Ensure that monitoring and oversight are part of international programme design and implementation from the very beginning. Help build up host nation oversight and audit capability in order to close off space for corruption.
Introduction to key mitigation
Monitoring and oversight of international interventions – especially where transfer of money or materiel is involved – is not only key to determining the effectiveness of the programming, but also to preventing and detecting fraud, abuse and diversion. Keeping track of materiel helps ensure it gets to where it is supposed to go; monitoring expenditure and checking up on project implementation limits opportunities for corrupt networks to divert financial resources. Monitoring and oversight systems can play both a preventive and a reactive role: their presence (and that presence being known) acts as a deterrent, but also encourages reporting and investigations to follow suspicions of corruption.
Monitoring and oversight can be carried out by specialised task forces, by internal and external auditors, or by mixed national-international bodies with a high degree of independence. While detecting or preventing corruption is not traditionally a task of audit departments, their usual focus on preventing fraud risks can be easily adapted to include corruption. While the international community’s monitoring of its own projects is key when international resources are in play, it is often the support of host nation oversight institutions that can yield the best long-term results.
Costs and benefits
Monitoring and oversight require expertise and resources; as such, they are likely to increase an intervention’s price tag. They also tend to add time to project timelines. In conflict-affected environments, deploying auditors and inspectors to oversee distribution of materiel and implementation of projects can involve security concerns and they might require military escort.
The key benefit, in the short term, is the prevention of asset diversion and an ability to uncover irregularities when they do occur, which can also enable cost recovery. In the long term, the benefits could be less tangible, but no less important: a focus on oversight in international programmes helps stem the flow of resources to corrupt networks, preventing them from getting stronger. It also provides a potential point of contact for those who wish to report wrongdoing, strengthening integrity-based models of behaviour.
Where national institutions either lack capacity or will to perform oversight, the international community could support independent, external bodies with mixed national-international membership, which could provide the oversight and impetus for reform that would not come from inside host nation institutions.
Constituent mitigations for:
9. Investing in monitoring and oversight
These constituent mitigations provide further guidance on effective anti-corruption mitigation measures for military operations.