The Private Sector and the Culture of Integrity in Puebla
STORY INLINE POST
Corruption is one of the most important problems facing Mexico as a country and a society. In the most recent Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI), for 2021, Mexico received a score of 31/100 (it had obtained 29 in 2019 and maintained that rating in 2020). This places Mexico 124th of 180 countries scored.
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), corruption costs Mexico between 5 and 10 percent of its GDP, which means that a significant portion of public spending will not be invested in addressing the country’s public spending needs.
In the past year, Mexico faced significant setbacks in its efforts to prevent and punish corrupt actors. In addition to those efforts being insufficient, they have often been used for political purposes, warns the Anti-Corruption Assessment of Latin America 2021-2022, a publication authored by the Lawyers Council for Civil and Economic Rights of the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice of the New York Bar Association.
Therefore, it is important to understand the role of the 32 state-level anticorruption systems (SLAs), which are part of the National Anticorruption System (SNA). Their objective is to coordinate the competent local authorities in the prevention, detection, and sanction of administrative responsibilities and acts of corruption in accordance with article 113 of the Constitution.
The laws governing the SLAs establish principles, conditions, public policies, and procedures for this coordination between local authorities. They also include provisions for the oversight and control of public resources, in accordance with the guidelines and policies established in the SNA. In other words, their purpose is to establish, articulate and evaluate the anti-corruption policy within the states.
The SNA of the state of Puebla has stood out due to the progress it has made in terms of its state-level Anticorruption Policy (PEAPUEBLA), according to Denisee García Rodea from the Engagement, Public Policy, and Risk Unit of the Puebla SNA. PEAPUEBLA is structured following the theory of change that increased governance, rule of law, and citizen participation results in a more effective democracy and less corruption. PEAPUEBLA proposes a long-term public intervention focused on five axes, structured as objectives, which are broken down into 12 specific objectives and 50 public policy priorities.
The first axis focuses on the fight against corruption and impunity; the second to actions to combat arbitrariness and the abuse of power; the third axis aims to promote effective public management in terms of transparency and process improvement; the fourth recognizes the need to involve civil society and the private sector by strengthening participation, oversight, and self-regulation mechanisms with an open and inclusive government perspective; and, finally, the fifth strategic axis focuses on the prevention of corruption through the promotion of a culture of legality and integrity.
To comply with this state policy, in 2022, Puebla’s SNA developed the PEAPUEBLA Implementation Program and Monitoring and Evaluation Model as instruments to detail and verify the progress of public policy priorities. In particular, the Implementation Program (PI PEAPUEBLA) establishes concrete and measurable actions that will be implemented by state-level agencies in the short, medium, and long terms. It has five subprograms (one for each axis of PEAPUEBLA), a total of 96 strategies, 225 lines of action, and 138 metrics.
For PEAPUEBLA and its Implementation Program, the government, as a legitimate public authority, maintains its authority in the decision-making process and in the coordination among stakeholders. However, both the deliberative and decision-making process and the implementation of decisions include the participation of other actors, which often allocate more resources than government agencies.
This way, the PEAPUEBLA and the PI PEAPUEBLA are a call to action to the local business sector. These strategic documents link the participation of this sector in the five axes of PEAPUEBLA and in the respective five subprograms for its implementation. At least nine of the 50 public policy priorities, involving 10 strategies and 17 actions, could not have been achieved without the participation of the business sector.
Corruption is a phenomenon that undermines the rule of law and perpetuates a social order based on partiality. It weakens democratic institutions, erodes trust, contributes to governmental ineffectiveness, diminishes competitiveness, promotes inequality and injustice, and inhibits prosperity and integrity. For these reasons, the business sector is both a beneficiary and an important stakeholder to achieve the objectives of PEAPUEBLA.
Through these public policy instruments, the private sector will be able to see the actions to which the Coordinating Committee of the Puebla SNA has committed to prevent and combat corruption. They will also allow the business sector to witness the actions to include them and the wider citizenry in this effort to make Puebla a more efficient, competitive, and fair state that is less unequal and more prosperous. The SNA has designed incentives so that the capacities, information, and resources of the private sector are part of the path that leads to a Puebla free of corruption.
PEAPUEBLA and its Implementation Program are available at the following links: https://seapuebla.org.mx/micrositio-pea.html and https://seseap.puebla.gob.mx/pea