These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
"More than one person in two thinks corruption has worsened in the last two years, according to the world’s largest public opinion survey on corruption from Transparency International, but survey participants also firmly believe they can make a difference and have the will to take action against graft. The Global Corruption Barometer 2013 is a survey of 114,000 people in 107 countries and it shows corruption is widespread. 27 per cent of respondents have paid a bribe when accessing public services and institutions in the last 12 months, revealing no improvement from previous surveys." READ MORE
"What does transparency that leads to accountability look like? We summarise the key ideas from our live chat panel.
Paolo de Renzio, senior research fellow, International Budget Partnership, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil:
Transparency depends on both civil society and governments: Being, or becoming, transparent requires efforts and skills on the side of governments, and using available information requires efforts and skills on the side of civil society and citizens more generally. Both are equally important and deserve support.
Collaboration helps build government incentives: It's often a combination of different factors that convinces governments to become more transparent. Pressure from outside (donors), within (CSOs and media) and from the sides (parliaments and audit bodies) can all add up. Make sure that these efforts complement each other.
Benchmarks and incentives should adapt to context: Benchmarks and incentives should be adapted to country context, negotiated in an open and participatory process, linked to capacity building and coupled with improvements in donor transparency." READ MORE
"Governments across the globe are making bold promises to embrace open government ushering in a new era of public service reform, undermining corruption and increasing citizen engagement — all underpinned by open data and transparency. In September 2011, the Open Government Partnership was launched when a number of founding governments (Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, Philippines, South Africa, United Kingdom and the United States) endorsed an Open Government Declaration, and announced their country action plans. Since then an additional 47 governments have joined. The global G8 forum also made transparency a priority.
Open government should mean making government and public bodies more transparent, responsive and accountable so that citizens can hold these bodies to account, fight corruption and use technologies to make government more effective and accountable. In practice this requires government and public bodies to bring forward freedom of information legislation, let citizens get access to the huge data sets held by public bodies and make public bodies respond to questions from citizens and the media quicker and more thoroughly". READ MORE
Open Budgets Blog
“Before, even five or 10 years ago, this would have been impossible,” said Vilma Gonzales de Huajardo. This is what Vilma had to say about a new initiative by the city of Lima, Peru, which in the first week of June invited ordinary citizens to take part in the city’s participatory budget (PB) process for the first time ever. PB initiatives typically engage citizens directly in decisions about how a specified portion of the jurisdiction’s budget will be spent. More than 40 projects were up for funding in Lima’s PB process, and Vilma was out on a chilly fall day to encourage people to vote. Beyond civic duty, Vilma also hoped to promote a particular project: a youth center in her neighborhood of Barranco, a sprawling district that encompasses both Lima’s bohemian neighborhood and marginal zones of urban poverty." READ MORE