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It Will Take Ethical Leadership
 By Stefania Bianchi
Apr 28, 2006 | Inter Press Service (IPS)

GN3 Editorial Comment: Governance failures characterized by scandals and corruption are depressingly wide-spread societal challenges that necessitate a revolution in both societal processes and ethical leadership. One revolution is the increasing realization that effective governance must involve civil society, government and business. The next will be to harness this involvement towards integral sustainable development. As discussed in the article below, rampant corruption has prompted some civil society, government and business leaders to form a new alliance that promotes ethical leadership and advances good governance.

BRUSSELS - A new Global Integrity Alliance (GIA) has been proposed to support coalitions of leaders from different sectors of society committed to integrity in public life.

The new alliance will comprise ethics and anti-corruption experts from non-governmental organisations (NGOs), business companies, multilateral agencies and governments.

The GIA will seek to develop good governance through capacity building, research, dialogue, partnerships and anti-corruption initiatives.

"The Global Integrity Alliance is envisaged as a global support, advocacy and advisory network of leaders in public life, civil society, government and the private sector, who will help their peers in different countries raise the standards of public service, strengthen commitment to good governance, and provide knowledge, expertise, and assistance to reform champions," Kristyn Schrader, communications officer for sustainable development at the World Bank told IPS.

First proposed at the Forum for a Global Integrity Alliance in Turkey two years ago, the concept took some shape at the World Ethics Forum in Oxford earlier this month. That meeting became the start of a process to flesh out what a GIA might look like, what it might do and how it might be done, Schrader said.

"The form, function and governance of the GIA are yet to be determined. An outcome of the Oxford conference was a process to flesh out these issues. A working party, convened by the Ethics Resource Centre (a Washington-based independent group) will consider the outcomes and recommendations from Oxford and prepare a discussion paper for circulation to conference participants," Schrader said.

The impetus behind the alliance is the "recognition that accountability mechanisms, while clearly necessary, are not always sufficient," she said.

"If the underlying public service values base is strengthened with the sponsorship of strong, ethical leaders, institutions have a much greater likelihood of success, and of leading to positive development outcomes."

The World Bank says that despite advances made over the past decade, the challenge to develop more effective ways to promote integrity and to combat corruption is huge.

"Leadership with integrity is the missing link in the current governance discussions," Danny Leipziger, World Bank vice-president for poverty reduction and economic management told IPS.

"The dynamics of ethical leadership are under-analysed, under-appreciated, and under-emphasised by the international community," Sanjay Pradhan, director for public sector governance in the poverty reduction and economic management department at the World Bank told IPS.

"Ethics and integrity are critical factors for development, and the World Ethics Forum allowed the exchange of views among public, private, and civil society leaders to create new joint initiatives and partnerships," he said.

Schrader said an alliance of all sectors at all levels is required to improve ethics and integrity, and to ultimately improve development outcomes.

"Without pre-empting that consensus, it is clear that a coalition of public, private and civil society sectors is required to address the issue of ethics and integrity in leadership," she said.

"Many years of investments by countries, sometimes with the support of the donor community in formal ethics institutions has not yielded the results that countries hoped for," Schraeder said. "What has become clear is that ethics institutions and frameworks are the tip of a very complex iceberg of other factors required to support them: management regimes, institutions and governance more broadly."

The World Bank is insisting that the GIA be driven by leaders from the developing world, not by donors, including the Bank. It says any alliance should be formed only with the active participation of civil society, government, and other leaders from developing countries.

The Bank says there are many examples of individuals or coalitions who have acted with integrity in public life to achieve remarkable development gains for the poor in their countries.

It points to people such as John Githongo, former permanent secretary of governance and ethics in Kenya, who is battling corruption at the highest levels, and Joseph Rugumyamheto, former permanent secretary of Tanzania who was instrumental in achieving wide-ranging reform in the Tanzanian public service. The reforms are credited with achieving enormous improvement in service delivery to the poor.

"These people, with the support of broad coalitions of reformers, who were operating in difficult, often dangerous environments, achieved remarkable improvements in development outcomes for millions," Schrader said.


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