On 21 July 2022, the China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA) and the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MofCom) jointly held the Anti-corruption Forum on Global Development Cooperation: Idea and Practices. The Chairman of CIDCA and the Vice Minister of MofCom jointly opened the Forum together with Mr. Ban Ki-moon, the Under Secretary of State of Ministry of Economy and Finance of Cambodia, and the Vice President of Asian Infrastructure Bank. The Sino-German Center for Sustainable Development (CSD) was invited to share the practices and experience on anti-corruption in German development cooperation.
Corruption is one of the greatest obstacles to development. It stands in the way of the Agenda 2030 goals, exacerbating existing social inequality and discrimination, and affecting disadvantaged groups of society particularly. In consequence, the fight against corruption has been included in the sustainable development agenda with Goal 16.5 calling for a substantial reduction of bribery and corruption in all their forms.
Chinese government has strengthened its supervision and evaluation to foreign aid projects, established and enhanced the capacities of implementation units, and has investigated and punished corruption cases with a zero-tolerance attitude, according to Mr. Luo Zhaohui, Chairman of CIDCA. He proposed four initiatives in his opening speech to further improve prevention and fight against corruption in China’s international development cooperation including strengthening accountability, support through multilateralism mechanism, improving monitoring and transparency of foreign aid projects, and promoting exchanges and learning based on mutual respect.
In German development cooperation, the fight against corruption and the promotion of integrity are systematically considered on three levels: the political-strategic, project, and international level. Mr. Hagen Ettner, the German Director of CSD, introduced as a panel speaker the three main ways how corruption and integrity are addressed on the project level, and how the principles of transparency, accountability and participation are strengthened.
Germany develops specific stand-alone projects supporting anti-corruption reforms in partner countries through international development cooperation. The projects focus on establishing a functioning anti-corruption chain covering prevention of corruption, detection, and investigation of corruption cases, and finally the sanctioning of corruption. Vulnerabilities in this chain are tackled by the adaptation of legal frameworks, capacity-building of anti-corruption institutions or better cooperation among the institutions responsible for preventing, detecting, prosecuting and sanctioning corruption.
Mainstreaming anti-corruption into sectoral development projects plays an increasing role in German development cooperation in areas such as health, environmental protection, education, or water. All sectors are vulnerable to corruption in different ways. Anti-corruption measures at the sector level can provide effective entry points and play a catalytic role in national anti-corruption reforms.
The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) identifies anti-corruption and integrity as one of the six quality criteria in BMZ 2030, its recent reform process, marking what defines German development cooperation as value-based, sustainable, and forward-looking. It means that in planning, design, implementation and reporting of all projects, risks of corruption and potentials for anti-corruption and integrity are systematically considered by the government and their implementing organizations. In this way, a significant contribution is made to reducing the harmful effects of corruption and increasing the effectiveness of development cooperation, and public funds are protected from corruption and misuse, thus strengthening the long-term legitimacy of cooperation.
As the umbrella for development cooperation between China and Germany, the Sino-German Center for Sustainable Development can facilitate exchanges on anti-corruption and integrity in Sino-German dialogue on development cooperation and explore cooperation opportunities in this area in the future, suggested by Mr. Ettner to Chinese development cooperation policy makers and regulators.
Apart from Germany, representatives from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Japan, Canada, India, Laos, NGOs, industry associations, and academia shared their perspectives in two panel discussions, Development Aid for International Anti-Corruption Cooperation, and Zero-Tolerance to Corruption in International Development Cooperation. More than one hundred representatives from governmental organizations, international organizations, and foreign aid implementing agencies participated in the Forum.
For a summary of the Anti-Corruption Forum on International Development Cooperation in Chinese, please visit the website of CIDCA.