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Using Communication Approaches and Techniques to Support Anti-Corruption Efforts: A Learning Event for Anti-Corruption Agencies

Antonio Lambino's picture

In a post a couple of months back, we announced that CommGAP is co-organizing a learning event on communication’s contribution to anti-corruption efforts with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the international agency responsible for promoting the ratification of the UN Convention against Corruption.

The event will be held next week at the UN headquarters in Vienna, Austria and will bring together government officials working in anti-corruption commissions (ACCs) and experts in communication approaches and techniques that support anti-corruption initiatives.  We look forward to learning about real-world challenges as well as communication efforts that have been effective in anti-corruption work in both developed and developing countries.  We’ll be posting updates from Vienna – at the end of the first and last days of the event.  In the meantime, please find below the latest version of the agenda.



Photo credit: Flickr user chad_k




Using Communication Approaches and Techniques to Support
Anti-Corruption Efforts: A Learning Event for Anti-Corruption Agencies

Vienna International Centre, Vienna, Austria
November 17 – 19, 2008

Opening Session

  • Welcome
    - Francis Maertens, Director, Division for Operations, UNODC
    - John Sandage, Chief, Treaty and Legal Assistance Branch, Division for Treaty Affairs, UNODC
  • Keynote
    - Minister Jorge Hage Sobrinho, Brazil
  • Role of UNCAC
    - Dimitri Vlassis, Chief, Corruption and Economic Crime Section, Division for Treaty Affairs, UNODC
  • Introduction to the Learning Event
    - Stuart Gilman, Deputy Director Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR) and Senior Advisor, UNODC
    - Sina Odugbemi, Head, CommGAP, World Bank

Session I:  Building anti-corruption networks and coalitions within state institutions.  Experience has shown that, often, the biggest challenge for Anti-Corruption Commissions (ACCs) is dealing with vested interests. This session will introduce communication techniques of persuasion and public interest lobbying useful for building networks and coalitions in support of anti-corruption, and for linking up reform-minded public officials and politicians.

  • Session Chair: Timothy Lemay, Chief, Governance, Human Security and Rule of Law Section, Division for Operations, UNODC
  • Panelists:
    - José Edgardo Campos, Lead Public Sector Specialist, World Bank (Lead Panelist) 
    - Gerard Bussier, Director, Corruption Prevention and Education Division, Independent Commission Against Corruption, Mauritius
    - Edward Hoseah, Director-General, Prevention and Combating Corruption Bureau, Tanzania
    - Goodwell Lungu, Executive Director, Transparency International, Zambia

Session II: Cultivating a culture of probity and accountability within public authorities.  Cultivating a culture of probity and accountability within public service agencies is crucial to increasing the likelihood of success of anti-corruption initiatives. This session will focus on the ways in which the culture and behavior of public servants within the civil service can be transformed, exploring practical examples and good case studies from around the world.

  • Session Chair: Dimitri Vlassis, UNODC
  • Panelists: 
    - Jon Quah, Retired Professor (Lead Panelist)
    - The Honorable Earl E. Devaney, Inspector General, US Department of Interior
    - Valentina Knezevic Head, Public Relations, Montenegro Agency for Anticorruption Initiatives
    - Howard Whitton, Independent Consultant, Malta

Session III: Learning from the global environmental movement: Raising issues on the public agenda.  This session will explore the ways in which agenda-setting and framing techniques can be used to increase the salience of anti-corruption issues.  Lessons will be harvested from the global environmental movement’s success in prominently positioning their issue on the public agenda. The following questions will guide the discussion: “How do we elevate anti-corruption’s position on the public agenda, especially at the national level?”; and “How can public will be generated to support raising the public profile of anti-corruption initiatives?”

  • Session Chair: Alun Jones, Chief, Advocacy Section, Division for Policy Analysis, UNODC
  • Panelists: 
    - Mark Meisner, Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Studies, State University of New York (Lead Panelist)
    - Howie G. Severino, Journalist, GMA Network, Inc.
    - André Doren, Director of Communications, Transparency International – Berlin (To Be Confirmed (TBC))
    - Frances Johnson-Morris, Chairperson, Anti-Corruption Commission, Liberia (TBC)

Session IV: Media/civil society campaigns and removal and resignation of corrupt leaders.  This session will tackle the challenge of creating an effective anti-corruption media campaign and/or a strong civil society movement around the issue of removing corrupt leaders from office. Experiences from countries where entrenched and corrupt leaders were displaced through powerful and widespread expressions of public intolerance of corruption are of particular interest.

  • Session Chair: Catherine MacQuarrie, Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, Canada
  • Panelists: 
    - Howie G. Severino, Journalist, GMA Network, Inc. (Lead Panelist)
    - Martin Kreutner, Director, Federal Bureau for Internal Affairs, Austria
    - Fazela Mahomed, Director of Registry of Interest, Parliament of South Africa, Cape Town
    - Ivan Thomas, Director Public Education and Outreach, Anti-Corruption Commission, Sierra Leone

Session V: Getting citizens to differentiate between real corruption and rumors of corruption.  It is often the case that citizens incorrectly perceive inefficiency and incompetence in public service provision as corruption. It is important for citizens to know the difference. In this session, participants will brainstorm on the ways in which citizens might more clearly differentiate between real corruption and rumors of corruption.

  • Session Chair: Eric Yang, ICAC, Hong Kong (TBC)
  • Panelists: 
    - Stuart Gilman, UNODC (Lead Panelist)
    - Emmanuel Akomaye, Chief Deputy, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Nigeria
    - Catherine MacQuarrie, Assistant Commissioner, Policy and Communications, Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, Canada
    - Kayobo Ng'andu, Director, Prevention and Education, Anti-Corruption Commission of Zambia

Session VII: “This is the way we do things around here”: Tackling everyday corruption.  This session will address the importance of changing norms and increasing internal political efficiacy (e.g., “there’s nothing I can do to fight corruption”) and external political efficacy (e.g., “things won’t change even if I try to do something”) for tackling everyday corruption. The session will also explore the role that public opinion plays as an instrument of positive social control after a society successfully transforms norms that previously condoned and tolerated corrupt practices/behavior.

  • Session Chair: Sina Odugbemi, CommGAP, World Bank
  • Panelists: 
    - André Doren, Director of Communications, Transparency International – Berlin (Co-Lead Panelist)
    - Gerry Power, Director, Research and Knowledge Management, BBC World Service Trust (Co-Lead Panelist)
    - Anthony Fernando, Attorney General, Seychelles
    - Minister Jorge Hage Sobrinho, Minister of State Control-Transparency, Brazil

Session VIII: Communicative dimensions of the work of anti-corruption bodies.  This session will delve into the institutional needs of anti-corruption bodies and introduce corporate communication as an effective means through which ACCs can weather difficult periods. Corporate communication cultivates among citizens awareness and appreciation of an ACC’s public value. This session will present examples of ACCs efforts to build political and public support, and the capacity to sustain efforts over time. The session will also address communication do’s and don’ts related to the publication of sensitive information as well as conducting investigations.

  • Session Chair: Fazela Mahomed, Parliament of South Africa, Cape Town
  • Panelists: 
    - Alessandro Butticé, Spokesperson - Head of Communication, Public Relations and Spokesman Unit, European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) (Lead Panelist)
    - Sandra Blagojević, Advisor, Commission for Prevention of Corruption, Slovenia
    - Nicholas Simani, Principal Public Relations and Protocol Officer, Anti-Corruption Commission, Kenya
    - Eric Yang, Principal Investigator, Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), Hong Kong

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