Waterloo, Canada - Building upon his work on African economic issues, CIGI Senior Resaercher Hany Besada has written a narrative account that summarizes the papers presented at the Oxford Workshop on Peace Building and Corruption, University of Oxford held March 22-23, one of which was on Liberia's anti-corruption efforts. The event was presented by the American Political Science Association.
Every year, the international community spends billions of dollars on peace building activities and post-conflict reconstruction. Often, a significant portion of these funds are siphoned off due to corrupt activities, eroding confidence in new democratic institutions, undermining economic development, diverting scarce public resources for infrastructure investments, and reducing the delivery of vital social services. International actors have tried to limit local corruption by establishing anticorruption commissions and instituting stringent anti-corruption policies, but these efforts could best be described as marginally successful. The problem is not only one of local corruption, but also corruption within the international community. International business interests, NGOs, individual countries, and the UN also contribute to the corruption problem.
In light of the challenges posed by the post-conflict environment, the workshop sought to answer four important questions regarding peace building efforts and corruption in post-conflict states. Firstly, how does corruption affect the priorities and strategies of the international community in the peace building process? Secondly, to what extent does the presence of peace building missions and the international community further corruption? Thirdly, why is corruption more pervasive in some peace building missions that in others? Lastly, what are some of the policy and institutional reform recommendations that have been successful in combating corruption in post-conflict situations?