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Yemen takes steps to fight corruption by measuring it better
Yemen’s government and civil society, with the facilitation of UNDP, have taken concrete steps to raise the profile of the struggle against the endemic corruption that slows down efforts towards any durable human development in the country.
Within the objective to develop the analytical capacity of the coalition of civil society organizations (CSO) that aspires to become the Yemeni Chapter of Transparency International, UNDP-Yemen in coordination with the Supreme National Authority for Combating Corruption (SNACC) recently organized a training workshop on the measurement of corruption. For three days, CSOs as well as government representatives joined by the purpose of the combat against corruption focused on understanding different approaches and methodologies for assessing corruption, and on applying them to the Yemeni context in a spirit of critical analysis and national ownership. They reflected on the key importance of corruption assessments within the actions against corruption, and worked on case studies to understand the subtleties of the implementation of different measurement tools in specific socio-cultural contexts.
The training was based on the User’s Guide to Measuring Corruption and the Trainer’s Manual on Measuring Corruption at the Country Level developed by the Global Programme on Democratic Governance Assessments based at the Oslo Governance Centre (OGC). On the basis of these materials, a consultant recommended by OGC conducted the training workshop, which aimed at increasing the quality of corruption assessments carried out by the participants in different ways. Beyond the mere technical knowledge of existing corruption indicators, they learned how to remain aware of the strengths and weaknesses of each method; to be independent and critical in the selection and adaptation of technical approaches to the specificities of the Yemeni context; to use a combination of assessment methods rather than a single one in order to obtain a better understanding of country-level reality; and how the involvement of a broad range of stakeholders within a country-led corruption assessment could participate in combating corruption through the very process of measuring it accurately.
The workshop created enthusiasm among the participants, but also highlighted the long distance that still separated Yemen from a fully functional corruption monitoring mechanism at the national level, and the challenges that still remained to be addressed in terms of further capacity development, increasing the credibility of anti-corruption institutions, or raising citizens’ awareness on the issue.
Another recent UNDP-supported step within the efforts to fill this monitoring gap consists of a training workshop for CSOs on extractive industries monitoring, to strengthen their negotiation and advocacy capacities within the Yemeni Extractive Industries Council which is composed of representatives of the major oil companies operating in Yemen, the government and CSOs. The training, conducted with technical support from Publish What You Pay and Revenue Watch, focused on the EITI process. UNDP-Yemen will continue supporting oversight activities related to the extractive industries, through envisaged support to the Parliamentary Committee on Oil and Development.