Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has called upon the government to propose inclusion of governance and anti-corruption as distinct goals in South Asian Regional Cooperation (SAARC) agenda. This call was made in a press release issued on 17 November 2014.
Earlier on November 5, 2014 in a letter addressed to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh TIB urged upon her to take the lead to work together with her peers at the forthcoming SAARC Summit in Kathmandu during November 22-27 to undertake regional cooperation initiatives to control corruption effectively. Copied to the Foreign Minister, State Minister Foreign Affairs and Foreign Secretary the letter, signed by Iftekharuzzaman, executive director of TIB, called upon the Bangladesh delegation to the summit to specifically:
1. Recognize corruption as a challenge of highest priority for countries of the region individually and collectively;
2. Pledge that corruption must be addressed by multi-dimensional strategic interventions with particular emphasis on challenging impunity without fear or favour;
3. Undertake effective regional initiatives to mutually share experiences and to cooperate in controlling corruption, particularly it’s cross border dimensions including illicit flow of corrupt money and resources;
4. Commit to ensure people’s access to information and strengthen institutions of accountability, particularly those mandated to control corruption; and
5. Consistent with article 13 of UN Convention against Corruption, to facilitate and enhance greater engagement of people at large, media and civil society to complement government efforts against corruption.
The letter draws attention of the Government to its election manifesto of 2008 and 2014 as well as Perspective Plan and 5-year plan which make good governance as the centre piece of state policy and make commitments against corruption. Drawing attention to some important initiatives taken by the Government to strengthen the legal and policy structure to control corruption, TIB argues that the proposal is consistent with pledges made by the Government, as with the National Integrity Strategy adopted in October 2012.
Bangladesh has the track record of taking such initiatives in various international and regional forums including SAARC. The Prime Minister and her delegation can once again take a proactive role to propose governance as a distinct agenda of cooperation and to create opportunities for mutual learning, sharing and collaboration to control corruption, particularly in cross-border dimensions - Iftekharuzzaman
TIB also noted the Government’s participation in many regional and international initiatives for governance and anti-corruption. The letter also recognizes that all South Asian governments recognize corruption as a key predicament against economic development, poverty alleviation, rule of law and justice.
Full text of the letter may be accessed in here.
Iftekharuzzaman said, “Bangladesh has the track record of taking such initiatives in various international and regional forums including SAARC. The Prime Minister and her delegation can once again take a proactive role to propose governance as a distinct agenda of cooperation and to create opportunities for mutual learning, sharing and collaboration to control corruption, particularly in cross-border dimensions”.
A similar appeal jointly signed by executive directors of TI chapters in Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, has been made to respective Heads of State or Government.
It may be recalled that thanks to an earlier effort by Bangladesh, prompted by TIB, the 14th SAARC Summit recognized in para 27 of their Declaration that corruption was an issue of serious concern and agreed to exchange information on national experience to effectively control corruption.