The 9th International Anti-Corruption Conference
Coalition Building and Monitoring Corruption: The Coalition
The Coalition 2000 process was successfully launched in April 1998 with the aim to fight corruption in Bulgarian society through a process of co-operation among governmental institutions, NGOs and individuals leading to the development of an Anti-Corruption Action Plan for Bulgaria, and the implementation of an awareness campaign and a Corruption Monitoring System. The institutional structure of Coalition 2000 ensures the following characteristics :
Targets of the Coalition 2000 Anti-Corruption Effort
Defining impact objectives through an Anti-Corruption Action Plan
The process of development of the Action Plan went through a number of stages of analytical work and consultations. Six expert working groups covered: reform of the judiciary, public administration, legal reform, curbing corruption in the economy, the role of the media, and international aspects of fighting corruption. The comprehensive approach adopted in drafting the initial document reflected the Coalition 2000 logic of involving all anti-corruption stakeholders. The Coalition invited contributions from central and local government agencies, private businesses and NGOs, trade unions and international organisations. Co-operation with the Economic Development Institute of the World Bank, OECD/SIGMA, the Council of Europe, and US government experts has allowed the Coalition to benefit from a significant pool of international experience. The Coalition 2000 initiative was developed in close co-operation with the local mission of USAID, whose contribution was particularly helpful, as well as with USAID's Washington office expertise.
The Policy Forum, which was convened in November 1998, was attended by over 150 government officials, business leaders, NGO and international organisation representatives. The main purpose of the first meeting of the Policy Forum is to discuss and adopt an Anti-Corruption Action Plan for Bulgaria. Impact is maximised by involving policy-makers and businesspersons in the drafting process which enhances trust and transparency in different sectors of public life. The Bulgarian Action Plan is a consensus document approved by the basic actors in Bulgarian society. Based on the consensus reached, implementation will be a joint effort of all parties involved in the drafting process. Its meetings ensure that the work carried out under the Coalition 2000 process by various institutions reflects a consensus of the concerned public and private institutions. (see the attached contents of the Action Plan).1
In line with the Anti-Corruption Action Plan developed by Coalition 2000, non-governmental organisations throughout the country were invited by the Coalition 2000 Secretariat to submit proposals leading to the practical implementation of Phase Two activities. A total of 28 small grant project proposals were received by the Coalition 2000 Secretariat and 12 have received support. The first results from these small grant projects have been very encouraging. Coalition 2000's local partners have made a substantial contribution to the Coalition anti-corruption public awareness campaign by spreading its messages from central to municipal level. Local NGOs have also assisted in the development of corruption monitoring for the local government.
Affecting behavioural change through dissemination and advocacy
The wide media coverage contributes towards the other main goal of the Coalition - to reduce public tolerance of corrupt practices by means of a targeted awareness campaign. The initiative will focus its campaigning and awareness raising activities on three main target groups considered to be of key significance for the success of anti-corruption reform: the general public, policy decision makers, and elite professionals, including the media. The awareness program has included the utilisation of a mix of national and local print media, national radio, private radio networks, television and the Internet.
Reinforcing the awareness raising component and tracking progress
The corruption assessment indexes, published on regular basis, provide an approximation for the scope and specific aspects of corruption based on the assessment of the general public and of public officials. The indexes include four major elements of corrupt behaviour: pre- conditions, actual behaviour, behaviour results and corruption expectations.
The Coalition 2000 Corruption Indexes are one of the main outputs of the Coalition 2000. CMS results have been published regularly making it possible to estimate the dynamics of public attitudes and actions characterising different aspects of corruption- related phenomena. In April 1999 the Coalition 2000 Corruption Indexes for the second quarter of the year were published. They indicated that the practical effectiveness of corruption had continued to decline. Compared to February 1999, the index for the practical effectiveness of corruption dropped from 6.9 to 6.7. The decline was even bigger when compared to June 1998 when the index was 7.4.
Oversight of the Action Plan
The Steering Committee meets regularly, approximately every four-to- six weeks. It has a major role in the follow up to the Policy Forum meetings. The Steering Committee prepares the meeting agenda through advance consultations with the Forum members and reports to the Forum on the activities and outputs during the preceding year. The structure of the Steering Committee is intended to ensure two main objectives: efficient management covering all aspects (political/institutional, economic, legal, information and interface with international institutions) and public-private dialogue -- with partnership as a key prerequisite for a substantial impact.
Coalition Building and Monitoring in Anti-Corruption: Strategies and Impact in Central and Eastern Europe
Approximately 100 representatives of non-governmental organisations, including business associations and other interest groups, public officials from the region and international organisations gathered in Varna on June19-20, 1999 for the International Conference "Coalition Building and Monitoring in Anti-Corruption: Strategies and Impact in Central and Eastern Europe" organised by Coalition 2000.
The conference discussions focused on existing strategic concepts for involving civil society organisations in Central and Eastern Europe in the fight against corruption in the context of transition to pluralist democracy and market economy. Presentations emphasised the impact of NGOs as initiators/generators of partnerships with government agencies, as well as their role in exercising pressure and serving as watchdog of reform.
In conclusion, the participants of the conference agreed that reducing corruption required not only the relevant institution-building measures but also creating the social preconditions for establishing the rule of law. In this context, it is important to foster: i) a democratic political and economic culture based on trust and respect of government institutions, ii) transparency and openness of the activities of the administration, and iii) an orientation towards stability and predictability. This could be achieved through co- operation among the institutions of the state and civil society on the model built by Coalition 2000.
The participants in the Varna Conference also considered initiatives to promote transparency and accountability at a regional level. The OECD had already provided one possibility in this respect by developing an Anti-corruption Network for Transition Economies. The next step could be the establishment of a Balkan Forum on Accountability and Transparency to facilitate the exchange of information on anti-corruption among the states in the region. Another avenue in the fight against corruption could be provided by the Southeast Legal Development Initiative (SELDI) conceived by the Centre for the Study of Democracy and the International Development Law Institute. SELDI's main objectives include strengthening civil society in the countries from the region and contributing to the building of the rule of law and democratic institutions in those states.
Notes and References
A. First Action Line: Creating a Favourable Institutional and Legal Environment for Curbing Corruption
B. Second Action Line: Reforming the Judicial System
C. Third Action Line: Curbing Corruption in the Economy
D. Fourth Action Line: Enhancing Civic Control in the Fight Against Corruption
E. Fifth Action Line: Changing Public Perceptions of Corruption
F. Sixth Action Line: International Co-operation
for more information, see www.online.bg/coalition2000/