Students and scholars from 30 countries convened in Igalo, a coastal village in Montenegro, to study, discuss and exchange views on the rule of law at the European Union and Legal Reform Summer School in July 2019.
Organized each year since 2003 by the Johns Hopkins University Center for Constitutional Studies and Democratic Development, the interactive postgraduate course promotes the exchange of experiences through lectures and round-table discussions.
In a talk that generated attention and enthusiasm, Margarita Meldon, IDLO’s Regional Program Manager for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, explained how efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 16 (SDG 16) and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions will be wasted in the long-term unless corruption is tackled effectively. In fact, she said, “corruption is the main threat to the rule of law in the post-communist countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia”. She added: “This corrosion of governance and the rule of law affects young people the hardest, depriving them of opportunities, devaluating education and forcing many to emigrate.”
After explaining why corruption is blocking the path towards SDG 16 and what should be the response, including case studies from IDLO’s work fighting corruption in Eastern Europe and the Balkans, Ms. Meldon engaged in a dialogue with students. The discussions revolved around IDLO’s work on comprehensive anti-corruption reforms across justice sectors in the region. Participants also discussed how international organizations can design and implement efficient anti-corruption programs in the rule of law sector and what necessary pre-requisites exist for such programs.
Findings from IDLO’s work in the Balkans, Bulgaria, Kyrgyzstan, Romania and Ukraine were also discussed, as were successful models of collaboration with key stakeholders such as the legislature, justice-sector institutions and civil society.
As IDLO’s anti-corruption programs in Eastern Europe and Central Asia demonstrate, sustainable and effective results can be achieved by implementing technical assistance and rule of law programs targeting prevention and prosecution as well as through making local justice sector institutions responsible for anti-corruption sustainable, accountable, independent and effective.
Through its programs, IDLO is working to combat all forms of corruption by making justice institutions cleaner and more responsive, reducing conflicts of interest in procurement and public life, and enhancing the capacity of institutions and justice actors to fight fraud and economic crime.