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Eduardo florestrejo icgfm_socialcontrolmechanisms_armenia.english
 

Eduardo florestrejo icgfm_socialcontrolmechanisms_armenia.english

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Social Control Mechanisms for Greater Transparency and Accountability

Social Control Mechanisms for Greater Transparency and Accountability

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  • 1) This presentation is linked to the thematic area of this conference which refers to “New techniques in bringing transparency to public finance“ 2) Initiative originated in Eastern European countries. Since October 2008 the first centers were established in Armenia with significant results. 2) I will outline the experience of Armenian civil society organizations effectively engaged, in collaboration with government agencies, in advocating for the adoption of preventive anticorruption reforms and in providing legal assistance to victims of corruption. 2) My remarks will serve as an introduction to Dr. Karapetyan’s presentation. We work together in the implementation of the Center’s work. As Deputy Chief of Party of a C&A program in Armenia, I supervise the implementation and provide technical support to the centers while Dr. Karapetyan is involved directly in its execution.
  • Is it the sole responsibility of the public sector, and if so which agencies? Or does it involve other actors, and which ones? Public Finance: Field of economics concerned with paying for collective or governmental activities, and with the administration and design of those activities. The field is often divided into questions of what the government or collective organizations should do or are doing, and questions of how to pay for those activities. Public Finance is that part of finance which hovers around the central question of allocation of resources subjected to the budget constraint of the government or public entities.
  • It is not a task limited to the public sector. It is in fact a joint responsibility. The effectiveness of a strategy to bring transparency and accountability to public finance in fact relies on at least six key pillars. Other relevant organizations: Anticorruption Commissions, Electoral Bodies, Political Parties, Ombudsman The weaker this structure, the less likely the actions designed to curb corruption will have any real impact. Armenia is a country where external observations suggest many institutional deficiencies in this structure. However, even if many of these areas are weak, citizen driven efforts may still assist in moving forward the adoption of relevant anticorruption reforms, as the experience of the Advocacy and Assistance Centers will show.
  • Free national hotlines. Operated by Armenian non-governmental organizations, the AACs are supported by grants from the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) under the financial and technical direction of Casals & Associates.
  • The first center was opened in October 2008. Today, a national network of 11 AACs provides services to citizens from all walks of life in the largest city of all ten marzes and in the nation’s capital, Yerevan.
  • AACs perform three key functions: • They Provide free legal assistance and support: Once a complaint is received, the AAC’s legal staff takes immediate action by contacting the concerned government agency directly, taking the case to court or referring it to the public prosecutor. (provide quick examples) • Conduct public education and awareness activities: This includes conducting roundtables, seminars, conferences and town hall meetings, airing Public Service Announcements on radio and television, posting messages on billboards, publishing informational materials, such as brochures and newsletters and hosting a website. • Advocate for the adoption of anticorruption reforms: Most importantly, the AACs use their caseload to identify areas most prone to corruption, draft preventive regulatory reforms and promote their adoption in coordination with government.
  • In less than a year of operations, more than 4,000 citizens have sought help from the AACs. They assist people who, for example, encounter corruption whe :   Seeking healthcare services; Processing official documents; Registering real estate property; Processing social benefits; or Cited by traffic police, Corrective actions: 127 Procedural changes implemented: 5 No convictions yet
  • Collaboration instead of confrontation .

Eduardo florestrejo icgfm_socialcontrolmechanisms_armenia.english Eduardo florestrejo icgfm_socialcontrolmechanisms_armenia.english Presentation Transcript

  • Social Control Mechanisms for Greater Transparency and Accountability Eduardo Flores-Trejo 24th Annual ICGFM International Conference Public Financial Management in the Era of "The New Normal“ (May 2010)
  • Objectives Present a citizen-driven initiative (Advocacy and Assistance Centers) 1 aimed at fostering transparency and accountability in partnership with the public sector. Outline its general results and impact to date in Armenia, specifically as related to 2 addressing procedural and system level inefficiencies leading to corruption.
  • Who is Responsible For Bringing Transparency to Public Finance? 1) Which public sector agencies? 2) Which role do other actors play in this process?
  • Advocacy and Assistance Centers (AACs) • Operated by Armenian NGOs, AACs serve as public complaint offices where victims of corruption receive free confidential legal assistance on a walk-in or call-in basis. • Each AAC is equipped with a team of experienced lawyers and support staff to address the public’s corruption-related concerns.
  • AACs Locations
  • AACs Key Functions • Free legal assistance and support • Public education and awareness • Anticorruption reforms
  • Results from the AACs Network  Citizens requesting legal support: 3,718  Corruption related cases: 863  Cases referred to Court: 133  Cases referred to prosecution: 87  Inefficiencies identified: 100
  • Transcending Impact • Beyond assisting individual victims of corruption, AACs are directly involved in addressing and correcting procedural or institutional inefficiencies leading to corruption.
  • Partnership with Government: Key Element of the AACs’ success • While maintaining their objectivity and independence, civil society organizations are successfully advancing policy reform objectives in collaboration with government authorities at all levels (central, regional and local) • Win-Win situation for all parties