U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from a U4 Partner Agency. The U4 Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International in collaboration with the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre based at the Chr. Michelsen Institute.

Query

Do you know of any experiences or approaches to tackle corruption in natural resource management effectively on a local level? What options exist to support anti-corruption effectively on the local level without putting relations with existing government structures at risk?

Purpose

Working on an environment and rural development programme in the Philippines we are challenged daily with corruption on a very local level. Small-scale farmer and fisher-folk households often have to pay illegal permits or acceleration fees to local government officials. Such schemes are backed by the officials’ superiors. Although the amounts are not high, the impact on household incomes is devastating. We aim to integrate anti-corruption into the programme’s implementation in order to ensure we can achieve our objectives and indicators: to increase household incomes of poor farm and fisher-folk households. Most existing studies and approaches on corruption in the natural resource management sector focus on large-scale corruption or extractive industries. It would be useful to have some advice on local level anti-corruption approaches.

Content

1. Overview of petty corruption in fishing and small-scale farming in the Philippines
2. Experiences of improving transparency and governance in the sector
3. Approaches to target the demand-side of petty corruption
4. Options to support existing local anti-corruption policies
5. References

Summary

As is the case with other resource sectors, the most effective way of combating petty corruption in farming and fisheries appears to be through strengthening transparency and accountability. At the local level, this can be achieved through greater public disclosure of official documents, changes to the governance structures of the sectors and the use of e-governance. Improving working conditions of local government institutions, raising salaries and developing a culture of ethical integrity are also important steps in removing the opportunity and need for local level corruption.  Increased citizen participation in decisions regarding licenses and permits, as well as stronger monitoring and reporting mechanisms are essential to reduce the opportunities for local level corruption. Village committees, social auditing and innovative reporting and complaint mechanisms can help develop the demand side for anti-corruption and good governance measures. In terms of transparency, e-commerce can work to minimise intermediation, enabling farmers and fisher-folk to negotiate better prices for their products.

To make more effective existing anti-corruption policy at the local level, there is a need to strengthen local government structures, enhance sanctions for corruption, raise societal awareness of anti-corruption policies currently in place, and work more closely with civil society.

Authors

Catherine Mann, Transparency International, cmann@transparency.org

Date

04/02/2011

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