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Parliamentarians from Burkina Faso assess their own performance in preventing corruption
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A parliamentary self-assessment tool has been developed to help parliamentarians in Burkina Faso play a stronger role in the national implementation of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), and more generally in the design, implementation and monitoring of national anti-corruption strategies, laws and action plans in Burkina Faso. The UNDP Global Programme on Governance Assessments worked closely with the BURKINDI network (a coalition of MPs engaged in the fight against corruption) and UNDP Burkina Faso to organize a workshop on January 12-13, 2012 (workshop report) during which the parliamentary self-assessment tool on the prevention of corruption was piloted for the first time. The interest generated by this exercise in Burkina Faso is a hopeful sign of the relevance of the tool for the region.
The parliamentary self-assessment tool was developed in response to similar pleas expressed by other legislatures around the world, and communicated to UNDP through the UNCAC Working Group of the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC). Over 65 of the 111 Representatives from the National Assembly participated in the workshop. Also in attendance were representatives from the Court of Auditors; the National Commission for the Fight Against Corruption; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Finance; civil society organizations involved in the fight against corruption; independent experts, and media covering parliamentary issues or who having made requests for information from the National Assembly. The value of undertaking a parliamentary diagnostic in an open and participatory manner, in consultation with ‘like-minded actors’ with whom MPs seldom interact with, was also acknowledged by all.
The Burkinabe assessment was a pioneering initiative – indeed, the first pilot in Africa, and worldwide – in several respects:
First, the ownership of the assessment process rests firmly with parliamentarians: MPs themselves invited other actors to take part in the exercise, adapted the methodology to the local context, and collected data to substantiate their ratings. This is a marked departure from other international parliamentary assessments produced by external actors, geared towards the production of global rankings that achieve little impact on local reform processes.
Second, with regards to the scope of the assessment, this is the first assessment tool which focuses specifically on the role of parliamentarians in the fight against corruption, and more specifically on Chapter 2 of the UNCAC (on the Prevention of Corruption). MPs appreciated the value of the tool as a means to call attention to their important role in this regard, and more specifically, to the structural, political and operational impediments which prevent them from playing this role effectively.
Third, with regards to the methodology, this tool proposes an innovative approach – a ‘self-assessment with the peers’ – whereby the self-evaluation by MPs is discussed and validated by other actors (state & non-state) involved in the fight against corruption. Furthermore, a strong focus is placed on the gathering of robust evidence to substantiate the ratings (yes/no), based on detailed assessment criteria.
Fourth, with regards to the outcomes of this process, the Burkina exercise enabled the identification of key actions that must be taken to strengthen the effectiveness of parliament with regard to corruption prevention, and the identification of key areas where new coalitions of parliamentarians, oversight institutions and CSOs can create political demand for full compliance with the UNCAC. A key outcome of the workshop was the development of a ‘Parliamentary Barometer on Anti-Corruption’, to help track progress in delivering on parliamentary commitments to fight corruption.