IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Engaging Civil Society in Monitoring Conflict of Interests
30 June 2015
The idea of engaging civil society organisations in monitoring the conflict of interest (CoI) was born during an Annual Assembly of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum. At the Assembly Transparency International Moldova presented their monitoring results to the members of the Anti-corruption subgroup of Working Group 1 and the EaP CSF members expressed their interest to apply the Moldovan methodology in their own countries.
In this project, six partner NGOs from Armenia, Moldova, Poland and Ukraine (TI-Moldova, Stefan Batory Foundation, TI-Armenia, Eurasia Partnership Foundation – Armenia, TI-Ukraine and the Ukrainian Institute for Public Policies) have worked jointly over the past two years to consolidate the capacity of civil society organisations in monitoring conflict of interest policies. The NGOs called on their governments to align with European values and standards related to CoI policies. The project activities included legal expertise, focus groups, opinion polls, monitoring activities, training, awareness raising activities and advocacy campaigns.
Closing event of the project “Engaging Civil Society in Monitoring Conflict of Interests” was held at the office of the European Endowment for Democracy (EED) on 30 June. EaP CSF representatives Lilia Carasciuc (EaP CSF Moldovan National Platform, TI-Moldova) and Mikayel Hovhanissyan (EaP CSF Armenian National Platform, Member of the Steering Committee, Eurasia Partnership Foundation) were among the speakers. During the closing event, an overview of the general concept used was given and the key findings for the respective countries were presented.
Conflict of Interest is a wide spread phenomenon in the Eastern Partnership countries. In fact, it represents an open gate to corruption. Using the provisions of the Council of Europe and OECD documents as guidelines for Eastern European countries, the partner NGOs focused on advocating for the adoption and implementation of CoI policies, and monitoring their application.
In all four countries 1151 public servants from 42 central public institutions were interviewed within an opinion poll. To compare the opinions of the public servants and the ones of the heads of the monitored institutions official requests of information were submitted to 51 central public institutions. The partner NGOs trained 66 local NGOs in four countries, providing them with 10 small grants to monitor CoI in local public administration. The monitoring process was accompanied by extensive public awareness (more than 80 events were organised with the participation of about 3000 people) and advocacy campaigns.
The acquired expertise on legal framework proved that the legal framework is not perfect in any of the four countries. Policy recommendations vary from creating specialised institutions in charge for CoI policies in Armenia and Ukraine to concrete recommendations to improve the mechanism of the policy implementation in Moldova and Poland.