Peter Eigen

Role of civil society in global governance

Corruption disrupts economies, wreaking havoc on human lives and the environment. The equivalent of 1 trillion US dollars is lost every year to corruption. Peter Eigen, founder of Transparency International presents his recommendations to strengthen global governance.

Tuesday 16.06.2015

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The experience we’ve had fighting corruption with the help of the CSO Transparency International has shown me the impact organised civil society can have on better global governance, a complex challenge which none of the traditional actors of governance can solve alone.

To put it very briefly, Transparency International has built its success on:

  1. mobilising civil society in more the 100 countries for the diagnosis of their corruption problems design of reforms and their implementation  in their own societies,
  2. using a holistic approach, and
  3. in cooperation with other actors of governance – often an antagonistic coalition of very different actors in the public, private and civil society sector.

A close cooperation with the media for building a global consensus about the catastrophic impact of corruption – including our regular Corruption Perception Index – and with research and academia, led to a situation where today practically every significant voice castigates corruption. 

Growing support of coalition of the three actors of governance, the State as prime actor, the Commercial Sector and Civil Society Organizations have to complement each other in order to establish together better governance.

A free and vigilant civil society is essential if we are to tackle poverty and the injustice of globalization, and to dispel the climate of despair and alienation that serves as a breeding ground for conflict, war and terrorism.

Only an effective coalition of state, business and civil society can bring transparency and accountability to global governance, not only to fight corruption, but to other ills of globalization (injustice and inequity, poverty, violence, conflict, environmental destruction and climate change). There is hope for a better, more just world for everybody.

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Prof. Dr. Peter Eigen has led initiatives for better global governance and the fight against corruption for several decades. In 1993 Eigen founded Transparency International (TI). Eigen has taught law and political science at universities including Harvard, the University of Washington and Bruges College of Europe. In 2000, he was awarded the ‘Honorary Doctor’ degree at the Open University, UK, in 2004, and in 2007 the Gustav Heinemann Award. Germany awarded Peter Eigen its Grand Cross of Merit in recognition of his efforts to combat corruption at the global level in January 2013.

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