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U4 Helpdesk Answer

Managing corruption challenges in humanitarian settings

Delivering humanitarian assistance efficiently and equitably in conditions conducive to high levels of corruption requires strong risk management processes. While further systematic research is still needed on which approaches work best, there is a considerable amount of literature available on the recommended tools aid agencies can deploy to manage corruption challenges.

4 February 2019
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Managing corruption challenges in humanitarian settings

Main points

  • The high level of vulnerability in the humanitarian sector to corruption challenges is increasingly recognised. The level of discussion and openness around the topic is gradually improving.
  • Corruption challenges in humanitarian settings vary significantly according to contextual conditions. Risks are present across the programme cycle with corruption taking diverse forms. These are not limited to financial forms of corruption and include sextortion, nepotism and political interference.
  • There are existing detailed resource texts on preventing and managing corruption risks (see in particular Transparency International 2014 and 2017) which provide various tools in these areas. This briefing summarises the key measures.
  • There is also a growing number of country case studies which provide valuable examples of lessons learned from humanitarian crises.
  • Nevertheless, there has been little systematic evaluation of which anti-corruption measures have proven to be the most effective. This is a gap in the literature where further research is needed.

Cite this publication

Shipley, T.; (2019) Managing corruption challenges in humanitarian settings. Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Helpdesk Answer 2019:2)

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Thomas Shipley


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This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)