After two years as president of the Network, the National Institute for Transparency, Access to Information and Person al Data Protection of Mexico (INAI) organized the Network’s second plenary session in Mexico City on 10 and 11 December 2018. These two days were an occasion to look back on the actions carried out since the creation of the Network and to discuss its current activities.
The first day allowed members to reflect on the first two years of the Network’s existence. This was an opportunity to recall that the initiative has expanded to include a member, the Commission on Ethics of High-Ranking Officials of the Republic of Armenia, and two observers, the Standards in Public Office Commission of Ireland and the Institute for Access to Public Information of El Salvador. Moreover, the Network has also increased its visibility thanks to the workshops and panels created on the sidelines of events held by international organizations or initiatives, like the Network’s workshop organized in Paris in March 2018, or the panels at the global summit of the Open Government Partnership in Tbilisi in July 2018, and at the International Anti-corruption Conference in Copenhagen last October.
During the year 2018, three working groups were set up on ethics in the public sector, on digital tools and open data to promote transparency and integrity, and on international anti-corruption initiatives. Each group was able to report on the objectives pursued and the progress of its work. The three groups decided to produce publications for members that should be released in 2019.
This plenary session ended the two-year presidency of INAI, which was transferred to the French High Authority for Transparency in Public Life, while the vice presidency was entrusted to the Romanian National Integrity Agency. The Network’s new president and vice president presented their roadmap, following on from the actions implemented during the first two years, and expressed their will to launch new projects and to discuss topics that are essential for the members, such as conflicts of interest or the influence and regulation of lobbying.
A public event was organized during the second day. After an opening ceremony and a speech focused on the concept of integrity delivered by the HATVP, five panels followed one another to review the missions, challenges and results of the members of the Network, as well as the analyzes of representatives of international organizations. The panelists underlined that an atmosphere of mistrust towards public officials still prevails on all continents. They also reiterated the necessity to fully implement legislative and regulatory provisions, and to improve national public integrity systems. Besides, cooperation with actors in charge of preventing and fighting corruption, but also with anti-money laundering services, remains crucial to the full implementation of the missions of the members of the Network. The latter also stressed the importance of this singular and specific initiative, in which they can freely discuss their tools and procedures, the obstacles they face, and their achievements. Finally, the commitment of citizens and civil society organizations was highlighted as an indispensable condition to ensure an actual cultural evolution in terms of public integrity.
A few days after the celebrations of the International Anti-Corruption Day, the members of the Network renewed their commitment to continue their exchanges on transparency, ethics and integrity in the public sector. In the upcoming weeks, they will resume their regular discussions within the working groups in order to produce their respective deliverables and to advance their reflections and actions. The next plenary session will be held in Paris in two years, and will provide an overview of all the activities of the Network.