Civic Space, Corruption, and COVID-19

Lessons on Civic Participation for Transparent Emergency Responses

On June 30, 2021, ICNL hosted an online discussion for civil society organization representatives from around the world to share best practices on how to address corruption in public responses to COVID-19.

Experts from the Honduran National Anticorruption Council, Lawyers Without Borders (Jordan), Malawi Human Rights Defenders Coalition, and National Foundation for India delivered remarks on the issue. ICNL also facilitated discussion groups for participants who speak Arabic, Russian, Spanish, French, and English to further explore the interaction of civic space, corruption, and COVID-19 in their countries.

Woman wearing a medical mask outside during the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo: EVG Photos/Pexels)

Through expert presentations and group discussions, the event covered a wide range of topics, including:

  • Trends in civil society sector responses to corruption during COVID-19, noting both common challenges and unique approaches to advocating for reform, as well as the importance of CSO cooperation between and within countries to promote accountability.
  • Strategies and lessons learned around addressing corruption in public spending on pandemic responses, access to vaccines, and more, including litigation, access to information requests, public pressure campaigns, education, and advocacy.
  • Why corruption during the pandemic is a civic space issue, specifically how governments in some countries have used pandemic-related measures to prevent CSO access to public information and limit the ability of civil society to peacefully assemble and call for change, among other actions, while in other countries CSOs have worked productively with public bodies to implement anti-corruption initiatives.

Read the full event summary here.

Thank you to our expert panel of speakers and participants who joined from over 36 countries for our conversation on the future of civic space in the wake of the COVID pandemic.

This event is part of a series of discussions on COVID and civic space. Our next event, Civic Space, Surveillance, and Covid-19, will be held on July 28  will explore the role of civil society in preserving and enhancing privacy. You can register here.