Anti-corruption handbook for development practitioners

    Finland’s Minister for International Development Heidi Hautala launched anti-corruption handbook for development practitioners Tuesday. Photo by: Pietro Naj-Oleari / ©European Parliament / CC BY-NC-ND

    Aid workers and other professionals in the field of international development and humanitarian assistance can now get tips on how to identify, prevent and combat corruption, through the recently released “Anti-Corruption Handbook for Development Practitioners.”

    The 220-page book, free for download and produced by Finland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, offers development practitioners a comprehensive analysis of types of corruption in the field and pointers on how to avoid it.

    “Even though corruption rarely happens in development cooperation, it still exists, because the work takes place in the worst operating environments in the world,” Finland’s Minister for International Development Heidi Hautala said at the Tuesday (Sept. 4) launch. “In 2011, Finnish foreign affairs administration detected 17 cases of abuse or suspected abuse in Somalia and Haiti, for example.”

    Some suggestions for those in the field of humanitarian assistance — cited as particularly prone in the field of development to certain types of corruption, such as diversion of goods and services and extortion, due to situational factors — include:

    • Better identification and assessment for threats and opportunities for corruption, including risk assessment for fraud and mapping of corruption pitfalls into contingency plans and emergency preparedness planning.

    • Staff training in anti-corruption measures.

    Other general tips for confronting various forms of corruption include:

    • Independent third-party monitoring in the follow-up of program implementation.

    • Detailed cooperation agreements with partners.

    • Be realistic when considering the capacity of partner country systems, and continue to monitor trends on governance.

    In October 2011, the U.N. Development Program released a similar guide, which was geared more toward the work of anti-corruption agencies.

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    About the author

    • Amy Lieberman

      Amy Lieberman is an award-winning journalist based in New York City. Her coverage on politics, social justice issues, development and climate change has appeared in a variety of international news outlets, including The Guardian, Slate and The Atlantic. She has reported from the U.N. Headquarters, in addition to nine countries outside of the U.S. Amy received her master of arts degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in May 2014. Last year she completed a yearlong fellowship on the oil industry and climate change and co-published her findings with a team in the Los Angeles Times.

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