The energy that members of the International Corruption Hunters Alliance (ICHA) brought to their first meeting is beyond words. “Stealing is bad enough, ripping off the poor is disgusting.” With those words, the World Bank President kicked off a 2-day momentum for the Corruption Hunters to “draw strength, learn from one another and create their global alliance.” And rightly so, they did. A “marketplace” showcasing select country experiences offered some space for some delegates to speak firsthand of their challenges and lessons of success and failure.
The virtual discussions that were launched between alliance members before the meetings were resumed (this round face to face at the World Bank headquarters) only a few hours upon the arrival of more than 240 participants from 134 countries. Priorities for action were discussed raising some of the tough questions: what are the limitations when it comes to enforcement in both developing and developed countries? How can the alliance help, facilitate and advance progress? What can the Bank and other development partners offer? How can ICHA members rally their collective force against some of the tougher transnational fraud and corruption crimes? The show of force and energy was a profound backdrop to the loud voices vowing to stronger action.
The energy that these Corruption Hunters brought to their new alliance inspired more than 300 participants. Many spoke with the impatience and determination that drives success, and all spoke with the reassuring commitment that they will not give up. The majority expressed the frustration of having to navigate their fraud and corruption battles on their own and all recognized that in sticking with an international alliance, there is a shortcut for success to be sustainable and change to be progressive.
The formal and informal relationships that were developed between members of the ICHA will be guided by the spirit of action that this meeting generated. The Integrity Vice Presidency (INT) of the World Bank also signed 3 cooperation agreements with the anti-corruption agencies in Thailand and Uganda in addition to the UN. These agreements will ensure that the momentum continues but this is not the only outcome of the meeting. Over the next year, INT will continue to reach out to the Corruption Hunters on each of the 4 themes that the alliance identified as priorities. So there is more to come and we will continue to update you on the experience of this new and promising initiative on our webpage: www.worldbank.org/integrity
Photo Credit: © Arne Hoel/The World Bank