National Integrity System (NIS) Assessment
The National Integrity System analysis for Georgia is now available online.
With funding from the UK’s Department for International Development Global Transparency Fund, TI Georgia is implementing a 2.5-year, GBP 122,842 research and advocacy project. The goal of the project is to create a more effective anti-corruption policy and practice in Georgia that addresses administrative and grand corruption, government accountability and transparency issues. The project timeframe is September 2009 – March 2012. There are two main sets of activities, both complemented by advocacy work:
- National Integrity System (NIS) Assessment Report (expected June 2011)
- Monitoring Georgia’s compliance review for the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC)
1. The National Integrity System (NIS) Assessment
The NIS consists of the principle institutions and actors that contribute to integrity, transparency and accountability in a society. Georgia’s National Integrity System (NIS) is the set of institutions that, when functioning properly, safeguard against corruption and contribute to the larger struggle against the abuse of power, malfeasance, and misappropriation in all its forms. When the NIS institutions are characterized by a lack of appropriate regulations and unaccountable behavior, corruption is likely to thrive, with negative ripple effects on equitable growth, sustainable development and social cohesion. Strengthening the NIS promotes better governance across all aspects of society, and, ultimately, contributes to a more just society overall.
While Georgia made strong headway in its fight against corruption in 2003-2005, corruption and the abuse of power still exists at higher levels and reform of the court system has lagged far behind reforms in most other areas. Corruption, the abuse and misuse of administrative resources, and unaccountable institutions are still major challenges to democratic and just rule. There has been to date no independent, comprehensive assessment of the risks for corruption in Georgia. The concept of a National Integrity System (NIS), developed and promoted by the TI movement, is part of a holistic approach to countering corruption, providing in-depth analyses and recommendations for further improvements.
The NIS assessment offers an evaluation of the legal basis and the actual performance of 13 core institutions that each play a role in fighting corruption in Georgia. These institutions, or ‘pillars’ – the executive, legislature, judiciary, the main public watchdog institutions (e.g. supreme audit institution, law enforcement agencies and electoral management body), as well as the media, civil society and business – are the primary forces that shape anti-corruption policy and implementation.Each pillar is assessed according to three dimensions:
- Capacity to prevent corruption
- Internal governance structure
- Role in the fight against corruption.
Indicators for each of these dimensions address both the legal framework and the dimensions in practice. TI Georgia’s research team will conduct desk research, literature review, key informant interviews and a series of field tests to evaluate each pillar. A final report, due in June 2011, will document the extensive research.
The NIS assessment will also undergo numerous rounds of review before final publication, both internally at TI Georgia and at the TI Secretariat, and also among wider circles of stakeholders in the country. A high-level Advisory Group representing a diverse set of political view points will validate the scores in October 2010, and in December 2010 TI Georgia will hold a larger stakeholder workshop to seek agreement on the assessment and to collectively define advocacy and reform priorities for further anti-corruption work.
2. Monitoring Georgia’s compliance with the UN Convention Against Corruption
The United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) is the latest achievement in a series of international anti-corruption treaties. The Convention, which entered into force in 2005, addresses several key issues and measures to prevent and criminalize corruption, to promote international cooperation, technical assistance and to facilitate the recovery of stolen assets. It has the broadest and most ambitious scope of any anti-corruption convention, as well as the largest and most diverse number of parties: as of February 2009, 140 countries have signed and 131 countries have become member states of UNCAC. Georgia acceded to the convention in November 2008.
This makes the first binding and globally applicable anti-corruption convention an excellent benchmark for analysing, comparing and advancing Georgia’s national anti-corruption framework with others around the world. Governments that have ratified the Convention need to translate its provisions into their laws and practices. In many countries, considerable work is needed in order to comply with the requirements of the Convention.
An UNCAC review mechanism was introduced in the Spring of 2010 and in late July, Georgia was selected in the first group of countries to undergo the review. The process will cover the articles 2 and 3 of the convention (articles 1 and 4 will be the subject of the next round of reviews, in five years’ time):
- Criminalization and enforcement
- International cooperation
- Asset Recovery
The review begins with a self-assessment conducted by Georgian government officials in fall 2010, followed by a “peer review” that is conducted by representatives of two member countries, one from within the region (Armenia) and one from outside the region. The peer review team is expected to produce a short public report and a much more detailed report that is not required to be made public. Georgia’s self-assessment is likewise not a public document.
There is no formal requirement for civil society to be involved in the country review mechanism for UNCAC, nor is there any requirement for the self-asesessment or final peer review report to consult with civil society during the preparation of their reports. TI Georgia will closely follow the process, advocate for all documents to be made public, and make efforts to engage civil society more broadly in the process.