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Moderator: Henrietta Holsman Fore, Administrator, U.S. Agency for International
U.S. Rep. Donald Payne
William A. Swope, Corporate Vice President and General Magnager, Corporate Affairs Group, INTEL Corporation
Monica Macovei, Anti-Corruption Consultant to the Prime Minister of Macedonia
Nancy Zucker Boswell, President and CEO, Transparency International-USA
Petko Georgiev, Director, Broadcast Training Center ProMedia Foundation
Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, Henrietta Holsman Fore.
Henrietta Holsman Fore: The next panelist is William Swope, Corporate Vice President and General Manager of Intel's Corporations Corporate Affairs Group, and is responsible for Intel's continued focus on corporate social responsibility. He leads the company's global education and citizenship programs as well as its community and corporate contribution activities and the Intel Foundation. Will, thank you for joining us today.
William Swope: Thank you.
Henrietta Holsman Fore: Our next panelist is Monica Macovei who served as Minister of Justice for Romania from 2005 to 2007. Minister Macovei is widely credited with putting into place justice reforms that have helped pave Romania's entry into the European Union. As an expert advisor, she trains representatives of EU candidate countries on anticorruption and reform of judiciary. Thank you, Monica, for traveling so far.
Our next panelist is Nancy Boswell, member of the International Board of Directors of Transparency International, and President and CEO of its United States chapter, Transparency International, USA. It is a global coalition of local organizations in over 100 countries. They raise awareness on how anticorruption undermines development effectiveness and ethical business practices. They work to promote systemic reform, encouraging governments to be more transparent and accountable, and private sector to adhere to high integrity standards. Nancy, welcome.
And our fifth panelist is Petko Giorgev, President of the Broadcast Training Center and Production Studio in Sofia, Bulgaria. The Broadcast Training Center is home to one of the premier investigative reporting shows in Bulgaria, showcasing local and regional corruption throughout the country. In his over 20 years in professional journalism, media training, radio, and television production, non-governmental organization management, and public relations, he has found what works in Bulgaria. Welcome, Petko.
Well, good morning, and let me open with a few remarks, and then we will turn questions to our panelists. I am delighted to be able to moderate this panel on the importance of good governance to sustainable development. Stable democratic institutions that are responsible for the needs of their people, along with sound economic policies and rule of law, are the basis for sustained economic growth and poverty reduction. Under the leadership of President Bush, the United States has begun to approach international development from that new perspective. What Secretary Rice has talked about this morning bears repeating: our foreign assistance must stay strong and steady, and as President Sirleaf mentioned this morning, our assistance must enable local, homegrown solutions to development problems.
We have witnessed a dramatic rise in another type of country-owned aspiration, the homegrown desire for democracy and the increased demand for meaningful political participation. We have watched multicolored revolutions unfold from the Ukraine and Georgia to Lebanon and Kyrgyzstan. The homegrown desire for democracy and the increased demand for meaningful participation means that we have watched as formerly war-torn countries like Liberia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, and East Timor now have freely elected governments.
Poor governance has been identified as one of the root causes to chronic underdevelopment. In fact, low income democracies and democratizing countries have outperformed their autocratic counterparts in life expectancy, in literacy and clean water, in agricultural productivity, and in infant mortality. Good governance is participatory. It is accountable and responsive. It is effective and efficient. It is equitable and inclusive. It assures that corruption is minimized, that the voices of the most vulnerable in society are heard, that rule of law is enforced by an independent judiciary and an honest police force.
So how do we get there? We must work with our partner countries to build those strong institutions and practices of democracy and good governance. USAID has programs that do just that. Our efforts are paying off. Our anti-corruption program in the Philippines contributed to a sharp reduction in the bribery of tax officials and a steady increase in tax collections. Corruption convictions against high-ranking officials more than doubled, and our successes are also having a real impact at the grassroots level.
In Sierra Leone, the illegal diamond mining was one of the main sources financing its devastating war. With a return of peace, a USAID program has worked with the government, local communities, civil society and the diamond industry officials and miners to train them in monitoring techniques, in advocacy and cooperative management.
Since the legal diamond exports increased from scarcely $1 million in 1999 to more than $70 in 2003, and for the first time, local communities are actually seeing some of the proceeds of the sales of those diamonds. USAID has pioneered the use of similar public/private partnerships to promote good governance through our global development alliances. We mobilize the ideas and resources of governments, businesses, civil society, by forging public/private alliances to stimulate economic growth, to strengthen the capacity of local governments to govern effectively and democratically.
U.S. funding for the promotion of good governance is seeing results, and recent academic research found that USAID's assistance has a positive and significant impact on democratic development. The study concluded that in any given year, $10 million of USAID democracy and governance funding produces about a five-fold increase above what a country would achieve in democratic change without such assistance.
So our challenge is how to sustain U.S. government commitment and resource to strengthen democratic governance around the world. In today's uncertain financial times, that challenge takes on an increasing importance. Countries will experience slower growth and capital flight to the safest markets. So what can a developing country do? This panel will provide some field-test best practices, a focus on political stability, on sound business and social policies, and combating of corruption. Moving forward will require passing lessons learned and best practices onto the next administration and building on them. Our guests today have solid examples of such lessons. Each of them exemplifies the range of efforts that are required to succeed in this battle. Committed leadership, government reform, private sector engagement, and vigilant oversight by civil society and the media. So let us begin the panel.
May I begin with Congressman Payne, and may I begin with a quick question, which is that in Africa, we have seen that many elections have passed and in this next year we see more than 19 elections coming up. What advice would you have for these new leaders? What is the importance of these elections?
Congressman Donald Payne: Well, thank you very much, and let me commend the White House, and Secretary of State, President Bush, and yourself, for hosting this very important meeting. I think that elections are extremely important in Africa. As we know, there were only about three elected presidents in Africa starting in the ‘60s, and we have now seen more than 25 duly elected presidents. We will see a continuation of elections coming up as you've indicated, and I think the importance is that democracy is more than just the election. What we must do is to continue to work to strengthen the institutions in the countries. However, I must commend the leadership in Africa, because there has been a tremendous goals on the continent throughout--and with disputes being negotiated, recently in Kenya, we've seen transitional governments take place, and in the DRC where there was a contest of a run-off election, the loser went to court and abided by the decision of the court that President Kabila was the winner.
And so I see the strengthening of institutions within the countries, strengthening of regional organizations like ECOWAS like SADEC. This is the way that Africa will continue, I believe, to lead the way in democracy.
Henrietta Holsman Fore: Thank you very much, Congressman Payne. Will, may I turn to you? Intel has been well known for its corporate social responsibility, but corporations have been thinking about corporate social responsibility and good governance in new ways, and there has been a strong sense on your part of some good practices, some best practices, that you've seen around the world. So why does it matter if a government has services to look after its citizens?
William Swope: Well, we are a U.S.-based company, but 70 percent of our business is overseas, and to meet that market we've had to invest overseas, and a good example of that would be Vietnam. When we worked with the Saigon high-tech park and said we're going to come in and build an assembly plant here; it's a better part of a billion-dollar investment for us, and how are we going to conduct business as we do it? How are we going to deal with requests for bribes? How are we going to deal with the kind of business practices that we're not comfortable with, and we didn't want to condone, and we don't think other companies that wanted to invest there would either.
So we worked with them to write a code of conduct, which really helped them and helped us, so we could kind of establish the ground rules that we were going to use, and then along with that, then they've used that same code of conduct in other areas in the country, as well as encouraging other businesses to come into the high-tech park. That to me is not a bad example, and if you want to just stretch it a little bit more in terms of governance, we're working with Vietnam as well in terms of communications to a lot of the northern regions and the small villages, where they just don't have the ability to even build commerce up there.
We've got technologies that we use to do that, but fundamentally, we can provide technology, we can provide a way to do it. We can open up regions of the country for them in a way that can create some sustainability and create some businesses. The other end of that spectrum would be we team up with USAID in Indonesia, where we're training teachers together. As their education system decentralized, they lost some of the force that they had before, and that's a place where we can go in, we can help the teachers, we can help the education system. That stabilizes that environment for us. It's self-serving in a way; it provides a little better market for us, but more than that, stability in that region is very important to us with our large investments in Malaysia and the Philippines.
Henrietta Holsman Fore: Thank you, Will. Minister Macovei, you have been a tireless reformer and advocate, and you have been through some very interesting experiences in Romania's accession into the EU. Do you have some best practices or examples that you would like to share?
Monica Macovei: Yes, indeed I have, thank you very much. Before going into the concrete best practices I'd like to say in a few second, background during my position in the government. It was two years before Romania was due to enter the European Union and that was very important because there was a pressure from Brussels at least, and from foreign governments, to fulfill the anti-corruption and other reforming measures. Then it's important to mention that at that time and still, we talk about the high level political corruption, and that's important because I will show you the successes and the challenges and the obstacles to fight political corruption when politicians make the law, and have all the powers in their hands.
And also it was important and that would be maybe the--probably the best example of good practice at Lisithortia, Romania. For awhile I was an independent minister. I wasn't a member of a political party, not that it's bad to be a member of a political party, but it was important in that period in Romania, when again I had to reform to come with anti-corruption measures against political corruption. So I didn't have to listen to any party order, I didn't have to listen to anyone. I was basically a technocrat doing what I thought was good.
Now the successful measures to fight corruption there, I would say classical--they need good implementation, and these are probably the (inaudible) of assets--very detailed, very detailed, and public. And I insist on public, because I don't know if you know, but in Europe they are not public in all the countries. For instance, I just mentioned now Germany or France and other countries, they are confidential, the declaration of assets on the members of parliament, for instance. So we, as I said, made a very detailed, public, and also statements on conflict of interest, on incompatibilities, because these are the grounds for corruption.
Also, a very good measure which--and an example which was try to be followed in other countries in transition--was the establishment of an anti-corruption investigative unit, to look only after medium- and high-level corruption and fraud with a very good--with powers with a good surveillance equipment and (inaudible), and independent judicial police officers and prosecutors. Now this unit, it's still the nightmare of the corrupt politicians. It's still there, and any time it was--and it is under political attack since the last two years, and it was supported by the international community, and that's one of the lessons learned, the importance of the international community.
Now this investigative unit, indicted in two years and a half, 15 current and former members of parliament and of the government. Now, I think this is a big figure, in two years and a half, 15. And we don't have final convictions--that's another story, I will not go into it--in the courts, but yeah, judges are avoiding to go into the merits of these cases. But the first step was made, and this was a break in politicians were indicted. They were sent--they were investigated and sent to trial.
And after the EU accession--after Romania's accession into the EU, and that's a lesson learned, what we saw was a continuous fight against this investigative unit. The politicians tried to dismantle it to five (inaudible) prosecutors, and that's, as I said, one challenge and one lesson learned: politicians fight back. So everyone who wants seriously to start fighting political corruption must know, and must predict, and must be prepared that there will be a fight back from the political class, which again has all the powers in their hands. So they are investigated. They changed the procedural laws, so they find some ways not to be investigated.
Very quickly, so international community pressure, it's really very important, and I would say two more recommendations for--and as lesson learned, for the international assistance in terms of funds also, it's very important to link the assistance with a concrete results, and to monitor strictly the development. And also, that was also my advice to the European commissioner (inaudible) after the accession: do not rely on promises. Go for the accomplishments. Go for the fulfillments. Stop here, thank you.
Henrietta Holsman Fore: Very good, thank you, Minister Macovei. Nancy, may I turn to you? Transparency International has a great number of projects on the ground. So from your sense, on the ground, what works?
Nancy Zucker Boswell: Thank you, Administrator, for--let me first start by saying what an honor it is to serve on this pane with my colleagues, and particularly to have you hosting the panel. It gives me an opportunity to recognize USAID for its early recognition that corruption is a key impediment to effective and sustainable development. It also enables me to thank USAID for taking a risk with a small band of idealists back in 1993 who were crazy enough to think that you could actually do something about corruption. USAID provided support to TI when most donors refused to recognize the need to address corruption, and few would support an NGO with no track record and a quixotic mission.
I think, to President Sirleaf's mention of the importance of civil society to country ownership, I think the main lesson we would draw from our experience is the importance of strong, vibrant civil society and external support for their work in trying to deal with corruption. TI is probably best known for its index that is widely used by governments and by private sector in assessing risk and trying to figure out how to move forward. But I think more importantly our work at the domestic level, as you've asked about, the grassroots level, is really what's making a difference. We do have chapters in over 100 countries, as you mentioned, and of course, every country is different. So while there are some common ground rules for how we operate, each chapter does have autonomy to figure out the way it wants to go forward.
The common ground rules are that we work on systems, we don't work on cases, and I think to the Minister's point, issues like building strong institutions, conflict of interest standards, disclosure of assets--those are the kinds of systemic changes that will affect change in countries. We also keep out of politics, we're non-partisan in our membership, and we also seek to bring together government, private sector, the non-profit community, and others to be part of the solution.
The first tool I would mention is our national integrity studies, which are national assessments of the various pieces that you mentioned in your opening remarks. How does the judicial system work? Are there opportunities for reporting violations? Are criminal measures enforced? It looks at a variety of sectors and then provides a blueprint, if you will, for where that particular country needs to go, moving forward.
Another tool we've pioneered is called an advocacy and legal advice center. This is designed to provide victims of corruption, whether they be pensioners or entrepreneurs, to come in and receive advice on what their rights are--what should be expected. They provide hotlines and support for recourse. In addition to helping individuals with complaints, these centers aggregate complaints in order to understand where the particular vulnerabilities are, and to use them as a basis for advocacy campaigns.
So for example in Albania, we have a center staffed by six lawyers, which receive about 40 calls a day last year, and with a high number of complaints against the judiciary, which my colleague here has pointed out is a common problem, it is now advocating a judicial reform campaign. It's also undertaking an access to information campaign, because it found that over half its requests for information were refused by the administration.
Another area that we're focusing on is public contracting. The figures that go into public purchasing are simply enormous. The importance of the projects funded by public funds are incredibly important, and yet this is one of the most vulnerable areas to corruption. So TI has pioneered a project-by-project approach to try to create what we call an island of integrity, and we use an instrument called an integrity pact. From Mexico to India, these integrity pacts have helped secure commitments from the government not to request or to accept bribes, commitments from contractors not to offer to pay them, and independent third-party monitoring, to ensure that these commitments are kept throughout the project, and there are severe sanctions for failure.
When we first came up with this idea over a decade ago, many refused to even think about them. Today in Mexico there are more than 50 such pacts that have been applied to public purchasing worth over $30 billion, and the central vigilance commission of the government of India has recently issued an order that these be used on all major procurements, so quite a change from where we started.
If I could briefly just mention on the international plane that what the U.S. government has been promoting on the international plane is terribly important for these domestic reforms. Just briefly, the U.N. convention that has recently been concluded and ratified by over 100 countries provides for some of the measures that the minister has mentioned. It calls for conflict of interest standards, disclosure of assets, and other reforms that will really change the way domestic civil society can try to bring about change. It provides an external pressure and framework in which they can work.
Just to note the Millennium Challenge Corporation that many others have referred to today, we would add our strong support for this new approach to development, two particular aspects. One, the focus on anti-corruption. The hard hurdle has sent a very clear message of the link between development effectiveness and fighting corruption. And the second and final piece is the attention to civil society consultation. I go back to what the President of Liberia said about the importance of country ownership. Too often, donors and others have focused simply at the executive branch, and the importance MCC places on consulting with your own citizens sets a terrific model for future reform in countries. So thank you.
Henrietta Holsman Fore: Thank you, Nancy. Mr. Giorgev Petko, you have been using the tools of broadcast and media in Bulgaria. Would you like to share some of the lessons you're learning?
Petko Georgiev: Thank you. It's really an honor and a privilege to be here. Since my background is really in media and communications, I would like to start with by quoting George Bernard Shaw, what he said about communication. He said that the greatest problem in communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished, and I think the same thing applies to development. It's always an illusion to think that it has been accomplished, and I'll give the example of Bulgaria. On the one hand, we are a country with a flat ten percent corporate tax, a flat ten percent income tax, and still we have an eight percent budget surplus.
On the other hand, we are a country which is really plagued by corruption and organized crime, and it's still a battleground for many interests of different interested parties. Bulgaria has been transformed over the last ten, 15 years. It used to be the closest Soviet ally, and it's now a full member of NATO and the European Union, and a very reliable, I would say, ally in foreign relations.
How? Well, that was through political and economic reform, which was born from the authentic desire of the Bulgarian people and government, consecutive governments, to rejoin the community of democratic nations. But also, very importantly, that was an effort which was supported by the international community and in a very important way, by USAID and the American government.
Bulgaria was happy and lucky to have avoided any major conflict or civil war and ethnic unrest, through which many of our neighbors had to go through in the Balkans, which resulted maybe paradoxically in one of the lowest eight budgets that Bulgaria was receiving. But maybe that's one of the stories which is interesting in focusing on, because that low budget has been really producing a very good impact, because it has been focused on developing good governance, developing those tools of political reform that help implement and help reinforce the whole reform agenda.
And this is where good governance in media really come in, because the whole investment of development in Bulgaria has gone into social and political infrastructure--building civil society, reforming and reinforcing the rule of law, and here of course, the role of media has been very important, and I want to thank USAID and IREX, our American partners, for the work that we've done together in Bulgaria.
Media development is not just the development of one sector. The development of the media has a huge impact on all the other reforms in all other areas--economic development, social development--because it helps monitor, it helps make transparent the efforts which are being made by the governments to reform a country. And very importantly, it helps create and sustain public support for continued reforms, and this is one thing which I think the media support program in Bulgaria has been practically focusing on over the last years. But that's of course, as I started by saying, that's never an accomplished process, and if I could end with a very short message, I think it's very important for USAID to continue finding mechanisms, as the one that is being implemented right now, through the America Through Bulgaria Foundation, to continue staying involved with countries which are going through reform, or have undergone a reform process as Bulgaria has. Because I believe that the price of involvement is always much lower than the price you have to pay when involvement has been discontinued. Thank you.
Henrietta Holsman Fore: Thank you, Petko. This theme runs through all of your talks, which is the importance of sustaining our relationships, sustaining our partnerships. We have a few questions that have come in from the audience, so let me turn to the first one. Good governance takes political will. How can donors foster political will, or can they even do anything about it? Congressman Payne, would you like to begin?
Congressman Donald Payne: Well, there's no question about it. I believe that things that are happening that are positive now is that, for example, with the Millennium Challenge program, there are certain criteria that countries must reach, certain watershed marks, and I think that donors can certainly have an impact by having standards that they work together with the local country in developing, having goals that are attainable and achievable, and goals that are measurable, and I think that the influence of donors in a negotiation, rather than the old way of dictating what it should be, I think goes a long way.
We've seen negotiations work, particularly in Africa. We saw a crisis in Kenya where former Secretary General Kofi Annan went and led the negotiations between the Odinga party of Prime Minister Odinga and President Kibaki. We have seen even in Zimbabwe, although we're not pleased with the behavior of President Mugabe, the fact that South Africa came in with certain demands of SADEC on Zimbabwe, once again sort of like a donor organization suggesting to the government of Zimbabwe that changes must come. So I do believe that the donor community can in a--like I said before--in a negotiation rather than a dictatorial way, have strong influence on outcomes.
Henrietta Holsman Fore: Very good. Yes, Monica, and then Nancy.
Monica Macovei: Thank you. I will answer to this from--after this experience--I think the advice and the answer is to sustain those few politicians--there are a few politicians in each of these countries in transition, post-communist countries, where we have this high level political corruption. So there are few politicians who are serious about fighting corruptions. Most are just talking about it and (inaudible) doing the opposite. So sustain those, and also keep the support, because I heard many voices from the donors saying like after Romania, Bulgaria joined the European Union, that's it, it's fine, it's a great democracy, everything is working well. So they--we draw from these countries.
So again, if there are international donors--and there is international community, definitely, and USAID is one of them--who wants to support this fight against corruption, which is the fight for democracy, because if there is corruption there is no democracy, then that's my advice. Sustain those few who are serious about that.
I'd like to make a very short comment, because I keep saying “high political corruption.” I'd like to underline the difference between corruption in West and let's say in the post-communist countries. In the West and here, it's happening. From time to time, an individual violates the integrity rules, and then the justice mechanism is on, and the person is punished and so on. After this experience in the government, and in other countries in the region in the Balkans, is that in the post-communist countries, the corruption is not happening. It is inherent to the political decision. It takes the form of those laws with destination, which is a definition of the World Bank for political corruption. And I would just--so people must be aware of what they fight with, and I'll just give you an example of such a law, to be more clear. In 2006 in Romania we adopted a very nice law on bankruptcy. The state is an arbiter, doesn't interfere. After EU accession, and that also shows the political will, the government adopted--against my advice, but it was adopted--a law saying that the law on bankruptcy is suspended for these eight companies. Now, I don't think you can understand that this is a rule of law place, where a law if suspended for eight--for me and my other eight friends. So that is an example with (inaudible) destination, which does not serve the public interest, but the interest of very few. Thank you.
Henrietta Holsman Fore: Thank you. Nancy.
Nancy Zucker Boswell: I think it's an excellent question, because as the Minister amply illustrates, political will is key, and I don't think we're yet at the point, despite all the good efforts of USAID and others in the administration, we don't have the level of political will we need around the world to keep this movement going forward. I would add to what the minister said that support for those in the civil society who are champions at reform is also important, not just the politicians who are champions of reform. And when I say civil society, I'm talking broadly about professionals--lawyers, accountants, think tanks, private sector, and the NGO community. They can make a profound difference in moving an agenda forward, and that hasn't always been the focus of development assistance. The multilateral banks don't quite know yet how to work with civil society, so there's a lot of work to be done.
And I think there are three ways to focus attention. One is to make sure that citizens get access to information. Without that information, they can't hold their governments accountable. Two, to have an opportunity to participate in decision-making. In many countries, there is no such thing as a federal register or open hearings and so forth. And finally, what we're finding is with increasing pushback against civil society, even protecting them--protecting them from harassment, from lawsuits, from physical threats--is becoming much more of an issue. As the Minister said, there is a real pushback. We are beginning to hit the rice bowl, and as that happens, people are not happy and they are beginning to hit back against civil society. So protecting them presents a particular challenge for the development community.
Henrietta Holsman Fore: All right. Well, for this question, it was a clear and resounding “we can do something to help with political will as donors, and it's important that we play this role.” All right, the second question from our audience is how does decentralization of central government services contribute to good governance? What is the role local government can play in fostering good governance? I see the panel thinking. Will?
William Swope: Well, I think the definition of good government is local government. The closer you are to the individual that you're trying to serve, the higher the probability that you're going to get to the right answer. So I was just trying to go through that in terms of the way we operate or things that would be applicable to this panel. For us, we think so much about--at least in our corporate social responsibility side--about communication. How do people get access to each other to begin with, and then access to computers? And the computer is not the tool--the computer is the tool, it's not the end-all here. So if someone has to walk eight hours to get to their local country seat to try to get any kind of help, versus if they can get on some sort of an IP-based phone, and they can be talking to them or seeing them directly, that makes a big difference in what local means. I think local means something that you can get out without having to walk eight kilometers. I think that's a safe assumption.
So for us, we enable a lot of that. I'm not so sure how much we think about it in terms of creating governance as much as we think about it as actually trying to help the human condition.
Henrietta Holsman Fore: Good, anyone else want to add in? Nancy?
Nancy Zucker Boswell: I'd just like to add a brief comment. I think the premise is exactly as Will has stated, in that the closer you get to the people, the more likely accountability will occur. But our chairman has just come back from traveling globally, meeting with a lot of chapters on the local basis, and she's come back with a deep concern about devolution of authority to the local level when the institutions aren't there, when the resources aren't there, to ensure that there is transparency and accountability. So just a bit of a warning that there is no silver bullet here.
Henrietta Holsman Fore: Congressman Payne?
Congressman Donald Payne: Well, we have certainly seen in Africa a tremendous interest in elections and the overall turnouts have been astonishing. Therefore, there has been a translating of the importance into the local communities. Recent elections in Liberia, as we've seen, and of course the South Africa--we have seen the--only three presidents left on their own accord in Africa from 1960 to 1990. Since then, over 40 have left on their own accord. We have seen from four democratically elected presidents in Africa at that time to over 23 good, strong democracies. Now that can't be done from the top-up. There has been a way of communicating.
And another thing, although education has been limited in many rural areas, it's astonishing how accurate individuals are in their candidates, whether it's symbols or colors, people are able to accurately vote for the candidates that they want to, and it's amazing how strongly--as a matter of fact, to the degree that even in Kenya, where elections were shown to be the way to go, the fact that it was felt that the election was not fair and free was what really triggered a violent reaction because of the positiveness of elections. KANU party, for the first time since independence, the party of Jomo Kenyatta was defeated three or four--a term or so ago. And so people had a tremendous amount of confidence in the electoral process, and therefore, as I've indicated, we've seen reactions when they felt that the--even in Ethiopia, in other countries, where it was felt that the election was stolen and taken away from them, although I have to compliment the Nigerian population, where there was an election that we feel was not as transparent and perhaps very flawed, but the Nigerian community decided to go to court rather than in the past military forces would come in and take over the government. So there is a lot of positive, and it has filtered down into the local villages.
Henrietta Holsman Fore: Petko.
Petko Georgiev: If I could connect the answer to this question with what we were talking just a few minutes ago about corruption, of course the general priority is that the closer the government is to the people, the better and the more transparent it is, but it also goes the other way around. The smaller the government is, the smaller the base of the people who elect the government is, the easier it is for organized crime and corruption to penetrate that government. So devolution of government should go hand-in-hand with fighting political corruption. This is one process which unfortunately Bulgaria hasn't managed to stay away from. We have city councils which are controlled by local political parties, closely related to organized crime, and we have big cities where the national parties are not even represented in city councils, because those local groups have managed to buy the votes--literally, sometimes--to buy the votes in city council. So it's very important to devolute, I think, power, but also reinforce rule of law and fight political corruption.
Henrietta Holsman Fore: Very good, thank you. All right, third question from our audience is please explain why free elections don't guarantee good governance. Congressman Payne.
Congressman Donald Payne: Well I--yeah. You know, there were great elections--actually in Kenya the election was great. It's just that the counting wasn't. We have seen that in Mauritania, for the first time since independence from France, that there was an excellent election. However, 17 months after the election of the new president, a military coup took over, and so we have to, as I mentioned before, really work for strong institutions. The election in itself is not the panacea, is not the answer. We have to continue to work at grassroots levels, we have to continue to strengthen institutions, we have to continue to work with grassroots group. As a matter of fact, there's a group that's not widely known called EGAD, an intergovernmental agency in East Africa that really, for the first time in 30 or 40 years, helped set up a government in Somalia, the transitional federal government. It was the fact that this local organization of East African leaders were able to go into an area where there was practically no government. And so I think it's certainly important that, as I've indicated, we have to continually urge the strengthening of the local organizations.
Henrietta Holsman Fore: Thank you, Congressman Payne. And yes, Monica, you've been advising us that the work begins when the election is over. So Monica, thoughts?
Monica Macovei: Yes, thank you. First, I would like to see that free elections are a guarantee, and it is very important to have them periodically. However, it's not the full guarantee for the success, as it was implied by the question. First of all, and I again refer to these countries in transition to democracy, to everything. Accountability of politicians is not really understood by the people. We had elections in (inaudible), local elections in Romania, and we had (inaudible) schoolwork where candidates run for townships, and they won, although they were indicted for corruption, and their cases were before the court. And people were saying, okay, maybe they still are corrupt, but they also did something for the city. If--okay, this is the--I can't comment on that. That's a fact. That's how some people think. And also, because there are segments of poor population, in reality, the votes are bought with food, with even small amounts of money, and therefore, in a way, we don't, in these cases, I can't say it's free election. Yes it's free, but it's arranged (inaudible). So these are just the first thoughts. These are some reasons why it's not the full guarantee, and also in Romania we had until now party list. People would not vote for A, B, C person, so the accountability was really very, very small, and there was no direct relationship between the voters and the person sent to the parliament. You would vote a party list, and the people on the list would go to the parliament. Now we changed half of the system, and we'll see at the next elections how it work. So again, this party list was not a guarantee of the best being successful, and again, of accountability.
Henrietta Holsman Fore: Good, thank you. Petko, did you want to add anything?
Petko Georgiev: Yes, if I could add something. Of course free elections are just a tool, and what's important is what happens after the elections and how those election promises are being fulfilled, and I think here donors like USAID have not only a role to play, but in the case of USAID they have really a history of successful access to--approach towards these problems. USAID, unlike the European Union, and I can compare from the perspective of a country which is already a member of the EU, it's always supported more indigenous, local non-government and civil groups, and the media, the independent media, and not that much national and local governments. Providing this vital balance between the government and the monitoring the controlling functions of civil society and independent media on the democratic process. This is something which other donors don't do, so if I could put it in just one sentence, continue supporting the efforts of NGOs and independent media. They are very important, especially on the day after the elections.
Henrietta Holsman Fore: Thank you. Yes, Monica?
Monica Macovei: I'm sorry. Just before being in a government, I was in the civil society, and I'm in a way back. In terms of supporting, there was a very successful action by the NGOs, a coalition of NGOs, called the Coalition for a Green Parliament, which was then exported in other countries. Leaflets were done with candidates from all the parties, and information provided to the public based on let's say ten integrity criteria, so on integrity. Because people need to be informed prior to the elections. They don't remember what they read two, three years ago, and some of them don't even follow the media. So that was really very important, to go directly to the people and inform on integrity criteria, and to try to have that free vote.
Henrietta Holsman Fore: Thank you. All right, let me turn to the question that all of us are working with in the world of development, which is that of integration. You can see the panels today have been focusing on new models--country ownership, and how health and education link in with economic growth, and how good governance leads to good accountability and measurements. But as you look forward to the future, we have a change of administration coming up. So Congressman Payne, may I begin with you? Your thoughts about how we should carry on, how we should build on what has been achieved so far in the area of good governance, and what advice do you have for those who are working in future years? And then I will ask each of the panelists for their final thoughts. Thank you. Congressman Payne.
Congressman Donald Payne: Well thank you very much. I think that in the last 15 years or so, Africa has really been put on the international screen, and we have seen tremendous programs and attention. We have seen AGOA programs, we have seen AGOA II and III. We have seen the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act. We have seen the HIPC initiatives where we have been eliminating debt. We have seen under this administration programs like the MCA, which has been an extreme leader Millennium Challenge Corporation and accounts that have been very successful in countries that have been able to qualify.
Of course, there's been tremendous achievements made with the PEPFAR program, with our $48 billion, five-year reauthorization, which will focus on malaria and tuberculosis, in addition to HIV and AIDS, will deal with nutrition and clean water, and developing health systems in the countries that are PEPFAR eligible. And so I think that there have been great strides made in the past decade or so, as it relates to Africa.
We certainly must continue, though; the world economics are sort of in turmoil. I could see there would be a temptation to say, well, we need to perhaps be more isolationist. We have to deal with our own internal problems, we have to sort out our own economic situation here in USA, and that's true. However, I think that what has started is irreversible. I don't see us going back to a point where our international and foreign assistance program should be curtailed. We'll have to, of course, make sure that they're more efficient, that we do eliminate any waste and fraud, which has been eliminated in a lot of instances, have more bang for the buck, but there's no way that we can change and reverse what's going on. I think whatever party wins the next election, that we must continue to move forward, to make this global village, the world, a better place and the quality of life for all people improved.
Henrietta Holsman Fore: Thank you, Congressman Payne, an eloquent statement that I think we all believe in very deeply in development. Thank you. Will, your thoughts?
William Swope: Two very disparate ideas that I'd like to pull together, one of which is the time frame. If we're trying to solve something in the short term, you take one set of actions. If you're thinking through the systemic change, it's got to be, in our opinion, based on a population that doesn't want to tolerate behavior and actions and corruption, and for that it requires an education, it requires knowledge of what's going on, and confidence that the data that they're receiving are accurate. And that, if you will, would be kind of the reason we do the things that we do, but we think that's fundamental towards this in the longer term.
Henrietta Holsman Fore: Thank you. Monica.
Monica Macovei: Very shortly, Keep the anti-corruption on the agenda, build upon what it has been done, with a clear strategy which would involve the risk and what it--the obstacles and the challenges to come.
Henrietta Holsman Fore: Thank you. Nancy.
Nancy Zucker Boswell: Just a couple of points. First, continue bipartisan U.S. leadership. U.S. leadership has been really critical to moving this agenda forward, and will continue to be so, but we have to recognize that we can only be effective if we model good conduct at home, and I think issues like contracting judicial elections, local corruption, and others can either contribute to our credibility, or undermine it as we operate abroad.
Second, accountability, which has been mentioned. The Secretary of State mentioned it in her opening remarks. We very much appreciate the work of the National Security Council in securing a report back from the G8. It was absolutely the first time, a groundbreaking change, to report back on how commitments have been fulfilled, and that's a model that should be replicated across the board for other really good commitments that the U.S. has helped secure. We need reports back on whether those are actually moving forward.
And finally, I know it's politically incorrect, but taking this issue to scale. If we are to carry out what you've suggested, and keep corruption and really address it, we have to ramp up attention to it. That means more resources, and when we are in the crisis we're in, and resources are as tight as they are, that means making sure that every dollar counts. That means recognizing that corruption threatens every development program we have, whether it's HIV/AIDS, climate change, education, and so forth, and so corruption is not a sidebar. It's not a siloed issue. It has to be part and parcel of all our programs.
So with those three suggestions, let me just take an opportunity to say thank you for all that you've done.
Henrietta Holsman Fore: Thank you, Nancy. Well, we have doubled funding in governance, but much more needs to be done. And Petko, the final word to the media.
Petko Georgiev: Stay involved, it matters. Your support makes a difference. I come from a part of the world where we used to be recipients, beneficiaries of aid, and I think we should be able to find a way now to be partners in global development.
Henrietta Holsman Fore: Very good. Well, thank you very much, panelists. Thank you for your leadership and your continued commitment to not only good governance, but also development around the world. Thank you very much. Thank you, audience.
Announcer: Ladies and Gentlemen, this concludes our morning plenary sessions.