countries is to define measurable indicators, with established guidelines and tracking mechanisms, in order to determine whether targets are being achieved.
Although many countries’ national strategies are weak on M&E, Malaysia offers an example of good practice. Malaysia’s strategy contains details on benchmarks, time-bound performance targets, and performance indicators to measure progress in implementation. The anti-corruption strategy monitoring system in Malaysia uses both local and global measures for performance monitoring (see Table 2). The Malaysian government also established a special division to monitor implementation progress (NKRA Monitoring & Coordination Division, 2013). Corruption indicators like Transparency