The World Bank has played a lead role in putting Corruption at the top of the global development agenda as one of the most important obstacles to promote sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction. Since 1996, the World Bank has supported more than 600 anticorruption programs and governance initiatives developed by its member countries. Governance and corruption often are used as synonyms but they are quite different concepts.
Public Sector Governance refers to the way the state acquires and exercises the authority to provide and manage public goods and services.Corruption is an outcome. It is the consequence of the failure of any of a number of accountability relationships which characterize a national governance system –from failure of the citizen-politician relationship (which can lead to “state capture”) to a failure of bureaucratic and checks and balance institutions (which can lead to “administrative corruption”).
Transparency refers to the release of information by institutions, which is relevant to evaluating those institutions. The purpose for demanding transparency is to allow citizens and markets to hold institutions accountable for their policies and performance. Half a dozen countries have adopted Freedom of Information laws in the Latin America and the Caribbean region and nearly a dozen more are currently considering them. This provides a unique opportunity to strengthening accountability relationships in the region.
What is the Bank doing in the LAC region?
Countries in the region are increasingly demanding technical assistance and support in their efforts to reduce corruption and create better conditions for their social and economic development, as well as for reducing poverty.
To have a better understanding of the roots and dimensions of corruption and develop effective and sustainable ways to promote good governance, the World Bank has done extensive analytical work. Institutional Governance Reviews (IGRs), Country Financial Accountability Assessments (CFAAs), Country Procurement Assessment Reports (CPARs) and Governance diagnostics have been carried out in most countries in the region and recommendations incorporated in Country Assistance Strategies (CASs).
Given that corruption is the symptom of structural institutional weaknesses, the Bank has adopted multi-dimensional and multi-sectoral anti-corruption strategies in the region geared to:
To maximize the impact of these strategies, the Bank has been actively promoting donor coordination and civil society participation. An example of this approach is the Inter-Agency Alliance established with the Inter American Development Bank (IDB) and Transparency International (TI) to collaborate in various areas fighting against corruption and fostering accountability and transparency in Latin American countries.
Acknowledging that the enactment of a Freedom of Information (FOI) law is not enough to ensure accountability of public institutions, the Bank is assisting countries to implement FOI laws and establish public information systems to meet the new demand of information. In addition the Bank is facilitating a regional dialogue on " Access to Information, Transparency, and Good Governance” via GDLN.