Corruption in environment protection

The project consisted of the cooperation of various ecological and environment protection NGOs aiming at researching and revealing of areas, which are most prone for corruptive activities within the environment protection area. The project membership was widely open and was not aimed at particular organizations. The leading organization, ‘Towarszystwo na rzecz Ziemi’ (Association for the Earth) sent out an invitation to both NGOs and governmental agencies informing them of the project. In result 7 partners contributes to the program (in total 8 organizations), most being NGOs and one a state agency, the Polish Chamber of Commerce.
The project gathered data about the aforementioned phenomena by application of different methods:
– monitoring of daily press and internet news portals to sift information about corruption in environmental
– 6 personal in depth interviews (companies from different sectors and various locations in Poland, although three located in Wrocław)
– ordering a public opinion poll on corruption in the environment protection area
– 302 phone interviews with companies around Poland
– Analysis of reports and accessible literature
Within the framework of the project different legal analyses were ordered related to environment protection issues.

Act on Free Access to Information

A law on free access to information that is a powerful tool for corruption control and watchdog activities has been absent in the Czech legal framework for quite a long time; this project contributed to the successful culmination of the efforts to bring it into life. The seminar was widely inclusive, convening the representatives of the civil society, deputies, journalists and civil servants. The printed outcome of the seminar was distributed to the members of Chamber of Deputies before the vote. The advocacy part and media campaign implemented by TIC targeted three main groups – deputies and senators, journalist and young people. The message was simple – allow for free access to information. Tools like free postcards with a motto “Get informed by your deputy or senator when they allow you to access the information” were used. TIC issued around 10.000 postcards and sent them to all legislators and important journalists; the postcards were also distributed freely by a chain of cinemas, cafes and restaurants. The main message of the campaign was modified and extended for each of the target groups (via press releases, letters or info brochures). The campaign managed to get the deputies and senators under pressure and made some of them to make a public commitment to support the law (43 out of the 200 deputies made the public commitment they would vote for the law). An individual approach to each and every deputy and senator proved efficient; it allowed for expression of their personal opinions and for media coverage. There was also an important role of journalist who were not only transmitting the message but took active part in the campaign. TIC supplied media actively with additional info on how the law works in different European countries or delivered the statements of the involved Czech deputies. The law was adopted in spring 1999 and went into effect as of January 2000.

The Majoritarian Project: Informed Citizens and Accountable Government

TI Georgia’s project “Informed Citizens and Accountable Government”” strove to foster communication between majoritarian parliamentarians and their constituencies and promote public awareness of and input into the legislative process. To achieve these goals, TI Georgia, in cooperation with majoritarian MPs and their district office (bureau) representatives, conducted public meetings in three-month cycles in 57 districts in Georgia. At these meetings citizens received information about parliamentary developments over the last three months and its future plans. They also had the opportunity to inform their majoritarian MPs about their main concerns at the local level and share with him/her their opinions about Parliament’s work. As part of the project, TI Georgia also assessed majoritarian bureaus and administrative barriers to their work and conducted trainings for bureau staff to increase their competence.”

Positive motivation (Open Politics)

As part of the project, politicians were encouraged to publish their assets on a website (access with own password, accuracy of information cannot be verified but the public can check). Politicians could constantly update the information. The campaign targeted individual politicians, not parties, because voters can vote for individual candidates on the party lists (personalized vote).

Corruption in the Process of Issuing Building Permits

The project represents a policy analysis of the process of issuing building permits. Formal standards, laws, and rules which regulate the receipt of building permits are unclear, contradictory, and at times even impossible to fulfill. At the same time, hardly any conflicts between the issuer and the recipient of a building permit are taken to court. Official arguments and differences of opinion are a very rare occurrence, and the question is why. The study offers an explanation – practice is regulated not so much by official rules, standards and legislation as by habit and a variety of corrupt practices to resolve or avoid disputes. The study is based on data compiled from surveys, observations, analysis of documents, interviews with experts, and focus-group discussions. The study maps the construction approval process.

Limitation of corruption and conflict of interest in the area of state incentives for foreign investments

The project aimed at increasing transparency of relations between the public administration and the foreign corporate investors via conflict of interests monitoring.

The organization became an active player within different administrative processes related to corporate investments in different parts of the country. Strategies towards big corporate business were developed, monitoring of decisions on state incentives for foreign investors was in place.

An important achievement was the Declaration of Understanding concluded with Hunday Motor Manufacturing, company that was preparing a big investment in Moravia.

The coalition of NGOs advocated the declaration that was co-signed by the representatives of the regional authorities and the Czech Invest agency and Ministry of Trade and Industry. The issue got extensive media coverage.

 

Read more about the Environmental Law Service initiatives on anti-corruption here (English).

True accountability in National & European Parliament(s): Civil Society Accesses the MPs’ nominal votes on laws

The project aimed to:
– support the development of accountable MPs in the national and European Parliaments through systematic monitoring of the concrete activity in these bodies and through exposing this activity to the citizens of Romania;
– strengthen civil society capacity of monitoring and tracking MPs activity, by stimulating the creation of a civic platform in the region.

Arms Trade Control

The project focused on establishing regular contact and communication with relevant Czech parliamentarians and other relevant parties and on monitoring and analysing the existing legislation and documents. It also helped increase the information value of regular publication of detailed reports on arms and military material exports from the Czech Republic.

Public Awareness Raising

As part of the project the social and economic situation in Georgian regions was analyzed. Other activites within the project included publishing brochures, organizing workshop for statisticians, and conducting a survey on education. “Public guides” on every region prepared citizen’s guide to state budget were published in 1998 and 1999. Target groups: IC staff, elected council members.

Restricting Corruption in a Transition Society (Legal Aspects)

The goals of the projects were: to identify the most corruption-sensitive areas in Estonia; to find the most efficient legal means to restrict corruption; to offer solutions increasing the transparency of decision-making. The project identified and analysed legal aspects of restricting corruption. Other countries’ experience and its possible applications in Estonia were summarised in the course of the project.

Corruption – everyone loses

This initiative organized by Stowarzyszenie Instytut Nowych Technologii focused on raising social awareness about the corruption issues and simultaneously endeavored to diminish public acceptance of any form of corruption in the Łódzkie province. The organization applied means to both ridicule corruptive activities as well as spur a discussion about commonness of this phenomenon in Poland. The organizer intended to target different types of audience with this action and encourage reflecting on corruption. To achieve that, a light and fun-related form of the messages was chosen in order to appeal to the target groups.
During the action various measures were applied:
• Surveys of corruption perception in the Łódzkie province (some 750 respondents)
• Public debates devoted to anti-corruption issues, in which well known and popular celebrities (football players) as well as sociologic experts took part
• Workshops on ethical code of conduct for those groups, which were perceived in the survey as having the greatest exposure to corruption i.e. police, public officials, healthcare workers (high turnouts)
• Open space public happenings with an anti-corruption message (some 600 people)
• A family-oriented picnic with games and activities rising awareness of corruption issues (some 300 people)
• Final conference (with low participation rate)

Dirty hands disease

Choroba brudnych rąk (Dirty hands disease) was an anti-corruption campaign initiated in 2004 and targeted at Warsaw. It consisted of displaying billboards and citylight posters with anti-corruption slogans and the logo of the program.

Dissemination of the anti-corruption know-how among NGOs and citizens

Workshops for the activist and organisations interested in anti-corruption and watchdog know-how were organised; specific educational and networking activity aimed especially at voluntary activists. Dozens of activists took part in the seminars. The organisation is running a community web where the newcomers can register only when recommended by a members; the members of the web group are sharing local cases and know-how and provide advice to those who ask for them. A web forum – both with open and restricted access is planned as a follow up.

Civic law-making process monitoring

This was a continuation of a former two-year long project, i.e. ‘Law-making process monitoring’. The second edition ran for 10 months (02.2008-10.2008). Thanks to the EU funding from Transition Facility 2005 framework the project could gather a number of NGO and professional lobbyists as well as media representatives and allow them checking the functioning of the 2005 law on lobbying. The project focused on the parliamentary stage of the law-making since it is more transparent than the in-government stage and easier to participate and influence. Two dimensions which were highlighted by this project were:
• protecting the law-making process from illegal pressures that obscurely attempt changing a text of a bill project
• ensuring wide and transparent participation in the legislative process, especially amending bills that are being elaborated by civil society organizations

Coalition for Suppression of Information within the Democratic Framework

A coalition of three non-governmental organisations was created to meet the purpose of the project: TIC, Iuridicum remedium and Otevřená společnost, o.p.s. The project carefully monitored and analysed the legislative process, lobbyied the Government Legislative Council, the government ministers and selected MPs. A workshop was organised in the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Parliament, dedicated to suppression of information, legal analyses and information materials were published on the issue.