UNDP, ECOWAS partner in whistleblower protection sensitization

Mar 22, 2017

Sensitization meeting participants pose for a photo in Monrovia, Liberia (Photo, UNDP Nigeria)

UNDP partnered with ECOWAS the Commission on its advocacy and sensitization missions on Whistleblowers’ Protection Strategy to Cotonou, Benin Republic and Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. The two missions were undertaken in  February and March respectively.

In line with Article 5 of the Protocol on the Fight Against Corruption which requires that ECOWAS Member States adopt laws and other measures to ensure effective and adequate protection of persons who, acting in good faith, provide information on acts of corruption,  the purpose of the meetings was to sensitize Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), media practitioners and operational staff of national anti-corruption institutions in the two countries on the ECOWAS Whistleblower Protection Strategy.

The engagements also acted as starting points for a process to enable CSOs to advocate for the enactment of a national policy framework on whistleblower protection which would strengthen the fight against corruption.

Participants (Photo above) discussed various approaches to enhancing effecitiveness in national-level accountability goals including the need to ensure a balance between demands and supply sides of accountability mechanisms that vary from country to country.  For example, in situations were instutional capacity of law enforcement agencies was weak, conducting corruption risk assessments and developing integrity plans could help in sustaining approaches to preventing corrupt practices, and building a culture of transparency, critical to the successful implementation of whistleblowers-related policies.

Experiences were also shared on effective approaches to ensure policies in place were implemented by anti-corruption agencies and other law enforcement wings of governments in the region to not only encourage whistleblowing, but protecting those ‘blowing the whistle’ .

In Benin Republic, goodwill messages were delivered by Mr Gilbert Poumangue representative of UNDP Benin Country Office. Mr. Segun Olusola, who represented UNDP Nigeria, shared Nigeria’s experience on the norms and standards for the institutionalization of whistle-blowing, as well as the realities, prospects and challenges being experienced in the implementation process in Nigeria. He also shared with participants, the elements of a whistleblower policy and the different levels at which it could be enacted, and the benefits, risk and challenges associated with its implementation.
The meeting ended up with a Communique in which participants agreed on the practical steps to be taken by CSOs to ensure the enactment of a national whistleblower protection strategy in Benin and Cote d’Ivoire. The Communique also committed UNDP Benin and Cote d’Ivoire in collaboration with the ECOWAS Commission, to organize training programmes for CSOs and media practitioners on preventive measures, especially through the conduct of Corruption Risk Assessments to combat corruption.

The meetings were attended by a wide range of stakeholders drawn from Government Ministries and Departments in the two countries,  CSOs, UNDP and the ECOWAS Commission, among others.

Communications Specialist

Lucky Musonda

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