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TAI Weekly

Corruption’s contribution to Russia’s invasion
By TAI
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Dear Readers,It is hard to always predict the use to which public information will be put, but its availability is critical. Two examples this past week. First, kudos to Francesca Lawson and Ali Fensome, who used UK required corporate disclosures of gender pay gaps to good effect. Their bot identified British companies and organizations tweeting with the International Women’s Day hashtag and retweeted them with information about their gender pay gaps – often to significant embarrassment.Second, student Jack Sweeney who created a bot to track the movements of Russian oligarch jets.
Image Credit: arstechnica.com 
Have you seen other creative uses of publicly available data?
 
Corruption´s contribution to Russia´s invasion, and hard to ignore state capture
Corruption and illicit financial flows directly contributed to the invasion of Ukraine in three ways, according to Jodi Vittori. 1) They are tied to Putin and his cronies’ ultimate goal of political survival and the money, lifestyle, and impunity that goes with it. 2) They have helped to keep “near abroad” governments largely compliant with Putin’s wishes, especially Ukraine. As the Ukrainian people rose up and voted out their own kleptocratic regimes, Putin resorted to violence, culminating in the invasion. 3) Russia has used dirty and dubious money to advance its foreign policy priorities in Western countries with the help of various enablers. In a stark example of enabling, Paul Caruana Galizia explains how the Russian oligarch Evgeny Lebedev became a British lord and why this is emblematic of the systemic problems facing those who fight for transparency, participation and accountability. Plus, read how Greg Barker, a former UK energy minister went on to lobby for Oleg Deripaska’s mining company (Deripaska is sanctioned in the US).

 Greg Barker resigned on Monday as chair of the Russian mining company En+ Group. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images 
Such cases, far from confined to the UK, help explain why even the cool kids are talking about state capture. Arthur the Anti-Corruption Bilby offers the perfect explainer! 
 
Beneficial ownership transparency and new heavens for dodgy money
The Ukraine crisis is a wakeup call for true corporate transparency. Chris Taggart of Open Corporates is frustrated by the lack of action to enforce requirements for beneficial ownership disclosure in the European Union – making it harder to find and lock Russian regime connected assets. Perhaps the EU will listen to 127 leading transparency, anti-corruption, journalist and open data organisations calling on it to open up all company and beneficial ownership registers. Last week we reported that the United Arab Emirates had been added to the Financial Action Task Force’s “grey list” given weaknesses in curbing money laundering. Secrecy of asset ownership has been part of the appeal of investing in Dubai. Its authorities share only limited information with other jurisdictions notes Maíra Martini with Transparency International. At least 38 businessmen or officials linked to Putin own dozens of properties in Dubai collectively valued at more than $314 million. According to previously unreported data compiled by the non-profit Center for Advanced Defense Studies, six of those owners are under sanctions by the United States or the European Union.
Long read of the week!

The China Development Bank is the largest development bank in the world, one of the most important financiers of infrastructure and extractive projects globally. Latinoamerica Sustentable (LAS) analyses its influence in Latin America and the Caribbean, and its environmental and social governance. Recommendations include establishing mandatory environmental and social safeguards, a mechanism to hear concerns of project affected communities, greater transparency, and anti-corruption provisions within loan contracts.

Beware opacity in the markets – debt and real state risk necessitate greater transparency  

Iader Giraldo and Philip Turner are worried about the build up on dollar debt by non bank financial institutions in Latin America, where there is a regulatory gap. They call for greater transparency to better assess individual corporate risks and for regulators to shine a light on the greater role of companies in financial intermediation.

Lack of transparency can get penalized by the markets. Han Shih Toh details how Chinese property companies are facing credit rating downgrades for poor transparency and governance.

In South Africa, the editorial team of the Independent Online argue that a lack of accountability is holding back the economy.

 
Rule of low innovations and a tool to monitor corruption court processes
Need a little inspiration? Check out the finalists in the World Justice Challenge 2022. Some amazing projects categorized around access to justice, anti-corruption and open government, and equal rights/non-discrimination.In one example, the Trial Monitoring of Corruption Cases project uses a monitoring template designed to collate case proceedings data for review and analysis. The analysis of the case proceedings is simplified and submitted to the National Judicial Council with recommendations to address violations by judicial officers and challenges delaying trials.
Sustainable grantmaking and flexible funding, to approaches to better support Social Change 

TAI recently hosted a funder discussion on ways to build sustainability of funding portfolios. Switching the focus from contribution to outcomes to the longevity of change is “powerful,” according to Kathleen Doll, who offers 5 hot takes on measuring the sustainability of grantmaking.

Philanthropies talk a lot about flexible funding, but what does it actually mean? In this piece, human rights defenders offer their takes on providing general operating support.

 

TAI spotlight
MacArthur Foundation highlights fellow Cristina Rivera Garza’s call for justice for women in Mexico via the New York Times. Ford Foundation: Darren Walker is reminded about the importance of democratic values amid the Ukraine crisis.Open Society Foundations: The Soros Economic Development Fund, is supporting efforts by a company based in Colombia—Symplifica—a platform that formalizes domestic workers.Skoll Foundation highlights how “stories about business in Africa—& how they are framed—directly impact individuals’ motivation & desire to set up new businesses & trade with, invest in, or finance businesses,” according to Africa No filter.Hewlett Foundation honored the voices and aspirations of women and girls around the world this last International Women’s Day. Their Gender Equity + Governance program seeks to better the lives of women and girls by centering equity and powershifting in their work.

 

Jobs at TAI membersJob postings at Hewlett Foundation – Ongoing

Job postings at MacArthur Foundation – OngoingJob postings at Open Society Foundations – OngoingJob postings at Luminate – OngoingJob postings at Ford Foundation– OngoingJob postings at FCDO – OngoingJob postings at Skoll – Ongoing

 

Job listingsDevelopment Officer, Regional Philanthropy, World Wildlife Fund- OngoingResearch ToR: The expected value to Kenyan authorities of citizen-generated data– March 13, 2022Director, Donor Relations & Development, Rights and Resources Initiative-OngoingBusiness and Data Analyst Team Manager at The International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) – OngoingOpenings at I-APS – Ongoing           Openings  at National Democratic Institute – OngoingOpenings at The Sentry – OngoingOpenings at Contracting Resources Group– Ongoing 

 

Calls/OpportunitiesThe Race Equity Culture Fellowship OngoingHive Mind’s Digital Campaigning Basics course– OngoingReimagining Philanthropy e-Learning Program– Monday, March 1st- April 8th, 2022! Pacific Islands Investigative Journalism Opportunities – OngoingFellowship, The Project on Resources and Governance (PRG)– March 31, 2022Aspen Institute’s Tech Policy Hub & Energy and EnvironmentWest Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) call for papers and articles – Open year-roundFree digital security training– OngoingCall for proposals: Informality, tax, and the state – Proposals accepted on a rolling basis              
CalendarAdopting a Movement Mindset course, Rhize– 3 Mar 2022 – 31 Mar 20223rd Meeting of the OECD Expert Group “Fighting disinformation together” – 21 March 2022 Trust between government and citizens: the key to responsiveness? – 22 March 2022SSRI Frontiers of Social Innovation Annual Conference –March 22-24, 2022Environmental Democracy- the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) 29 March, 2022 – 31 March 2022Call for papers in advance of the Shifting Narratives Conference on the political economy of public services, spending and production – 10 April 2022International Convention on  Anti-Corruption, Good Governance, and Human Rights –  April 21-22, 2022 (Boston, MA)United Philanthropy Forum – July 18-20, 2022SVRI Forum – September 19- 23,  2022
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