Anti-corruption campaigners call on Prime Minister to deliver on transparency

International anti-corruption activists took their message to Downing Street with The ONE Campaign this morning, urging Prime Minister David Cameron to deliver strong commitments on transparency at the G8 Summit.

Six transparency champions, including Nobel Peace Laureate Tawakkol Karman, gave first-hand accounts of how a transparency revolution could transform lives in developing countries. Giving citizens the information they need to follow the money and to hold governments to account can help deliver real results in the fight against poverty, disease, hunger and malnutrition.

The breakfast meeting came ahead of the Government’s ‘Open for Growth: Trade, tax & transparency’ event in London. It was an opportunity for the Prime Minister to hear directly how opening up access to information can help beat corruption, drive up standards in public services and empower citizens.

It highlighted the role that transparency champions have played in fighting against corruption and for better governance. The Prime Minister met:

  • Aruna Roy, leader of the Right to Information movement in India
  • John Githongo, CEO of Inuka Kenya Trust fka Zinduko Trust
  • Rakesh Rajani, Head of Twaweza, an initiative to enhance access to information, citizen agency, and public accountability in East Africa
  • Juliana Rotich, Co-founder and Executive Director of Ushahidi
  • Tawakkol Karman, Yemeni activist and member of High Level Panel on post-2015 framework
  • Silas Siakor, Liberian activist

Rakesh Rajani, Founder & Head of Twaweza said:

“When people have information they have power. They can hold leaders and companies accountable, improving the efficiency of public services and tackling corruption. I told the Prime Minister the G8 must make information public if they are serious about transparency and people being able to follow their money. It starts with cleaning up the G8’s own house, getting rid of tax havens that let fat-cats dodge taxes and having public registers of who owns what. Only then can developing countries have the means to retain and invest their own money, and use it to get out of poverty.”

The group discussed the impact of open information in fighting corruption and driving up standards of governance. They also emphasised that transparency must be translated into things that make a real difference to people’s lives, such as better health services, better education and more productive agriculture.

Adrian Lovett, ONE’s Europe Executive Director, who also attended the meeting said:

“The G8 can play its part in ending extreme poverty and eradicating preventable disease if it supports a transparency revolution, so that people can follow the money and track results. In these crucial final days before the summit, the UK Government must continue to lobby its G8 partners, with no let-up in pace or ambition. G8 partners must decide where they want to be – backing and shaping the transparency revolution or resisting the tide of history.”

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

1.       ONE is a nonpartisan campaigning and advocacy organization of more than three million people taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease… because the facts show extreme poverty has already been cut in half and can be virtually eliminated by 2030.  Learn more at one.org

2.       ONE is calling for G8 leaders to unleash a transparency revolution. We are calling for action on three key areas:

  • Making data available: Making public information about the payments made to governments by oil, gas and mining companies, boosting tax transparency and cracking down on secret companies (aka Phantom Firms) so that African countries can benefit from their natural resources.
  • Making data user-friendly: Agreeing ground rules about how information is made public, so that it can be used to follow the money – including aid money – from resources to results.
  • Making sure that data can be used effectively: Investing in the capacity of citizens’ organisations, parliaments and the media to use data to hold governments and companies to account.

3.       Brief biographies of the attendees:

John Githongo – CEO of Inuka Kenya Trust fka Zinduko Trust: John Githongo was nominated for the prestigious Tipperary International Peace Award, alongside U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2012.  He was nominated for the role he played in unearthing the $600 million Anglo-Leasing scandal during his tenure as the Kenya Government and Ethics Permanent Secretary from 2003 to 2005.

Silas Kpanan’Ayoung Siakor – Director of the Sustainable Development Institute: Liberian environmentalist and winner of the 2006 Goldman Environmental Prize, for his revealing of illegal logging in Liberia and its connection to the civil war which led to export sanctions from the United Nations Security Council.

Juliana Rotich – Co-Founder and Executive Director of Ushahidi Inc: Co-Founder of Ushahidi, a web based reporting system that utilizes crowdsourced data to formulate visual map information of a crisis on a real-time basis.  She was named one of the Top 100 women by the Guardian newspaper and top 2 women in Technology 2011, and Social Entrepreneur of the year 2011 by The World Economic Forum.

Aruna Roy – Political and Social Activist: Founder of the Indian Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS, the “Workers and Peasants Strength Union”) and the National Campaign for Peoples Right to Information (NCPRI) which led to the enactment of the Right to Information Act in 2005. Emerged among Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world in 2011.

Rakesh R. Rajani – Founder & Head of Twaweza: Rajani has co-founded and served as the first executive director of two other organizations in Tanzania—HakiElimu, the country’s leading education advocacy organization and the Kuleana Center for Children’s Rights. He has also served as a consultant on international development for the Hewlett Foundation, Google.org, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation’s Office for East Africa, and UNICEF, among others.

Tawakkol Karman – Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, President of Women Journalists Without Chains: Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 in recognition of her work in nonviolent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work in Yemen. Upon being awarded the prize, Tawakkol became the first Yemeni, the first Arab woman, and the second Muslim woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize, as well as the youngest Nobel Peace Laureate to date, at the age of 32.

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