Hivos International

Hivos urges world leaders to tackle corruption and open up government contracting

On Thursday May 12, government representatives from all over the world are gathering for the Anti-Corruption Summit: London 2016, which aims to agree on a package of practical steps to expose and fight corruption.

Today, leaders from civil society (including Hivos), business and government who are championing the battle against corruption are attending the Commonwealth’s Tackling Corruption Together conference. They have published a Manifesto calling on government leaders to end impunity, prevent corruption, protect whistleblowers and human right defenders and support activists with the ultimate aim of strengthening good governance and transparency and supporting sustainable development. Hivos’ executive director Edwin Huizing co-signed the Manifesto.  

The Manifesto explicitly asks governments to open up public contracting so that citizens and businesses can follow a clear public record of how their money was spent. With total government spending through contracting amounting to an estimated US$ 9.5 trillion worldwide, this process presents high corruption risks in most countries around the world. If governments open up their contracting process and data, they can save tax money, make better use of national resources, deliver better goods and services, prevent corruption and fraud, create a better business environment and stimulate innovation.

During the Tackling Corruption Together conference, Will Janssen, director of the Open Society Programme at Hivos, participated in a panel discussion on how open government and open contracting can help fight corruption.

Hivos and ARTICLE19 recently launched a global programme on Open Contracting Data aimed at opening up government contracting processes and data to the scrutiny of engaged citizens and businesses so that the huge sums of money involved are spent honestly and efficiently, following the highest standards of transparency and integrity. The programme supports independent journalists, activists, artists, businesses, academics and civic watchdog organisations in their efforts to use contracting data and public revenue flows for public monitoring, advocacy campaigns or strategic litigation and translate it into meaningful, comprehensible information for citizens.

This way, citizens, too, can gain insight into how governments do business and with whom, how (public) money is obtained and spent, in order to hold them to account. In addition, the programme advocates for policy and practice change by governments to open up more and higher quality data for the public good. Making public contracting more transparent and efficient should be of high priority for any government aiming to advance good governance and accountability and mitigate corruption.

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