Corruption is a critical global challenge, affecting many emerging and industrialized economies, and impairing inclusive social and economic development, financial stability, public confidence, and security around the world. Ultimately, it reduces quality of life for billions of people, most often those in need. Many governance factors drive and affect various forms of corruption, which is why an important set of recent initiatives to address corruption relate to transparency, accountability, and participation. Key questions remain open as to whether or not these “open governance” approaches and interventions have been well designed and implemented, and actually contribute to reducing corruption (or to other development goals). A related question is whether there are key determinants complementing open governance that are needed to ensure results in reducing corruption—including rule of law and regulatory and enterprise reform.
Leveraging Transparency to Reduce Corruption: Advancing Evidence-Based Best Practice in Open Governance of Natural Resource Value Chains is designed to tackle such questions, with a particular focus on the natural resource field. This five-year research project—led by Brookings and supported by Results for Development (R4D) and the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI)— will establish and promote evidence-based best practices in open governance mechanisms in resource-rich countries and across the natural resource value chain.
The project team will achieve its objective by accomplishing three interlinked objectives.
First, they will build a rigorous and extensive evidence base identifying natural resource sector-focused open governance interventions that are effective in contributing to reducing corruption and achieving other sustainable development outcomes.
Second, to ensure the work can be used to improve the capacity of relevant civic and public institutions to design and implement sustainable open governance practices, the researchers will collaborate with a broad array of representative stakeholders every step of the way, from framing the project, to assessing and developing the evidence, to articulating best practices.
The third and related objective is to enhance the ability of stakeholders and citizens alike to access, analyze, and interpret natural resource-related data in the public domain. Research to date, including Brookings’ own, has indicated that open governance works best if useful and relevant public data is at least available on demand for stakeholders, and preferably more proactively disseminated.