(Washington D.C.) – Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the largest recipients of international donor assistance and has become very skillful in establishing laws and institutions to meet foreign donor requirements, but those same laws and institutions fail to deliver for ordinary citizens, a new study of government accountability in counties around the world has found.
Along with Uganda, Bosnia and Herzegovina has the dubious distinction of boasting the biggest “implementation gap” between its anti-corruption laws “on the books” and the actual enforcement of those laws in practice.
The report, a major investigative study of 35 countries, was released today by Global Integrity, an award-winning international nonprofit organization that tracks governance and corruption trends globally.
“Despite massive amounts of foreign aid, including a significant amount of aid for good governance and anti-corruption efforts, there is little evidence to suggest that ordinary citizens are benefiting from the proliferation of legal and regulatory reforms on paper in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said Global Integrity’s Managing Director, Nathaniel Heller.
For instance, a national-level ombudsman agency exists but is considered to be impotent in practice, rarely acting on citizen complaints and Global Integrity’s research suggests that oversight of campaign contributions remains a major challenge in Bosnia. Limits on campaign contributions exist and political parties and individual candidates are both required to disclose records of this funding; however, the auditing of campaign contribution records is inadequate due to the questionable competency of the election monitoring agency’s auditing department.
The Global Integrity Report: 2009 covers developed countries such as the United States and South Korea as well as dozens of the world’s emerging markets and developing nations, from Azerbaijan and China to Lebanon and Vietnam. The report assesses the accountability mechanisms and transparency measures in place (or not) to determine where corruption is more likely to occur. Rather than measure perceptions of corruption, the report assesses more than 300 “Integrity Indicators” and includes journalistic pieces covering corruption cases.
Other major findings of the report this year include the following:
U.S.: Obama Administration Fails to Make Progress on Anti-Corruption in 1st Year
Despite the new White House’s rhetorical commitment to reform, there is little evidence to suggest that concrete changes have taken root that will curb corruption at the national level in the years to come. A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision to allow greater levels of corporate and union spending on election advertising will likely increase special interest influence on the electoral process.
China: Reforms Slowly Take Root in World’s Fastest Growing Major Economy
China has been dropped from the Watch List in part due to the government’s push to raise accounting and auditing standards for the country’s state-owned enterprises to international levels. “In the long-run, this potentially gives the public a fighting chance of understanding the inner workings of China’s largest state-owned companies,” Heller said.
“The country assessments that comprise the Report offer among the most detailed, evidence-based evaluations of anti-corruption mechanisms available anywhere in the world,” said Heller. “They provide policymakers, investors, and citizens alike with the information to understand the governance challenges unique to each country and to take action.”
The Global Integrity Report is the product of months of on-the-ground reporting and data gathering by a team of more than 150 in-country journalists and researchers who prepared close to a million words of text and more than 10,000 data points for their respective countries. The 2009 report covers:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Sierra Leone
- South Korea
- United States
To access full results of the Global Integrity Report: 2009, please visit http://report.globalintegrity.org.
Global Integrity is a leading international non-profit organization that tracks governance and corruption trends around the world. Working with a network of more than nine hundred in-country journalists and researchers in more than 100 countries, we aim to shape and inform the debate around governance and anti-corruption reforms through in-depth diagnostic tools at the national, sub-national, and sector levels. Our information is regularly used by aid donors, civil society advocates, and governments alike to press for governance reforms in both the developed and developing world. For more information about the organization, visit http://www.globalintegrity.org.