Anti-Corruption and Integrity

Project description

Title: Sector Programme on Anti-Corruption and Integrity
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Global
Overall term: 2019 to 2022


In 2015, 193 countries affirmed their commitment to the 17 goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including Germany. According to an estimate by the United Nations in 2018, the international community loses 5% of global gross domestic product through corruption. Effective measures to combat corruption are therefore a prerequisite for achieving the ambitious goals of the 2030 Agenda. 

Corruption is one of the greatest obstacles to development, as it misuses public resources for private purposes. It weakens public administration, prevents equitable decisions from being made for the common good, and reduces the quality of public services. In addition, corruption reinforces inequality that fuels conflicts in society, as resources are taken away from sustainable and inclusive development work. It can weaken the legitimacy of a government and democratic institutions and significantly slow down reform processes. 

It is possible to take effective measures to reduce corruption. In addition to directly combating corruption by effectively revealing and prosecuting offences, they include prevention measures, in particular strengthening transparency, participation, accountability and integrity. The latter refers to the behaviour and actions of individual persons and institutions that comply with moral and ethical principles and can provide a protective barrier against corruption. 

Supporting anti-corruption measures and strengthening good governance therefore form a central element of German development cooperation. This work is based on the Anti-Corruption and Integrity Strategy of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The objective of the sector programme is to support the implementation of this strategy at international, national, political and sector-specific level in the German development cooperation structures. 


The capacities of BMZ, implementing organisations in German development cooperation, and selected partners are strengthened with respect to their anti-corruption and integrity implementation expertise.


One step the programme is taking to achieve this goal is to work together with the commissioning party and the implementing organisations to strongly raise awareness of the issue through the procedures and processes of German development cooperation. In addition, the programme is piloting anti-corruption strategies in German development cooperation fields of action such as forestry, agriculture and health care, and is supporting the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption in projects working on the issue of good governance. Overall, the sector programme is divided into five fields of activity: 

  • The programme supports BMZ in positioning anti-corruption and integrity in national and international discussions. 
  • It demonstrates the effectiveness of approaches to achieve anti-corruption and integrity.
  • It lays the foundations for more firmly establishing anti-corruption and integrity as a cross-cutting issue.
  • The programme is also developing approaches to achieve anti-corruption and integrity in current and future-oriented issues.
  • Moreover, it supports partners in North and West Africa in implementing the standards of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Financial Action Task Force. 

Within these fields of activity, the programme is developing methods and creating knowledge products for issues such as integrity and transparency in various areas (including climate, forest, land and water), for compliance and integrity in public administration, and for risk management and corruption prevention in fragile contexts or contexts affected by violence. 

In order to achieve the goals agreed with the commissioning party (BMZ), the programme is working in close cooperation with partners such as the Utstein Anti-Corruption Resource Center (U4), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). Moreover, BMZ maintains a strategic partnership with the Transparency International secretariat.


The programme is focusing on providing support for putting the BMZ anti-corruption strategy into practice. Over the past four years, the advisory services provided for BMZ and the development of methodological aids have already contributed towards establishing the issue more effectively in the steering and planning processes of German development cooperation. On top of this, the programme is making an important contribution towards positioning German development cooperation on national and international forums. Among other things, this includes the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption and the International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC). 

New approaches have promoted integrity management in partner organisations in various sectors, including in the energy, education and water sectors. One example from Kenya shows how good governance indicators have given water providers incentives to become more transparent. The Kenyan-German project to reform the water sector has contributed towards an important expansion of the reporting system. Each year, the Kenyan regulatory authority for the water sector has recorded the main key indicators for measuring the performance of more than 100 water utilities in the country. Using one of the new indicators, the authority has now also begun to assess good governmental and corporate governance. The main focus here was on the supervisory boards, which need to ensure transparency, civic participation, integrity and accountability. In this way, the owners of companies throughout the country, the district governments, were impelled to take measures to better protect the operating processes of their water providers against corruption. The improved governance can provide more people with access to clean drinking water and sanitation.