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International Day for Democracy

democracyWorkshop discusses good governance and accountability

To commemorate the International Day for Democracy usually celebrated on September 15, the Citizens Democracy Watch Seychelles (CDWS) organised its first annual multi-stakeholder training workshop on ‘Good Governance and Accountability’ being implemented as part of the US embassy’s speaker programme.

The workshop, held yesterday at the Care House, brought under one roof representatives from all the political parties of Seychelles, policy-makers and practitioners from the government, private sector, media agencies and civil society.

Organised in collaboration with the US embassy, the workshop was facilitated by Alexandra Wrage, President and Founder of TRACE International and TRACE Incorporated, two distinct entities with a common mission to advance commercial transparency worldwide.

The overall objective of the workshop was to provide a platform for constructive dialogue with a view of exchanging views and clarifying key concepts as well as develop delegates’ capacity to contribute to the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).

The delegates focused on the impact and the global cost of corruption to businesses, communities and development and democratization. They talked about the ‘Top Ten’ enforcement trends worldwide; risks and consequences; learned more about demand-side bribery:  tools and initiatives to prevent and uncover bribe demands (e.g roles of media, FOIA-like efforts, whistleblower hotlines, etc…) and about supply-side bribery:  how companies engage in bribery and how to thwart them.

Eline Moses, chairperson of the CDWS, explained that “there were and still are lots of talks about corruption and sometimes we do not even understand the full consequences. Our strategy is to make citizens take part actively in the affairs of the country and CDWS took the bold step to bring all stakeholders together to talk about this issue. After a training we attended this year in Addis Ababa where Seychelles signed the UNCAC, we wanted to bring all those concerned on board. This is just the beginning and CDWS will try to have this type of workshop annually.”

Ms Wrage is the author of Bribery and Extortion: Undermining Business, Governments and Security, co-editor of How to Pay a Bribe: Thinking Like a Criminal to Thwart Bribery Schemes and the host of the training DVD Toxic Transactions: Bribery, Extortion and the High Price of Bad Business produced by NBC. She speaks frequently on topics of international law, anti-corruption initiatives and the hidden costs of corruption.

Ms Wrage formerly served on the Independent Governance Committee (IGC) of the Federation International des Football Association (FIFA), football governing body.

Talking to Seychelles NATION, Ms Wrage was quite impressed with the very diverse and sophisticated group of delegates.

“The afternoon session was particularly interesting. People were very engaged and the debate was lively. I was encouraged by the group’s willingness to discuss sensitive issues. The three areas of real concern seemed to be: political transparency and funding of elections; transparency around public procurement and transparent hiring and promotion processes for the civil service. At the same time, there was a sense that – based on Seychelles’ relative affluence and stability – much can be accomplished.

“Some goals discussed included a youth education programme to ensure the next generation values transparency; a challenge to political parties to voluntarily disclose the funding information they currently provide to the Electoral Commission and continued exploration of best practices in public procurement, including the possibility of implementing existing e-procurement technology. It is important for citizens to remain engaged and optimistic and to value incremental change. All challenges cannot be addressed concurrently, but progress can be made steadily.  Starting on the path is the key,” said Ms Wrage.

Ms Wrage was named one of the ‘Canadians Changing the World’ by the Toronto Globe & Mail and received the 2014 Women in Compliance ‘Lifetime Achievement Award for Service to the Compliance Industry’.

Source : Seychelles NATION

 

 

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