Youth Empowerment Synergy participated in the 18th International Anti-Corruption Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark under the theme, “Together for Peace, Security and Development”. The programme attracted 1,800 participants originating 144 countries, comprising government officials, journalists, civil society activists, filmmakers and businesspersons. In the opening remarks, the Prime Minister of Denmark, Lars Løkke Rasmussen emphasised the need for trust in public service delivery and in the financial system of every country. He opined that mistrust of the system is a threat to a country’s development.
Our Policy and Advocacy Manager, Obaa Akua Konadu, spoke as the youth representative on the panel “Why Youth Matters: Young People in the Fight against Corruption”. She highlighted the essence of engaging the youth in the fight against corruption for both current and future gains. She strongly advocated for deepening youth-led strategies in the fight against corruption at all levels.
Some of the topics discussed were Promoting Good Governance for Peace and Security, Fighting Facilitation Payment – Innovative or Insane and Promoting Accountable and Transparent Institutions at all Levels. There were also films on transparency and justice which included ‘Strike A Rock’. A documentary by a young South African filmmaker Aliki Saragas, which documents how women in Marikana organised and advocated for justice after a massacre in 2012. Present at the conference was Hon. Primrose Sonti (MP) – affiliated to the Economic Freedom Fighters (an opposition party in South Africa), a member of this women’s movement who was consequently elected into Parliament.
During the conference, it was agreed upon that corruption can no longer be an acceptable cost of doing business, and no matter how corruption evolves and adapts, it needs to be tackled at all levels. A multi-stakeholder engagement was touted as one of the most useful approaches of fighting corruption. The partnership between government, the private sector and civil society is very much needed in this fight. Also, it is also critical to empower and engage citizens’ interests and power in becoming social auditors to monitor and hold duty bearers accountable. Anti-corruption bearers were charged to work with greater urgency in changing the landscape. In the words of Huguette Labelle, the Chair of the International Anti-Corruption Conference Council, “young people must not fall prey to terrorism and populism; they should be empowered and be actively engaged in the fight against corruption”.
Two anti-corruption crusaders and whistle blowers, Ana Garrido Ramos of Spain and the late Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia were honoured as winners of the 2018 Anti-Corruption Award.