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National Integrity System Assessment: Curaçao 2013
Between 2012 and 2013, Transparency International conducted a National Integrity System (NIS) assessment on Curaçao.
The Caribbean island has a population of 150,560 and is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It has gone through significant political change in recent years following dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles in 2010 and the resulting modification of its country status.
Corruption is rarely an isolated phenomenon found only within a specific institution, sector or group of actors. It is usually of a systemic nature, and fighting it requires a holistic and all-encompassing strategy. This is why in 2001 Transparency International developed the concept of National Integrity System assessments.
The purpose these studies is to assess systemic corruption risks faced by a country, and produce a set of recommendations on how to mitigate those risks in the future. Those recommendations can then be used by actors in civil society, government and the private sector for promoting integrity in the country.
To date, assessments have been completed in more than 100 countries. Transparency International conducted its first National Integrity System study in the Caribbean region in Jamaica in 2003, followed by a Caribbean composite report in 2004. Most recently, from 2009-2011, in addition to numerous assessments in Europe, Asia and elsewhere, Transparency International carried out an assessment in the Turks and Caicos Islands – another small Caribbean island which has undergone a constitutional upheaval in recent years. During the assessment period, numerous high-level corruption scandals in the Turks and Caicos resulted in the partial suspension of its constitution. Our study suggested that it was overall weakness in the country’s corruption-fighting systems which allowed individual actors to pursue their own interests at the expense of the public good.
While each country context is unique, this research gave us experience of the challenges small island states in this region can face. It is our hope that the Curaçao assessment will generate a set of concrete recommendations for the island’s key institutions and local actors to pursue in order to strengthen transparency, accountability and integrity. The assessment should also provide a set of good governance benchmarks for the citizens of Curaçao to hold their government and elected officials to account.
The assessment process in Curaçao is consultative and seeks to involve key stakeholders on the island. Transparency International staff visited Curaçao in September 2012 and again in April 2013 to meet with the local research team and various experts from the principal institutions involved in the assessment. All discussions were constructive and well attended by stakeholders, who appeared to place high importance on the dialogue. We hope that by using this participatory approach, our assessment provides a useful set of recommendations for Curaçao that society can use to push for positive change.
As announced in April 2012, Transparency International signed a grant agreement with the Government of Curaçao to undertake an assessment that ensures our complete independence in all phases of the process, from initial research to final outcome and recommendations.