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Ethics Today –

July 2010

New issue of Ethics Today, the ASPA's Ethics Section newsletter, has been published. Get your copy here: Ethics Today Summer 2010.

Ethics Today –

December 2009

New issue of Ethics Today, the ASPA's Ethics Section newsletter, has been published. Get your copy here: Ethics Today Fall 2009.

Ethics Today –

August 2009

New issue of Ethics Today, the ASPA's Ethics Section newsletter, has been published. Get your copy here: Ethics Today Summer 2009.


Ethics, Transparency and Accountability

The end of the cold war; spreading democratization; a shift in balance among the state, the market and civil society; globalization; and changing social mores — among other factors — are altering the environment in which governments are operating. The explosion of new information and communication technologies is also allowing for a rapid, global diffusion of ideas and practices, enabling the public to demand higher standards of ethics, transparency and accountability in the public sector. These prerequisite values of good governance and sustainable development not only buttress responsive public policy and high levels of public sector performance but also play a crucial role in preventing the onset of systemic corruption. There is now international recognition that corruption impedes economic development, undermines stability and erodes trust in public institutions. The pernicious effects of corruption — the lack or poor quality of essential public infrastructure and services — are borne by those the least able to do so: the poor.

Given its mandate of fostering good governance and sound public administration in development, the Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM) supports setting international standards, carries out comparative policy research and analysis, and assists in building capacity in institutions safeguarding public sector ethics, transparency and accountability. The Division's activities are predicated on the analysis that corruption is one symptom of poor administration and mismanagement. These situations allow unscrupulous public officials to exploit opportunities for putting self above public interest, contrary to the spirit of public service. Moreover, the Division's activities also seek to preserve the integrity of other "honest" public officials by putting into place an "ethics infrastructure" that not only provides guidance for good conduct but also administratively and legally punishes misconduct. The "ethics infrastructure" includes measures to enhance and preserve organizational integrity, access to information that promotes transparency and accountability, and oversight by independent institutions and the public at large. In conducting its activities in this area, the Division has tried to best leverage the United Nations' uniquely global membership, through fostering international dialogue and the exchange of experiences.

Publications and Tools

Discussion Paper on Integrity, Transparency and Accountability in Public Administration by Elia Armstrong, August 2005

Abstract: This paper discusses a resurgence of integrity, transparency and accountability in public administrations within the past three decades; developments in European, Arab, Sub-Saharan, Latin American and Asia-Pacific countries in this area; developments at the international level; and emerging issues for developed, developing and all countries.

Public Sector Transparency and Accountability in Selected Arab Countries: Policies and Practices (2004) English Arabic French (to come)

Abstract: This report presents a qualitative analysis of the state of public sector transparency and accountability in the Arab Region. A comparison of policies and practices for the six countries under study (Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia and Yemen) serves as the basis for this report. The comparative information has been compiled into an online database at Transparency and Accountability in the Public Sector in the Arab Region. Because the participating countries were chosen to be representative, the main findings and policy recommendations may also be applicable to other countries in the region. In addition, country case studies have been annexed to provide country-specific analysis and policy recommendations. The study is based on a review of pertinent documents at the policy level and a survey of experts at the practice level

Public Service Professional Ethics For Africa (Manual/CD-ROM) (2003)

Abstract: Professional ethics for the civil service is today a very complex matter. While there is increasing agreement, including at the international level, about what to do to curb official corruption, comparable agreement about how to answer the central daily ethics question, namely, "What is my ethical duty, in terms of the public interest, in this matter?" is continually elusive. The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, with the African Training Research Centre in Administration for Development (CAFRAD), has developed a CD-ROM and training manual on ethical dilemmas (nepotism, favoritism, etc.) to which every civil servant may be daily exposed. These training materials place emphasis on action rather than theory.

Anti-Corruption Symposium 2001: The Role of On-line Procedures in Promoting Good Governance (2003)

Abstract: This publication contains a summary of the discussions and background papers of the Seoul Anti-Corruption Symposium 2001. It contributes to the fight against corruption, better public administration and ultimately good governance.

Manual on Online Procedures Enhancement for Civil Applications (OPEN) (2002)

Abstract: The OPEN (Online Procedures Enhancement for Civil Applications) System adopted by the Seoul Metropolitan Government is a dynamic system that makes available real time information on the status of an application for a permit, licence or some other municipal-level service currently in process until finalization. This manual on the OPEN System was developed in partnership with the Seoul Metropolitan Government and reviewed by peers at the Seoul Anti-Corruption Symposium 2001.

Public Service Ethics in Africa, Volume 1 (2001)
Public Service Ethics in Africa, Volume 2 (2002)

Abstract: This study compares the ethics legislation, policies, programmes and practices of ten sub-Saharan countries: Cameroon, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, and Uganda. Volume 1 presents an overview of the study findings from which other sub-Saharan countries can draw lessons. Volume 2 compiles country-level reports, provided by the national consultants for the project, highlighting the individual contexts and concerns of the participating countries.

L'éthique de la Fonction Publique en Afrique, Volume 1 (2001)
L'éthique de la Fonction Publique en Afrique, Volume 2 (2002)

Extrait: La présente étude compare, en matière d'éthique, les legislations, les politiques, les programmes et les pratiques de dix pays subsahariens: l'Afrique du Sud, le Cameroun, le Gabon, le Ghana, le Kenya, Madagascar, la Namibie, le Nigéria, l'Ouganda et le Sénégal. Le volume 1 présente une vue d'ensemble des résultats de l'étude, à partir desquels d'autres pays subsahariens peuvent tirer des leçons. Le volume 2 présente les rapports nationaux préparés par des consultants de ces pays pour le projet, en mettant en relief les contexts et problèmes spécifiques à chacun des pays qui y ont participé.

General Report of the Third Pan-African Conference of the Ministers of Civil Service (2001)

Abstract: The report contains the proceedings of the meeting of the Third Pan-African Conference of Ministers of Civil Service, held in Namibia, 5-6 February 2001, to discuss the role of African institutes of training in public administration and to analyse the changing environment to which the public service in Africa must respond. The report outlines the Charter for the Public Service in Africa adopted at the Conference.

Development Administration Newsletter 2001, Issue 1, Number 102

Abstract: This issue highlights the activities of the Division for Public Administration and Management Development of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, under the theme of public service professionalism and ethics. Some of the activities described were introduced in past issues of the Newsletter and are updated in this issue.

African Public Service: New Challenges, Professionalism and Ethics (2000):

Introduction
Part I

Part II


Abstract: This publication is the report of the Second Pan-African Conference of Ministers of Civil Service, attended by ministers and high-level representatives of 35 countries, held in Rabat, Morocco in December 1998. The event was co-organized by United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the African Training Research Centre in Administration for Development (CAFRAD) and hosted by the Kingdom of Morocco. The report discusses the need for the public services in Africa to reposition themselves in the face of globalization and in the aftermath of structural adjustment programmes.

La fonction publique africaine: nouveaux defies, professionalisme et éthique (2000)

Extrait: Cette publication est le rapport des travaux de la Deuxième Conférence Panafricaine des Ministres de la Fonction Publique, tenue à Rabat, Maroc en décembre 1998 et à laquelle ont pris part les ministres et représentants de haut niveau de 35 pays. Cette Conférence a été conjointement organisée par le Département des Affaires Economiques et Sociales des Nations Unies et le Centre Africain de Formation et de Recherches Administratives et de Développment (CAFRAD). Le rapport met en relief la nécessité pour le Service public en Afrique de se repositionner afin de faire face aux défis de la mondialisation, au lendemain des programmes d'ajustement structurels qu'a connu le continent.

Professionalism and Ethics in the Public Service: Issues and Practices in Selected Regions (2000)

Abstract: This report provides an overview of conferences on professionalism and ethics in the public service, co-organized by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs in 1997 and 1998. Based on the proceedings of these events, the report presents case studies in Africa, Brazil as well as Central and Eastern European countries.

Promoting Ethics in the Public Service (2000)

Abstract: This publication is a report of a national conference on public service ethics, held in Brasilia, Brazil in December 1997. The conference was co-organized by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs with the Brazilian Ministry of Federal Administration and State Reform and the Council of State Reform. The report discusses public service ethics within a state reform towards a managerial form of administration and provides an example of ethics programmes in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Public Service in Transition: Enhancing Its Role, Professionalism, Ethical Values and Standards (1999)

Abstract: This publication is a report of a regional conference of 21 Central and Eastern European countries on public service professionalism and ethics, held in Thessaloniki, Greece in November 1997. The conference was co-organized by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the United Nations Development Programme and the Government of Greece. The report focuses on the challenges faced by countries adopting a new role for the State in introducing and reinforcing measures in upholding public service professionalism and ethics.

Transparency and Accountability in Government Financial Management (1999)

Abstract: This document is a report of an online Ad Hoc Expert Group Meeting on Effecting Transparency and Accountability in Government Financial Management, organized by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs in June 1997. The focus of the Meeting was on weaknesses in systems of accountability and transparency that facilitate unethical behaviour, and the aim was to suggest solutions to these weaknesses. The report comprises a basic issues paper by the UN Secretariat, country papers covering: Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Swaziland and Uganda, and a Report of the Experts.

Role of SAIs in fighting corruption and mismanagement: report on the 12th
UN/INTOSAI seminar on government auditing ( 1997)

Abstract: Report of a seminar held in Vienna, 21-25 October 1996. It discusses general aspects of fighting corruption; the role of Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) in detecting mismanagement and inefficiency; and strategies and measures to control corruption in public administration. It also looks at the role of SAIs in promoting efficient and effective financial management and their contribution to prevent and detect corruption in public procurement.

Aid Management and Accountability Initiative (1996)

Abstract: In a global environment, effective aid management has become a critical concern to donors and recipients alike, as has funds accountability. To address this issue, the Division for Public Administration and Development Management organized an aid accountability project funded by a consortium of donors. This project dealt with: (1) profiles of individual donor aid accountability requirements; (2) case studies of aid management and accountability issues in selected recipient countries; (3) the Aid Management and Accountability Framework (AMAF); and (4) customization of the AMAF in three least developed countries in 1994. During this process the programme has accumulated a unique body of data and experience in aid management and accountability requirements at the global level. The field work indicates there is no standardized solution to aid management and accountability issues. Against this backdrop, the AMAF provides an analytical approach to assessing aid management and accountability capabilities and needs in this important area for resources mobilization.

Report of the Third Working Group Meeting on Harmonization of Donors' Aid Accountability Requirements (1993)

Abstract: The report covers aid management and accountability procedures in a number of developing countries, presents the framework for harmonizing aid management and accountability suggested by the group of experts, and reviews the proposed project work plan for the future.

Corruption in Government: Report of an Interregional Seminar (1990)

Abstract: This report has two parts. Part one covers: (1) national responses; (2) the emerging concerns of illicit drug traffic, debt and economic adjustment, and abuse of state power; (3) administrative implications of government corruption; (4) institutional and practical measures against corruption; (5) corruption and the criminal justice system; and (6) priorities and recommendations. Part two contains three papers prepared for the seminar by experts from Greece, Guyana, and Poland.


Technical Cooperation Activities

Partnership with OECD and Transparency International: 6th Global Forum on Reinventing Government: Workshop on Public Service Ethics and Trust in Government (2005)

Partnership with UNDP Regional Bureau for Arab States and the Dubai School of Government: Regional Forum on Reinventing Government in the Arab States: Integrity, Transparency and Accountability in the Public Sector (2005)

Partnership with UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa Regional Project, RAF/03/017: Mainstreaming Public Sector Professionalism and Ethics in Africa: the Charter for the Public Service in Africa (2004)

Partnership with the Collège des Inspecteurs Généraux des Ministères du Maroc and National Democratic Institute:

Workshop on Ethics in the Public Service (2003):

Partnership with the Public Ethics Commission of Brazil:

4th Conference of Brazilian Public Service Ethics Commission, 2003: Presentation on Combatting Corruption: Where are we today?

Third Conference of Brazilian Public Ethics Commission, 2002:
Presentation on Communicating Public Service Ethical Values and Standards

Second Conference of Brazilian Public Ethics Commission, 2002:
Presentation on Public Service Ethics Global Practices and Tools

Colloquium on Promoting Ethics in the Public Service, 1997:

Partnership with UNDP Regional Bureau for Arab States: SPPD Project, RAB/01/006: Transparency and Accountability in the Public Sector in the Arab Region (2002/3)

SPPD Project, UGA/02/005: Support to the Uganda National Strategy for Mainstreaming Ethics, Integrity and Anti-Corruption Practices in All Institutions (2002)

Partnership with Seoul Metropolitan Government): Online Procedures Enhancement for Civil Applications (OPEN SYSTEM) (2001-2003)

Partnership with UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa: SPPD Project, RAF/99/004: Public Service Ethics in Africa (1999-2002)

Partnership with the Permanent Mission of Australia to the United Nations:

Desktop Ethics for Today's Public Officials: A CD-ROM Demonstration Session (1999)


United Nations Documents

Charter for the Public Service in Africa
United Nations Economic and Social Council/General Assembly document (A/56/63-E/2001/21)
Letter Dated 11 April 2001 from the Permanent Representative of Namibia to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General
Arabic Chinese English French Russian Spanish

Ibero-American Charter for the Public Service
United Nations Economic and Social Council/General Assembly document (A/58/193)
Letter dated 28 July 2003 from the Chargé d’affaires a.i. of the Permanent Mission of Bolivia to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General

Arabic Chinese English French Russian Spanish

Seoul Anti-Corruption Symposium 2001
United Nations General Assembly document (A/C.3/56/6)
Letter Dated 23 October 2001 from the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General
Arabic Chinese English French Russian Spanish

Resolution Adopted by the General Assembly - Political Conference for Signing of Convention (A/RES/57/169)
Arabic Chinese English French Russian Spanish

Resolution Adopted by the General Assembly - Terms of Reference for International Legal Instrument (A/RES/56/260)
Arabic Chinese English French Russian Spanish

Resolution Adopted by the General Assembly - An Effective International Legal Instrument against Corruptioin (A/RES/55/61)
Arabic Chinese English French Russian Spanish German

Resolution Adopted by the General Assembly - Preventing and Combating Corrupt Practices and Illegal Transfer of Funds and Repatriation of Such Funds to the Countries of Origin (A/RES/55/188)
Arabic Chinese English French Russian Spanish German

Resolution Adopted by the General Assembly - Action Against Corruption (A/54/128)
Arabic Chinese English French Russian Spanish

Resolution Adopted by the General Assembly - Prevention of Corrupt Practices and Illegal Transfer of Funds (A/RES/54/205)
Arabic Chinese English French Russian Spanish German

Resolution Adopted by the General Assembly - Action against Corruption and Bribery in International Commercial Transactions (A/RES/53/176)
Arabic Chinese English French Russian Spanish

Resolution Adopted by the General Assembly - International Cooperation against Corruption and Bribery in International Commercial Transactions (A/RES/52/87)
Arabic Chinese English French Russian Spanish

Resolution Adopted by the General Assembly - Action against Corruption (A/RES/51/59)
Annex: United Nations International Code of Conduct for Public Officials
Arabic Chinese English French Russian Spanish

Resolution Adopted by the General Assembly - International Cooperation against Corruption and Bribery in International Commercial Transactions (A/RES/51/191)
Arabic Chinese English French Russian Spanish

United Nations Convention Against Corruption and Related Documents

United Nations Organizational Integrity Initiative


Contributions to Other Events

4th Global Forum on Combatting Corruption: From Words to Deeds Anti-Corruption, June 2005, Brasilia, Brazil:

Forum for a Global Integrity Alliance Presentation at Session I: Organizational ethics: a value based approach to promoting integrity, democratic governance and the fight against corruption, and Balancing a value-driven approach with a compliance-driven approach to promote organizational integrity, March 2004, Istanbul, Turkey

Council on Government Ethics Laws 2002 Conference: Presentation on Public Sector Ethics in the Developing World, October 2003, Ottawa, Canada

11th IACC: Workshop on Depoliticizing the Civil Service, May 2003, Seoul, Republic of Korea

Global Forum 3 on Fighting Corruption and Safeguarding Integrity: Organizing Committee Member and Workshops on Decentralization, E-Corruption, and Beyond Nepotism and Cronyism to Promote the Public Interest, May 2003, Seoul, Republic of Korea

Forum on Ensuring Accountability and Transparency in the Public Sector: Presentation on the Experiences, Developments, and Challenges of the Public Ethics Committee at Focus Group 1 on Managing Conflicts of Interest, December 2001, Brasilia, Brazil

10th IACC: Workshop on Can Ethics Be Audited? 10 Ways an Organization Can Scrutinize Its Ethics, and 10 Reasons Why It Should, October 2001, Prague, The Czech Republic (Workshop Report)

US Office of Government Ethics Annual Meeting 2002: Presentation on Assessing Progress in International Anti-Corruption Programs, September 2000, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Anti-Corruption Summit 2000, Presentation on Why Anti-Corruption Crusades Often Fail to Win Lasting Victories, (PowerPoint Presentation) September 2000, Arlington, Virginia, USA

10th UN Congress on the Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Offenders: Presentation on Promoting Professionalism and Ethics in the Public Service at the Workshop on Combating Corruption, April 2000, Vienna, Austria

9th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) - Panel on Ethics Management in the Public Sector, Presentation on Evaluation and Effectiveness of Ethics Programmes, October 1999, Durban, South Africa

International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) Bangkok, Senior Criminal Justice Executive Program on Corruption, Presentation on Transparency and Impediments to Transparency, July 1999, Bangkok, Thailand



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