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Coalition 2000 in 1998

1. Initial Steps: the Background of the Coalition 2000 process

Coalition 2000 is an initiative of a number of Bulgarian non-governmental organizations aimed at combating corruption through a process of cooperation among governmental institutions, NGOs and individuals drafting an Anti-Corruption Action Plan for Bulgaria, and implementing an awareness campaign and a monitoring system. The Coalition 2000 process was officially launched on April 7, 1998 with the support of the United States Agency for International Development and The World Bank.

The initiative, which resulted in this process, was launched by CSD in March 1997 through a series of consultations with Bulgarian institutions and, later, international partners. At the time, CSD solicited the input of a number of Bulgarian NGOs as to the possible format, scope and priorities of the development of a national anti-corruption Action Plan. The Center for Social Practices (Dr. Evgenii Dainov), the Access Association (Dr. Valeri Russanov) and the Center for Economic Development (Dr. George Prohaski) had the most substantial contributions to shaping the coalition and ensuring the representative nature of the Coalition 2000 process.

Particular attention was also paid to the involvement of the judiciary in the development phase. The design team was able to benefit from the input of the Association of Judges in Bulgaria, particularly Ms. Kapka Kostova, Chair of the AJB Board and Chair of the Sofia Regional Court and Ms. Nelly Koutzkova, Chair of the Sofia District Court.

CSD, in cooperation with the Information Centre on the Council of Europe in Sofia (ICCES) and its Director, Mr. Boyko Todorov, has informed and requested the opinion of the Council of Europe. The Council is a key international organization in this area and has already implemented a number of intergovernmental anti-corruption projects in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, including Bulgaria.

Today, the counteraction of corruption most urgently calls for society to take a common stand in protection of its own interests. I am confident that this [Policy] Forum will make a real contribution towards coordinating priorities in the anti-corruption efforts of the government, on the one hand, and of civil society, on the other. I personally do not have any doubts that a coalition of non-governmental organizations and government representatives has its place in our new social practices.

Petar Stoyanov,
President of the Republic of Bulgaria

Particularly important for elaborating the format and scope of the process were the discussions with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). At the end of July 1997, CSD hosted a meeting of the USAID mission of anti-corruption experts to Bulgaria. Consultations were continued with the local office of the Agency. Building on the experience of two policy projects of a similar format carried out with the support of USAID - on SME development in November 1996 and capital markets in July 1997 - CSD was in a position to provide an enhanced institutional capacity for an anti-corruption coalition-building process focused on a public awareness effort.

A number of meetings and consultations with representatives of the World Bank (WB) and its Economic Development Institute (EDI) were held in order to benefit from the advanced experience of the Bank in this area. In 1997, the EDI and WB provided documents and materials for the design phase and advised CSD on various sources of expertise which could be utilized during the implementation. A mission of the WB/EDI in September 1998 evaluated Coalition 2000 as a model strategy and suggested some additional activities, including a public service delivery survey.

Coalition 2000 is still the most impressive anti-corruption initiative I have come across in all the countries I am currently working with (20 countries).

Petter Langseth,
Senior Public Sector Management Specialist,
The World Bank

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has long emphasized improved governance as a condition for sustainable development. As a result of the consultations with Mr. Antonio Vigilante, Resident Coordinator of the UN in Bulgaria, who has been very supportive of the initiative, it was agreed that UNDP's local office will invite a number of internationally renowned experts for short missions to Bulgaria to advise the initiative. The experts have been involved in a number of similar efforts in Latin America and other regions where the UNDP has programs.

Since the early stages of the formation of Coalition 2000, CSD and the other NGOs were active in seeking cooperation with the International Development Law Institute (IDLI) in Rome. IDLI is an intergovernmental organization with a leading record of providing legal assistance to countries in transition. IDLI’s long experience in working with Bulgarian public and private institutions in the field of legal reform benefited the design of the concept and the actual establishment of partnership relations within Coalition 2000. In the future activities of the Coalition, IDLI’s input will be crucial in the implementation of pilot projects at the local government level, in the reform of the judiciary, in law drafting, etc.

2. Concept and Design

The concept for structuring the activities of Coalition 2000 rests upon several ideas which identify the focus of the process and the main target groups of the activities. The factors and circumstances which generate corrupt practices in Bulgaria make it necessary that anti-corruption efforts address several aspects of the problem: the legislative framework, the administrative set-up, the existing perceptions and attitudes (public awareness), and the existing behavior patterns. In this respect the anti-corruption effort of Coalition 2000 is parallel to the social marketing model used in anti-corruption campaigns developed by WB experts. The desired impact (curbing corruption) could be produced following a three-stage process, including: cognitive change (this involves problem diagnostics and formulation of a research-based impact strategy); inducing affect (this is the process of converting messages into emotional/moral commitments); behavioral change (this involves inducing people to change some aspects of their actual behavior and transforming moral disapproval into a public action agenda).

Coalition 2000 is probably the most comprehensive anti-corruption initiative in those countries where there are [Open Society] foundations.

George Soros,
financier and philanthropist

In terms of content the main elements/activities of the Coalition 2000 initiative are as follows:

  • Creating a trustworthy anti-corruption agency through consensus and coalition building. In addition to being the result of a partnership effort, it will enable a favorable environment for the establishment of future coalitions. The main component of consensus building is the Policy Forum: a policy design tool which starts at expert level with the identification of problems, and culminates in a public forum which involves representatives of all relevant institutions and organizations and which endorses a consensus policy document - Anti-Corruption Action Plan.
  • Obtaining relevant knowledge through a series of corruption assessment panels and tracking progress through process monitoring (Corruption Monitoring System). The principal objective of the assessment and the monitoring is to analyze the scope, intensity, types, and sources of corrupt behavior in the public sector. The methodology includes both quantitative and qualitative surveys. Indicators used for corruption assessment will at later stages be used to monitor institutional progress and to produce a Corruption Assessment Index. The monitoring will serve also as a "watchdog" tool of the public policy process and as a way to encourage public discussions.
  • Defining the impact objectives: development of an Action Plan (AP). The AP incorporates different mechanisms enhancing trust and transparency in different sectors of public life. Involving policy-makers and representatives of the business community and trade unions in the drafting process maximizes impact in this respect. Of particular importance is the fact that the AP is a consensus document approved by the principal actors in Bulgarian society. Furthermore, based on the consensus reached, the implementation of the AP will largely be a result of the joint effort of all parties involved in the drafting process.

Many of the steps and ideas included in the Coalition 2000 plan are at the forefront of best international practice and we can applaud that.

Thomas O’Brien,
Resident Representative,
the World Bank, Sofia

  • Bringing about affective and behavioral change through dissemination and advocacy. The effective implementation of the AP will be supported through different mechanisms: a) building awareness of corruption and its various forms in Bulgarian society by using different forms of public education, public discussions and dissemination of the research findings and policy recommendations; b) transforming public awareness into an advocacy role, keeping the issue of corruption at the forefront; c) pressing government to implement anti-corruption strategy and reforms.

3.Implementation: CSD and the Coalition 2000 process

The implementation of the activities under the first stage of the Coalition 2000 initiative has actively involved all CSD programs. The role of CSD as Secretariat has brought about serious responsibilities connected with the draft Anti-Corruption Action Plan, the organization of the Policy Workshop and the Policy Forum of Coalition 2000 and the pilot launch of the Corruption Monitoring System.

In the second half of 1998, the successful implementation of the first stage of the Coalition 2000 initiative has become possible thanks to, along with CSD, the joint efforts of the Access Association, the Applied Research and Communications Fund, the Association of Judges in Bulgaria, the Bulgarian Association for Fair Elections and Human Rights, the Center for Economic Development, the Centre for Social Practices, the Economic Policy Institute and the European Movement - Bulgaria. The United States Agency for International Development has provided financial support whereas the United Nations Development Program, the World Bank and its Economic Development Institute, the Council of Europe, and the International Law Development Institute, Rome have contributed with expert assistance.

I would like to congratulate Coalition 2000 very much for its excellent plan and I would like to congratulate it even for the title [Clean Future], which is very beautiful and looks to the future when, one day I suppose, we will have a Clean Present.

Antonio Vigilante,
Resident Coordinator,
the United Nations, Sofia

The second phase of the Coalition 2000 initiative, which is expected to last for two and a half years, must see the transformation of Coalition 2000 proposals and ideas into new legislation that will restrict discretionary powers of public officials and establish clear rules of the game aiding both domestic and foreign investors. This should also be a period of enhanced anti-corruption awareness and of changing attitudes towards corrupt practices influenced positively by the mobilizing power of the Coalition 2000 anti-corruption campaign.

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