24. October 2019

FAQs: Basel Institute on Governance

Basel institute logo

What is the Basel Institute on Governance?

We are an independent, non-profit organisation dedicated to supporting governments and private-sector partners to prevent and combat corruption and strengthen governance systems.

Our legal status is that of a Foundation registered in Basel, Switzerland.

Who are the people behind the Basel Institute on Governance?

The Basel Institute was founded in 2003 by Mark Pieth, Professor of Criminal Law at the University of Basel and a prominent international anti-corruption expert. 

Prof. Mark Pieth is best known for his key role in establishing the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and initiating some of the world’s leading private-sector initiatives against corruption, such as the Wolfsberg Group and the World Economic Forum Partnering against Corruption Initiative.

The team at the Basel Institute is made up of around 80 staff from 25 countries and a wide range of professional backgrounds. So we are both a multi-disciplinary and a multi-national team. Some are based at our headquarters in Basel and others are duty-stationed in partner countries around the world.

Most of our staff are practitioners with many years of experience working in anti-corruption prevention or law enforcement as part of governments, in companies and in field research organisations.

You can find out more about our team members and their biographies here.

What is your mission?

Our core mission is to contribute to global efforts to prevent and combat corruption and strengthen governance. We see anti-corruption and good governance as critical components to achieve sustainable and equitable development around the world.  

How do you work?

Our operational approach reflects what we believe are the key components of fighting corruption and strengthening governance.

  • First, we are convinced that a multi-stakeholder approach is critical. As a consequence we support both public and private actors in designing and strengthening their anti-corruption systems and we encourage the inclusion of citizens in these efforts.
  • Second, we believe prevention is better than cure but that cure is necessary and acts also as prevention. Therefore, we help build strong governance structures and institutions that can resist corruption, and we help detect, investigate and prosecute instances where these systems have failed.
  • Finally, we take a very practice-oriented approach to all our work, but we understand that as corruption evolves our response to it needs to evolve as well. Consequently, we feed our practice experience into research that helps further inform our, and everyone’s, future strategies to become even more effective in fighting corruption.

In a nutshell, we aim to design our work in a holistic and integrated way, as we see this as the most effective way to create sustainable and long-term impact.

What are the Basel Institute’s areas of expertise?

Our projects deal with a number of cross-cutting anti-corruption and good governance issues. Specifically, our expertise and services lie in:

In which countries do you work?

Our headquarter offices are located in the city of Basel, Switzerland, but we work globally. A particular focus in the past has been Southern and East Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Central and South Asia. When we work with companies, they are more often located in Western and Central Europe while their operations, and hence our work with them, span the globe.

Do you also work on corruption in Switzerland?

We regularly assist Swiss companies and organisations to set up or enhance internal anti-corruption compliance programmes and related governance processes, often with a global impact as these organisations operate across the world.

We further actively participate in the Swiss Government’s interdepartmental working group on corruption which, among other things, looks at anti-corruption strategy in Switzerland.

Finally, Swiss anti-corruption law enforcement and policy bodies are important partners both in asset recovery efforts and broader global policy endeavours.

What is the relationship between the Basel Institute and the University of Basel?

The Basel Institute is an Associated Institute of the University of Basel. Through this special arrangement we enjoy close collaboration with the University’s faculties and research groups, and can more easily access certain University facilities.

Our Head of Public Governance, Dr Claudia Baez Camargo, teaches an academic course on Sustainability and Health Governance as part of a master’s programme at the University. She also leads some of the activities of the Centre for African Studies’ Research Network Africa initiative.

Administratively and financially we are independent from the University.

What is unique about the Basel Institute?

  • Deep and wide-ranging expertise and competencies in anti-corruption and related fields
  • Integrated and holistic approach
  • Independence
  • Context-sensitive
  • Bureaucratic leanness and agility
  • Operational flexibility, adaptability and quickness
  • Well-recognised international reputation
  • Extensive professional network  

How is the Basel Institute funded?

Core contributions make up around 25 percent of our annual revenue. Project-specific funding accounts for 75 percent.

Any surplus funds that may be generated from advisory services or subscriptions to our Basel AML Index and Basel Open Intelligence tools are used to support our research initiatives and technical assistance programmes in developing countries. 

Who are the Basel Institute’s core donors?

Five countries currently provide core funding to support the operations of the International Centre for Asset Recovery (ICAR) of the Basel Institute:

  • Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
  • UK Department for International Development (DFID)
  • Principality of Liechtenstein
  • Government of Jersey
  • Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad)

Other significant donors include the Siemens Integrity Initiative and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) with whose funding we implement specific programmes of work in the area of private-sector anti-corruption Collective Action and public financial management.

The Basel Institute is known for the Basel AML Index. What is this?

The Basel AML Index is an independent, research-based ranking that assesses countries' risk exposure to money laundering and terrorist financing (ML/TF). We have published the Basel AML Index since 2012, so we are now on the 8th edition.

In addition to the Public Edition, we also offer two subscription-based services: Expert Edition and Expert Edition Plus. These are used by companies and financial institutions worldwide as an ML/TF country risk-rating tool for compliance and risk assessment purposes.

We waive the subscription fee for academic, public, supervisory and non-profit organisations, who use it for policy and research purposes.

What is Basel Open Intelligence?

Basel Open Intelligence is our latest digital tool, designed to streamline open-source research on individuals and organisations.

It was originally developed to help investigators and intelligence analysts identify and analyse links between individuals, organisations and crimes. It is also proving popular with companies and financial institutions, as it helps streamline compliance and due diligence processes.

Gretta Fenner

Managing Director / Director ICAR
+41 61 205 55 11
Email Biography