Anna Nadgrodkiewicz and Marko Tomicic present the Implementation Gap handbook.
This past week, CIPE’s Cairo field office worked with partners Federation of Economic Development Associations (FEDA) and United Group to facilitate a conference on “Combating Corruption between the State and the Society.” The event was intended to summarize the lessons learned and experience gained by CIPE and its partners since 2008 under CIPE Egypt’s U.S. Agency for International Development- funded Combating Corruption and Promoting Transparency program, and to lay the groundwork for the newly-funded, two-year next phase of the initiative.
Of particular interest to the approximately 120 Egyptians present were two panelists who telecasted in from our Washington, DC office to share their perceptions of the “implementation gap” in Egyptian governance.
Marko Tomicic, a manager at the innovative transparency, governance, and corruption research organization Global Integrity, encouraged the audience to shy away from the conventional reliance on ranking indexes to understand the relative successes and failures of a country, and in particular, their own country.
In every country, sound laws are a key foundation of democratic governance and economic development. Crafting such laws, however, is only part of the path to success. The other half is making sure that the laws are properly implemented – which is often more challenging.
When laws and regulations are not properly adopted, such discrepancy creates an implementation gap – the difference between laws on the books and how they function in practice. This gap can have very negative consequences for democratic governance and the economic prospects of countries and communities. When laws are not properly implemented, that undermines the credibility of government officials, fuels corruption, and presents serious challenges for business, which in turn hampers economic growth.
This is especially true at the local level. Implementation gaps are particularly visible and often most painfully felt at the local level, where poor governance and weak administration of laws have the greatest impact on the daily lives of ordinary citizens.
To help better understand why implementation gaps happen and how they can be addressed CIPE and Global Integrity launched a new guidebook, Improving Public Governance: Closing the Implementation Gap Between Law and Practice. The guidebook is based on extensive experience from both organizations’ work with local partners around the world on advancing accountable, transparent, and honest public governance and business environments.
Yesterday, we hosted Global Integrity’s Nathaniel Heller who presented the most recent results of the 2009 Global Integrity Report and gave an interesting overview of corruption measurements and their practical relevance.
Global Integrity ranks 70 countries based on the quality of their governance institutions, and there are some interesting developments in this year’s index. On the positive side, their “grand corruption watch list” lost 3 countries due to improvements over the past few years – China, Georgia, and Serbia. On the negative side, however, that same list got 6 new members – Algeria, Jordan, Liberia, Mongolia, Ukraine, and Vietnam.
One of the more interesting things that Global Integrity measures is implementation gaps, which are sufficiently large in some developing countries, illustrating that oftentimes what countries need is not necessarily new laws and regulations, but better enforcement of existing rules. For two biggest offenders in this category – Uganda and Bosnia – a large implementation gap is also linked to high levels of donor assistance. Which begs a question: “Are aid-dependent countries more likely to exhibit large implementation gaps?”