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
Social Control Mechanisms for
Greater Transparency and
24th Annual ICGFM International Conference
Public Financial Management in the Era of "The New Normal“ (May 2010)
Present a citizen-driven initiative
(Advocacy and Assistance Centers)
1 aimed at fostering transparency and
accountability in partnership with the
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
1) Which public sector agencies?
2) Which role do other actors play in this
Advocacy and Assistance
• 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
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
• Beyond assisting individual victims of
corruption, AACs are directly involved in
addressing and correcting procedural or
institutional inefficiencies leading to
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