The Government of Norway has contributed to the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) Transparency Fund since its inception in 2007, to help countries curb corruption and implement pro-transparency reforms in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).
In 2018, the government of Norway donated an additional $1,1 million.
Norway granted the initial $5M contribution to kick-off the Fund in 2007, and subsequently made two additional donations totaling approximately $7.5M.
Since its launch in 2007, the Transparency Fund has provided technical assistance grants to more than 50 projects worth over $18 million, benefiting 25 countries in LAC to date. The projects have supported government reform, regional dialogue, and policy research in the areas of open government, control systems, financial integrity, and natural resource governance.
Despite more than 20 years of application of international conventions – such as the Inter-American Convention against Corruption – corruption does not seem to have diminished. It is, however, now at the top of the policy agenda, as demonstrated by the recent declaration of the Summit of the Americas, powerfully titled “Democratic Governance against Corruption”. Latin American countries face common challenges against which innovative practices and successful models from the region and beyond can provide interesting lessons. The IDB and the Transparency Fund are strategic partners of the ongoing process of institutional and legal strengthening that is taking place in LAC.
“We firmly believe that our efforts in the past ten years have helped ensure governments are more transparent and accountable to their citizens, and that public watchdog institutions are better equipped to do their jobs,” said Joel B. Korn, Interim Chief of the Innovations for Citizens Services Division of IDB’s Department of Institutions for Development. “This has sent a strong signal to all actors that getting away with corrupt behavior is more difficult than ever.”
The Transparency Fund has been the main tool at the Bank’s disposal to move forward the anti-corruption and transparency agenda. As shown in its recent evaluation, the Fund helped countries make remarkable progress in opening up governments and strengthening transparency, integrity and accountability in the management of public resources – thus saving LAC countries’ public funds.
“Ten years ago, when we conceived the idea of this Fund, we envisaged something innovative to help countries pave the way for reforms that curb corruption and systematically instill transparency as a key principle in the management of public funds. The Fund has gone beyond that, becoming instrumental for the support of the IDB to initiatives focused on anti-money laundering, control and audit functions and conflicts of interest, among others,” indicated Harald Tollan, Norway’s Counsellor at the IDB.
The experience of Norway in the governance sector is an international best practice . Moreover, Norway, in specific areas, such as in the extractive sector, including its sovereign wealth fund, represents an invaluable source of expertise in supporting beneficiary countries. The country has provided a steady inspiration to the Fund by also extending its initial scope and including new areas of work, such as open government and tax transparency.
Highlights from projects financed by the Transparency Fund include helping three countries become compliant with the Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative, the main global initiative in extractives governance. Additionally, Paraguay and Costa Rica are launching an award-winning portal (MapaInversiones) to make public investments more transparent through the use of ICT.
The Fund’s grants have played a critical role in driving integrity reforms and have mobilized over $1.4 billion in IDB loans in this sector. These include operations to strengthen Colombia’s Office of the Inspector General, and to support the transparency and integrity agenda in Chile and Argentina. These loans represent long-term commitments from countries to work on transparency and anti-corruption in partnership with the IDB.
The Transparency Fund is also supported by the government of Canada and the Mastercard Corporation since 2014, while Italy joined alongside Sweden in December 2017. The IDB also contributed with a donation to the Fund in 2011.
About the Inter-American Development Bank
The Inter-American Development Bank is devoted to improving lives. Established in 1959, the IDB is a leading source of long-term financing for economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB also conducts cutting-edge research and provides policy advice, technical assistance and training to public and private sector clients throughout the region.