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  • Global Challenges

    Workshop: Off the shelf! Strategies and skills for transforming research into tangible anti-corruption policies and practice

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    Coordinator: Dr. Finn Heinrich, Program Manager, Transparency International Secretariat

    Over the past few years, anti-corruption research has shifted from an initial focus on raising awareness of the ills of corruption to a more evidence-based approach to fighting corruption. This has brought about the development of a range of research approaches designed to assess specific aspects of governance. These tools allow corruption fighters to adopt a more forensic approach, giving them the evidence upon which they can base targeted solutions to specific problems. While the anti-corruption community now has a packed toolbox at its disposal to measure corruption and anti-corruption progress, the extent to which activists manage to utilise this anti-corruption knowledge to produce tangible impacts in the fight against corruption is a relative unknown. Indeed, a recent UNDP discussion paper noted that there is little understanding of ‘the process whereby social science percolates through informed politics and contributes to shape understanding of those in decision-making positions’ . It is extremely important for the anti-corruption community not only to apply tools to accumulate evidence on corruption and anti-corruption, but to have the skills and strategies to get this research ‘off the shelf’ and onto the policy agenda and into decision-making processes.

    The workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners who have used evidence-based research to achieve policy change in the area of anti-corruption and have stories and skills to share with the broader anti-corruption community. The workshop will be highly solution-oriented and will focus on learning – specifically, on sharing the skills and capacities needed for CSOs and research institutes to effectively translate research into action in the field of anti-corruption. Each of the contributors has a particular success story of using evidence to instigate a policy change in relation to the fight against corruption. These range from using a National Integrity System assessment as a platform to successfully lobby the government to introduce protection for whistleblowers in Hungary, to using a municipal transparency index to pressurize Venezuelan municipal governments to introduce freedom of information legislation.

    The questions of ‘what works’ under ‘which conditions’ and ‘with whom’ will be central to the workshop. To this end the panel will also include policymaker(s) who have been on the receiving end and have been influenced by evidence-based research in terms of decision making. This will add to the learning potential of the workshop by offering the official perspective on what conditions need to be met for policymakers to listen to anti-corruption evidence. The variation of strategies on the table includes building national and transnational coalitions of knowledge actors, developing strategies to depoliticise knowledge, involving political stakeholders in the research process, varying the level of technicality when disseminating knowledge to different policy actors and crucially, finding avenues to influence the policy agenda. The aim is to equip corruption fighters with skills to ensure that the knowledge created by applying anti-corruption tools reaches the policy community and has a tangible impact.

    Moderator: Dr. Finn Heinrich, Program Manager, Transparency International Secretariat

    Rapporteur: Dr. Suzanne Mulcahy, Programme Coordinator, Transparency International Secretariat


    Pilar Domingo, ODI

    Földes Ádám, Acting Executive Director TI Hungary

    Mercedes de Freitas, Executive Director Transparencia Venezuela

    *Anti-corruption Policymaker* (TBC)


    Noemi Alexa

    Noemi Alexa is Executive Director of Transparency International Hungary since 2006. Prior to joining TI, she was the deputy head of the Department of EU and International Affairs of the Ministry of Youth, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunity. She holds MA degrees in Spanish and Cultural Anthropology from ELTE University and a Ph.D. in International Relations from Corvinus University of Budapest. From the academic field she shifted to management for some years and has wide experience in international relations as well as in managing EU and international projects. Noemi coordinated and co-edited the first National Integrity System (NIS) study in Hungary and after its publication led the advocacy actions of TI Hungary. The main fields where advocacy has taken place successfully include protection of whistleblowers, campaign financing, introduction of integrity pacts and the judiciary.

    Mercedes de Freitas

    Mercedes de Freitas is Executive Director of Transparencia Venezuela. She is a historian, and throughout her career, has been involved in several civil society organisations and social movements aimed at increasing citizen participation and strengthening democracy in Venezuela. As part of Coalición Proacceso, a coalition of organisations advocating for access to public information in Venezuela, she has been using evidence-based research to advocate for the creation of conditions for public access to official information. One of the successes resulting from the promotion of this fundamental right of citizens was the passage, on October 8 2009, of the Law on Transparency and Access to Public Information by the state of Miranda.

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