Corruption, particularly bribery of government officials, inflicts substantial damage on people, society, and the world, and warrants control. Collective efforts to control corruption tend to focus on rules and compliance with those rules. This paper suggests that collective action also consider the creation of strong ethical cultures in business firms. Implementation of such programs is impeded by the difficulty in prescribing a course of action and by the difficulty in measuring the strength of an ethical culture.

Corruption undermines nearly all key legal and developmental priorities today, including the effective functioning of democratic institutions and honest elections; environmental protection; human rights and human security; international development programs; and fair competition for global trade and investment.

In many countries high levels of corruption persist in spite of the adoption of so-called anti-corruption “best practices”. In this paper we make a call to pursue a context-sensitive inquiry into the drivers of corruption in order to substantially improve the practices and effects of anti-corruption.

It is a fact that states with a high corruption rate (or a high corruption perception) are at the same time those with a bad human rights situation. Beyond this coincidence, the paper seeks to identify a concrete legal relationship between corruption and deficient human rights protection. This seems relevant and practical terms, because the extant international norms against corruption have so far yielded only modest success; their implementation could be improved with the help of human rights arguments and instruments.

This practitioners’ handbook provides the required tools for contextualising social accountability initiatives aimed at empowering citizens to engage in anti-corruption actions. The material herein contained has been developed through a collaborative effort with UNDP and reflects the findings from academic research conducted in the scope of the ANTICORRP research consortium (anticorrp.eu).

Social accountability has become a favored approach among most major multilateral and bilateral donors to develop grass roots mechanisms for democratic governance. In a successful scenario, citizen participation can promote more responsive governments and better provision of basic services by linking users’ feedback to the policy design, implementation and monitoring activities typically undertaken by the state.