FORUM ON ENSURING ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR
The OECD Context
The Final Communiqué of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Council at Ministerial level on 17 May 2001 declares that "strengthening effective and coherent public governance remains a priority on the policy agenda. The effective performance of democratic institutions, including legislatures, and the fight against corruption, are central elements of good governance. Enhanced openness, transparency and accountability must become guiding principles for governments within OECDs membership and beyond. OECD should continue to make a vital contribution through its dialogue on public governance with Non-Members."
This mandate is the third in a series of mandates that were handed down to the OECD by Ministers to address governance questions in a policy dialogue with Non-Members. The Forum is the second in a series of three Global Fora dealing with governance issues. The first one focused on the management and control of agencies. The present Forum will focus on issues of accountability and transparency in the private and public sectors, and the third will focus on media corporations and their contribution to good governance. These fora are part of the OECDs Global Forum on Governance and are sponsored by the Global Outreach Initiative. They are an expression of an emerging consensus on governance issues among Members and Non-Members alike.
The OAS Context
The General Assembly of the Organisation of American States (OAS) held in Costa Rica on
3-5 June 2001 was a turning point for anti-corruption efforts on the American continent. On this occasion, State Parties of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption officially adopted the follow-up mechanism defined by 18 delegations in Buenos Aires in May 2001. This Convention was the first multilateral instrument of its kind to combine obligations for State Parties related to the criminalisation of corruption and bribery of foreign public officials, procedures for mutual legal assistance and extradition with respect to corruption offences, and a series of anti-corruption preventive measures that the Parties agree to consider establishing. The signature of the Convention in 1996 helped to bring the problem of corruption to an unprecedented degree of discussion and scrutiny in the region, and provided a general international legal framework for remedial action.
The Focus of the Forum
In view of the above developments, the Forum aims to provide a policy dialogue in the following three key areas:
- Managing conflicts of interest (paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 of the Convention)
- Establishment of transparent and efficient budget management (paragraphs 6 and 12 of the Convention); and
- The accompanying mechanisms for public scrutiny and access to information (paragraph 11 of the Convention).
Three Focus Groups will address these issues in parallel sessions. Participants will analyse concrete examples in order to learn from the modernisation processes of institutions, and especially the conditions and factors that contributed to their success or failure. The number of presentations in each Focus Group is limited to two, in order to stimulate discussion and encourage an active dialogue and exchange of experiences among participants. These presentations, of no more than 15 minutes each, from an OECD and an OAS country, will introduce the discussion on the approaches used in policy design as well as the practical steps of implementation. Particular attention will be given to review processes that measure the impact of policy decisions and assess results achieved.