Promoting Anti-Corruption and Transparency in Government
The Kyrgyz Republic in Central Asia – a small country of strategic importance to several of the world’s major powers – has come far in building a democratic form of government since declaring its independence in 1991, despite the disruptions of a revolution in 2005 and a second revolution in 2010 followed by significant ethnic conflict in June 2010. A new constitution and a newly-elected president and parliament are now in place after a peaceful transfer of power from a post-revolution interim government. However, the country and all levels of government and society are plagued by corruption which, as in so many places in the world, destabilizes development. Kyrgyzstan is rated 164 out of 182 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index: widespread corruption undermines trust in government, reduces the ability to raise tax revenues for infrastructure projects, cuts the potential for domestic and foreign investment, and most importantly curtails the nation’s ability to progress towards a society based on fair transactions and the rule of law.
It is essential that the public officials be, and be seen as, free from corruption and self-dealing. Procedures that reduce corruption in the public sphere can do much to restore trust in government, set a standard, and an ethic that may be encouraged and replicated throughout society. Such procedures begin with a comprehensive system requiring the regular reporting by public officials of assets, income, gifts, and loans and by a setting forth a rigorous conflict-of-interest code accompanied by an efficient enforcement regime. Unfortunately, the Kyrgyz Republic has an ethics code for public officials that is very general and weak, a conflict-of-interest code that lacks specifics and has numerous loopholes, and an enforcement regime that lacks a mechanism for operation.
The Tian Shan Policy Center is collaborating with local NGOs and citizens’ activist groups to explore strategies to reduce corruption and to increase accountability and transparency in national government. It is seeking to advance a research-backed public education program and multi-group endeavor to demonstrate the need for a comprehensive conflict-of-interest code and asset-reporting system for elected officials and high-level government appointees.
Democratic Governance and Development
Tian Shan Policy Center closely works with the Coalition for Democracy and Civic Society and Union of Taxpayers for Parliamentarism in the framework of Democratic Governance and Development project. With the help of such cooperation TSPC is attempting to improve Parliament’s transparency.
About the Union of Taxpayers for Parliamentarism
Twenty-three public and business organizations and twenty-four civic activists interested in monitoring the Parliament’s work in order to increase the transparency and citizen’s involvement in Parliament’s work, decided to unite their efforts on the voluntary basis and created Union of Taxpayers for Parliamentarism (UTP).
The main goal of the union is to assist the work of Jogorku Kenesh in terms of effective implementation of legislative, executive and control functions on the basis of principles of Parliamentarism by increasing transparency, citizen’s involvement in Parliament’s work, creating access to the Parliament’s information, strengthening citizen’s potential for taking part in parliamentary processes, and improving parliamentary accountability.
UTP implements the following steps for achieving its goals: