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SDG 16 and the Corruption Measurement Challenge

by Guest Blogger for Shannon K. O'Neil
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon addresses the Annual Conference of Swiss Developement Cooperation in Zurich, Switzerland January 22, 2016. On the screen behind are displayed the 17 goals of UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann). United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon addresses the Annual Conference of Swiss Developement Cooperation in Zurich, Switzerland January 22, 2016. On the screen behind are displayed the 17 goals of UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann).

Emerging Voices highlights new research, thinking, and approaches to development challenges from contributing scholars and practitioners. This post is from Niklas Kossow, communications officer for the European Union FP7 ANTICORRP project and the European Research Centre for Anti-Corruption and State-Building.  In this post, he considers the challenge of designing evidence-based reforms and measuring success in global development, and describes a new approach to objective measurement in the field of anticorruption and good governance: the Index of Public Integrity.

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This Week in Markets and Democracy: Embraer Corruption Case, UK Anti-Slavery Law Neglected, Rule of Law Index

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer's CEO Frederico Curado (R) salutes workers next to an new Embraer E190-E2 during its unveil in Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil, February 25, 2016. Brazilian planemaker Embraer SA is in early talks with Iran, with a focus on commercial aviation, following the end of international sanctions, Chief Executive Curado told journalists on Thursday (Reuters/Nacho Doce). Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer's CEO Frederico Curado (R) salutes workers next to an new Embraer E190-E2 during its unveil in Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil, February 25, 2016. Brazilian planemaker Embraer SA is in early talks with Iran, with a focus on commercial aviation, following the end of international sanctions, Chief Executive Curado told journalists on Thursday (Reuters/Nacho Doce).

Brazil’s Plane Maker Fined in Bribery Case Spanning Five Continents
Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer will pay $205 million to U.S. authorities, including $20 million for Brazil, for bribing officials in Saudi Arabia, Mozambique, and the Dominican Republic. U.S. prosecutors worked with their law enforcement counterparts around the world—including Brazil, Switzerland, Uruguay, France, and Spain—to bring the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act case (Embraer is a U.S.-listed company). The legal cooperation has gone both ways, as U.S.-gathered evidence has spurred additional investigations by Brazilian and Saudi authorities; thirteen employees were charged with bribery. Now India is looking into kickbacks from Embraer’s air force contracts. Expect more cross-border cooperation in global corruption cases.

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This Week in Markets and Democracy: Study on Factory Labor, Thai Anticorruption Court, Afghanistan Aid

by Shannon K. O'Neil
A woman stitches leather gloves at the Pittards world class leather manufacturing company in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, March 22, 2016. Picture taken March 22, 2016 (Reuters/Tiksa Negeri). A woman stitches leather gloves at the Pittards world class leather manufacturing company in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, March 22, 2016. Picture taken March 22, 2016 (Reuters/Tiksa Negeri).

Why Trade Deals Matter for Workers Everywhere
The shift of low-skilled manufacturing jobs from industrialized to emerging economies helped lift millions out of poverty over the past few decades (even as it displaced Western workers). But a new study of Ethiopia’s growing manufacturing sector shows that while factory jobs raise wages throughout the economy, the benefits for workers are mixed. Compared to a control group of self-employed and informal sector workers, those employed in the new factories did not earn more and faced significantly higher health and safety risks—exposed to chemicals and injuries from unsafe working conditions. These findings show why trade agreements matter. By incorporating labor and environmental standards and mechanisms to enforce these rules, they can improve the livelihood of workers in all places.

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Who Governs Global Value Chains?

by Guest Blogger for Shannon K. O'Neil
Containers and cars are loaded on freight trains at the railroad shunting yard in Maschen near Hamburg September 23, 2012 (REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer). Containers and cars are loaded on freight trains at the railroad shunting yard in Maschen near Hamburg September 23, 2012 (REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer).

Global trade and the supply chains that support it are undergoing a period of profound change. Supply chains face threats including a resurgence of protectionism, climate change, decaying infrastructure, and human rights abuses. The Development Channel’s series on global supply chains will highlight experts’ analysis on emerging trends and challenges. This post is from Dr. Sherry Stephenson, senior fellow at the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD). 

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A Game of Inches: The Uncertain Fight Against Corruption in Latin America

by Matthew Taylor
A boy holds a sign which reads, "No more corruption" during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina, in downtown Guatemala City, May 30, 2015 (Reuters/Jorge Dan Lopez). A boy holds a sign which reads, "No more corruption" during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina, in downtown Guatemala City, May 30, 2015 (Reuters/Jorge Dan Lopez).

Harvard’s inimitable Matthew Stephenson this week published a thought-provoking blog post comparing anticorruption efforts in Asia and Latin America. Crudely summarizing Stephenson’s argument, a few years ago many looked to Asia as the gold standard in anticorruption efforts, in part because of the success of independent and effective anticorruption agencies (ACAs) in the region. But recent news of political meddling with Hong Kong’s ACA, brazen kleptocracy in Malaysia’s state development fund, and efforts to water down reform in Indonesia all suggest that the pendulum is swinging in a less positive direction. By contrast, Stephenson is optimistic about the important gains made in recent years in Latin America, including by Guatemala’s International Commission Against Impunity (CICIG), Brazil’s Car Wash investigation, elections in Peru and Argentina that highlighted voter frustration with corruption, and Mexico’s “3 out of 3” reforms.

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This Week in Markets and Democracy: Mexico’s Anticorruption Reforms, South Africa’s Anticorruption Setbacks, Venezuela’s Slow-Motion Coup

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (R) speaks, while Venezuela's Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez stands next to him, during a ceremony commemorating the 200th death anniversary of South American independence hero Francisco de Miranda in Caracas, Venezuela July 14, 2016 (Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins). Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (R) speaks, while Venezuela's Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez stands next to him, during a ceremony commemorating the 200th death anniversary of South American independence hero Francisco de Miranda in Caracas, Venezuela July 14, 2016 (Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins).

Mexico’s New Anticorruption Tools
President Enrique Peña Nieto signed into law long-awaited rules to step up Mexico’s fight against corruption. He had to veto an earlier version that would have forced private firms that receive government money to reveal their income and assets. The new measures mandate that all public servants disclose their assets, income, and tax returns. They also set up an independent prosecutor’s office and up the punishments for bribery, embezzlement, and influence peddling. While some civil society groups had hoped for more, the new anticorruption system provides new and stronger tools for those eager to take on bad behavior.

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This Week in Markets and Democracy: China’s Private Sector Corruption, Zimbabwe’s Protests, New Corruption Brief

by Shannon K. O'Neil
A man checks a message on his mobile phone, in Harare, Zimbabwe, July 7, 2016 (Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo). A man checks a message on his mobile phone, in Harare, Zimbabwe, July 7, 2016 (Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo).

Chinese Companies lag on Transparency
Chinese companies filled the bottom twenty-five spots in a recent Transparency International report ranking one-hundred emerging market multinationals on anticorruption efforts. Three received zeroes (on a zero-to-ten scale) for failing to list subsidiaries, release financials on foreign operations, or set up antibribery programs. The Chinese government is not pressing for change, instead killing a business-led anticorruption task force within the G20 framework. As a result, foreign companies operating in China are hard-pressed to avoid bribery—a challenge reflected in Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) cases. So far this year, over half of all corporate FCPA actions involved bribes paid to Chinese officials, and since 2008, the United States found more cases of misconduct in China than in all other countries combined.

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This Week in Markets and Democracy: U.S. Hunts Stolen Uzbek Assets, Bribery Still Pays, Uganda’s Democracy Backtracks

by Shannon K. O'Neil
A man passes by a poster of Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni and a poster of opposition leader Kizza Besigye in town of Kaabong in Karamoja region, Uganda, February 17, 2016 (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic). A man passes by a poster of Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni and a poster of opposition leader Kizza Besigye in town of Kaabong in Karamoja region, Uganda, February 17, 2016 (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic).

United States Hunts Stolen Uzbek Assets
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is having a hard time collecting foreign officials’ ill-gotten gains. After finding evidence of bribery, the DOJ still needs to physically seize assets. The latest setback comes in the case against the Uzbek president’s daughter, Gulnara Karimova, for accepting bribes from Russian telecoms company VimpelCom. In the current round the DOJ and Uzbekistan are vying for some $114 million stashed in Karimova’s Irish bank accounts. This is just a small part of the $850 million the DOJ believes Karimova hid in accounts across Belgium, Luxembourg, and Ireland. If they get the money the Uzbek government, led by Karimova’s father, is already demanding its “rightful” return to Uzbekistan, the “victim” of corruption.

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This Week in Markets and Democracy: Labor Rights in Supply Chains, Bank Secrecy Act, and the Kimberley Process

by Shannon K. O'Neil
A man displays a rough diamond, from the Boda region, for sale in Bangui May 1, 2014. Despite a 2013 ban on diamond exports by The Kimberley Process, a global watchdog set up to stop the trade in "blood diamonds", rough diamonds are still commonly offered for sale in Central African Republic (Reuters/Emmanuel Braun). A man displays a rough diamond, from the Boda region, for sale in Bangui May 1, 2014. Despite a 2013 ban on diamond exports by The Kimberley Process, a global watchdog set up to stop the trade in "blood diamonds", rough diamonds are still commonly offered for sale in Central African Republic (Reuters/Emmanuel Braun).

Supply Chains Take Center Stage at International Labor Conference
Of the $26 trillion in commerce flowing around the world, over 70 percent are intermediate goods. This reflects the rise of global supply chains. The International Labor Organization (ILO) conference put this dominant means of production on the agenda for the first time this year, addressing working conditions for those within these chains. Government and business leaders from the ILO’s 187 member countries spent the past two weeks debating whether to set official standards to push companies like Walmart, Gap, and Nestlé to address labor violations along their transnational production chains. Though any new rules would be non-binding, historically ILO standards have prompted legislation.

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This Week in Markets and Democracy: International Labor Conference, Brazil’s Corruption Resignations, Politicians vs. the Press

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Garment workers rest inside a factory after their lunch time in Phnom Penh October 8, 2015. Cambodia agreed on Thursday to raise the minimum wage for workers in its crucial textiles and footwear sector to $140 per month from next year, short of the figures demanded by powerful trade unions long at odds with the government over pay (Reuters/Samrang Pring). Garment workers rest inside a factory after their lunch time in Phnom Penh October 8, 2015. Cambodia agreed on Thursday to raise the minimum wage for workers in its crucial textiles and footwear sector to $140 per month from next year, short of the figures demanded by powerful trade unions long at odds with the government over pay (Reuters/Samrang Pring).

Fast Fashion Still Exploits Workers
While multinational retailers such as H&M, Gap, and Walmart can get a swimsuit or sundress from the factory floor to customers’ closets within weeks, new reports show they still do not protect the workers that make this possible. Three years after Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza building collapse, which killed over a thousand workers and injured another 2,500, Walmart refuses to disclose details on factory safety inspections. Documents from a more forthcoming H&M show nearly 80,000 Bangladeshi workers make their clothes in workrooms without basic safety measures such as fire exits. And Gap has balked at Cambodian worker demands for a living wage—they now earn as little as $5 a day. At this week’s International Labor Conference in Geneva, unions and other groups will try to force measures to improve workers’ rights by holding multinationals more accountable.

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