Anti-Corruption Measures (Risk Mitigations)

Jump to key mitigations

Mitigating corruption

The playbook for mitigating the extent of corruption and its consequences in international interventions is a work in progress. Traditionally, corruption has been seen as an internal political problem; the international community shied away from exerting pressure on governments to tackle it in case it was seen as impinging national sovereignty. International donors such as the World Bank focussed on technical development assistance and, while some measures to prevent leakage of funds were put in place, mitigating the impact of corruption was not prioritised. The Bank only acknowledged the significance of corruption in 1996; since then, corruption’s role in making international aid less effective steadily gained attention. But mitigating the impact of corruption in the context of international interventions with a military component – where money meets force and crucial prerogatives of the state – is still a relatively new field.

Tackling corruption and mitigating risks

The vocabulary related to interventions aiming to prevent or reduce manifestations of corruption can be confusing. Terms such as anti- and counter-corruption are used differently by different publications, and mitigating corruption risks mixes with tackling actual corrupt practices.

Reflecting widespread usage, including the wording of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), this toolkit uses the term ‘anti-corruption’ to describe all recommended measures.

Spectrum of operations

Corruption is likely to affect all types of operations, from crisis response missions to peace and stabilisation operations, as well as security assistance missions, whether free-standing or as part of a larger deployment. Given that corruption and conflict tend to go hand-in-hand, conflict is likely to engender corruption even where it is less widespread in peacetime. Depending on the type of the mission, the security environment, the amount of local contracting and the degree of reliance on host nation security forces, different operations will require different mixes of anti-corruption measures.

Which measure and when

There is no one correct approach to designing anti-corruption measures: the mix of measures, prioritisation of some measures over others, and sequencing of particular programmes depends on the context, the needs and the resources available. Anti-corruption programmes can focus on technical approaches and on underlying power structures; incorporate a confrontation with existing power structures or opt for promoting quieter, long-term changes; tackle large-scale challenges immediately or build up networks and garner support by dealing with low-hanging fruit, i.e. low-level measures that can bring immediate improvements to, for example, living conditions.

Key Mitigations

The following mitigations highlight key measures that can be implemented to mitigate the risk of corruption on military operations.