An Historic Agreement: Public-Private Partnership to Safeguard Yemen’s Future

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The stakes are high in Yemen’s ongoing political transition, but recently the Yemeni government and private sector took steps to ensure that this transition will lead to greater security and opportunity for all Yemenis.

Yemen’s recent history has been marked by popular demand for better governance and a more democratic policymaking process. This demand has been seen from the 2011 popular uprisings, to political demonstrations, grassroots activism, and widespread participation in the National Dialogue Conference. Meanwhile, the price of ignoring these demands and of failing to listen to sensible recommendations for improving governance, security, and the economy has been illustrated by ongoing instability throughout the country.

On November 18, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Government of Yemen and the Yemeni private sector was signed, establishing a public-private partnership to foster an enabling environment for business creation and youth employment, a step that is unprecedented in that country. This event marked an important step toward inclusive governance and effective policymaking in Yemen. Such cooperation between the government and non-governmental sectors like the business community is vital to ensuring that Yemeni citizens can participate in the democratic process, which is necessary to promote inclusive economic development, security, and employment, and to reduce violence and extremism.

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Realizing OGP Objectives

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The Open Government Partnership has an ambitious agenda to advance transparency and accountability in government, which it seeks to advance through voluntary commitments, citizen engagement, and progress monitoring reports. It has garnered many adherents since it was launched by eight countries in 2011, and its members have already implemented numerous practical reforms.

At the OGP Americas Regional Meeting in Costa Rica, we had the opportunity to take stock of accomplishments and learn from practitioners about what makes the partnership work and how to sustain it. I was struck by the scale of the effort in several countries despite their resource constraints, as well as the concerns voiced by civil society for the integrity of overall reform.

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How the Trade Facilitation Agreement Fights Corruption at the Border

Moving goods across borders is a source of corruption around the world.

The process of moving goods across borders is a major source of corruption around the world.

As the world commemorates International Anti-Corruption Day, renewed progress in the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) provides a reason for optimism in the fight against corruption.

Reached during last year’s World Trade Organization (WTO) accord in Bali, the TFA creates binding commitments across 159(+) WTO members to expedite movement, release and clearance of goods, improve cooperation on customs matters, and moreover, help developing countries effectively meet these obligations.

The TFA is also a potentially invaluable tool for tackling corruption as the simplification of customs procedures can greatly reduce opportunities for corruption. As the World Bank’s Customs Modernization Handbook sets forth, customs procedures are a key source of corruption, as officials and workers seek bribes in order to move goods in and out of the country.

Given the formidable barrier that corruption poses for both developed and developing countries, one may question how explicitly this agreement will challenge corruption, and what this will look like in terms of activities creating outcomes. In an Economic Reform Feature Service article released by CIPE today, Laura B. Sherman, senior legal adviser at Transparency International USA, breaks the larger TFA into its individual components and addresses in practical terms how each will translate into activities that prevent corruption.

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Together Women Entrepreneurs Achieve More

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Last week I celebrated Thanksgiving in an unusual way. Instead of turkey and cranberry sauce – Italian pizza and pasta. Instead of family and relatives, over 30 new acquaintances who are impressive women business leaders from around the world. All this thanks to a generous invitation from the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organization (ITCILO) in Turin to a stock-taking conference “Employers’ Organizations and Women Entrepreneurs: How to Reach Out?”

The conference was the final event of a three-year ITCILO initiative conducted with the support from the Dutch Employers Cooperation Programme (DECP) to better connect employers’ organizations with women entrepreneurs, who tend to be underrepresented. This initiative set out to build capacity of employers’ organizations on how to organize and represent women entrepreneurs effectively, and to ensure that women entrepreneurs can benefit from being part of a collective business voice in terms of access and influence over policymaking and direct benefit from the services provided by business organizations to their members.

A series of regional workshops ensued in Eastern and Southern Africa, Asia-Pacific, West Africa, the Caribbean, and the Maghreb, culminating in the Turin event where representatives from the organizations who participated in these workshops came together to exchange lessons learned and produce guidance on best practices.

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Helping Syrian Refugees Rebuild Their Lives With More Than Just Aid

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By James Stricker

Turkey has been one of the most welcoming countries for Syrian refugees since the civil war began there in 2011.  In the early days of the conflict, Turkey declared an “open border policy,” allowing Syrians to enter the country largely uninhibited. Now, in the second half of 2014, the refugee crisis shows no sign of being resolved – while the strife in Syria has only intensified. More than 1.5 million Syrian refugees now live in Turkey, according to the UNHCR, including more than 135,000 who arrived within the span of five days as ISIS stepped up its assaults in Syria.

This sudden influx will almost certainly add to the challenges that many Syrian refugees are facing, but civil society organizations, like CIPE’s partner the Syrian Economic Forum (SEF), are rising to the occasion. SEF is an economic think-tank with an office in Gaziantep, Turkey, that monitors and analyzes economic developments in Syria and informs the debates concerning Syria’s future from a democratic, free-market oriented, and pluralistic perspective.

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2014 Cartoon Competition Winners Announced!

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The votes are in and above are the winners you selected in the 2014 Global Editorial Cartoon Competition!

We received more than 350 entries from 67 countries. The winners are from Syria, El Salvador, and Indonesia. The competition provided a venue for artists from around the world to offer a personal interpretation of challenges faced by many citizens around the world.

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Support CIPE on #GivingTuesday

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CIPE is partnering with #GivingTuesday to celebrate a day of philanthropy on Tuesday, December 2nd. Join the global movement for giving back to the community by donating to CIPE!

Every day, CIPE works with partners around the world to help strengthen democracy and economic freedom. Whether that’s advancing women’s economic empowerment in Latin America or South Asia, fighting against corruption in Lebanon’s private sector, or facilitating candidate debates in Yemen and Paraguay, CIPE supports its partners to have a voice in the process of political and economic governance.

Your donation (whether that’s $20 or $100) will help make a difference! By investing, you are helping to strengthen democracy for tens of millions of men, women, and youth around the world.