G-Watch co-drafts and signs the UNCAC CoSP10 - Atlanta Civil Society Declaration

Government Watch (G-Watch) attends the 10th Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption happening in Atlanta, Georgia on December 11-15. G-Watch is represented by its Convenor-Director, Joy Aceron, who has been engaging the UNCAC for over a decade now, and Francis Isaac, G-Watch researcher and San Beda College Alabang professor.

In the conference, G-Watch participated in the first-ever CSO Forum and in the discussion on political financing, corruption in health, civic space, gender and corruption and approaches to fighting corruption. 

G-Watch also helped in the drafting and is one of the signatories of the UNCAC CoSP10 - Atlanta Civil Society Declaration that was adopted and signed by over 116 civil society organizations all over the world. 

Specifically, G-Watch contributed the following points in the said Declaration: 

  • Include the "local" arena as a civic space that needs to be promoted and protected as well, along with national, regional and global levels;
  • Include "human rights defenders" that needs to be protected and defended;
  • Extend oversight powers to civil society and not only to oversight authorities in the procurement;
  • The entire paragraph on access to information - "Promote and advance public access to information, in general, to enhance transparency and accountability of public services and governance by adopting comprehensive access to information laws that align with international standards, and ensure their effective implementation by, among other things, removing any barriers to filing requests, establishing or strengthening independent oversight bodies, and ensuring proactive publication of information relevant to anti-corruption efforts by public bodies";
  • The entire paragraph on political finance - "Take proactive steps to advance the implementation of Article 7.3 of the UNCAC on transparency in the funding of political parties and election campaigns by adopting a legal framework for the regulation of political financing that includes but is not limited to (1) regulation on donations, (2) regulation on expenditures, (3) accountability of political parties, (4) addressing the (mis-)use of administrative resources for electoral campaigns, and (5) strengthening of oversight by independent competent bodies."

The term 'accountability frontliners' was not included in the statement. G-Watch proposed to include it as among those "who report and uncover corruption" and therefore needs to be protected. The term 'anti-corruption activists' is encompassing. However, it does not highlight those on the frontlines and does not automatically include those who are doing accountability work, but do not consider what they do as anti-corruption and/or do not call it as such, yet they face the same and some other unique risks and threats. This means that there is more work to do in getting the recognition of accountability frontliners as distinct entities who advance accountability and fight corruption even from among mainstream and international organizations. 

The section on youth participation was also not included. G-Watch proposed the following "Enable and promote meaningful youth participation in the fight against corruption, capitalizing on their number, idealism and unique perspectives in addressing today’s challenges in ensuring justice, accountability, integrity, and progressive change," building on the earlier input from the Institute of Social Policy and Research in South Sudan. 

G-Watch's citizen action for accountability advances a comprehensive, multi-faceted and multi-level approach to fighting corruption that addresses the root causes of the problem. As a pioneering organization in enhancing public accountability to deepen democracy in the Philippines, G-Watch is steadfast in pursuing its mission at different levels of decision-making with emphasis on the role of accountability frontliners and the need to prioritize issues of the most marginalized and vulnerable segments of the population.