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PCI Anticorruption strategy - mitigation and transformation

In this video, Dr Pallavi Roy describes the strategy of "mitigation and transformation" in situations where corruption is widespread and intractable.

In this video, Dr Pallavi Roy describes the strategy of “mitigation and transformation” in situations where corruption is widespread and intractable.

Mitigation, because in many sectoral cases, corruption can be so intractable that there are no opportunities for enhancing effective horizontal checks or indeed even creating effective horizontal checks and vertical enforcement is virtually impossible. This is because corruption is intractable and corruption is very widespread, and the returns from corruption are also shared widely among very powerful members of that particular sector, and even less powerful members of that sector, maybe like the local community.

For example, in the extractive sector which can be subject to state capture, to political capture that there aren’t enough transparent means to figure out where the money is going. The money trail can’t be followed, and the stakes and agendas are really too high. So in this case, corruption is actually intractable. What essentially happens is that the unreasonable corruption of the majority cannot be separated from the reasonable corruption of the minority, which basically means that corruption is far too widespread in that particular community. In this case what might the anti-corruption strategy be?

This kind of corruption is commonplace, but what we are suggesting is that the corruption cannot be directly addressed. There aren’t any means for horizontal enforcement because there are simply no opportunities for horizontal enforcement. But in the case of the poorer and more vulnerable members in the sector, many host and local communities within oil producing communities or mineral rich areas, can be very badly affected by the consequences of this corruption – this could be environmental or health related consequences to pollution related that is as a result of corruption in the extractive sector.

In this situation it may be possible to mitigate some of the damaging effects of the corruption in the short-term. In the long term, the solution is a gradual transformation, with policy for livelihood creation, which would provide alternative income generating opportunities in very legal and rule following ways.

An important unconventional aspect of the mitigation and transformation strategy is that governments should not go down the route of vertical top-down enforcement which criminalises these existing activities. This is because most of the time vertical enforcement criminalises the local communities who are really being corrupt for very legitimate or reasonable reasons, and the really powerful people normally get away scot-free. The best thing to do in these cases is not to waste time, resources and money on these kind of top-down criminalising approaches. Instead invest in the mitigation aspects of it and then move into the more transformative aspects of this solution which is to try and design secure and sustainable livelihoods for these communities.

Recommended reading. Pages 34-36 of Mitigation and transformation strategies describes SOAS ACE’s proposed mitigation and transformation strategies in situations where “networked corruption” mean that it may not be possible to use feasible policies to create rule-following opportunities for the majority.

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