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Youth against corruption

Report | Doc. 14395 | 15 September 2017

Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media
Rapporteur :
Ms Eleonora CIMBRO, Italy, SOC
Reference to committee: Doc. 13845, Reference 4152 of 2 October 2015. 2017 - Fourth part-session


Young people have a fundamental role to play in bringing a new culture of integrity to all levels of the society, but they are also vulnerable. It is therefore important to devise appropriate empowerment strategies to raise their awareness and understanding about corruption and to build their capacity to stand up against it, ensuring their proper inclusion as stakeholders in any policy development and implementation of anti-corruption strategies.

To this end, national authorities are called upon, inter alia, to: support youth organisations’ initiatives against corruption and set up youth integrity networks; strengthen anti-corruption education and the fight against corruption in education, in co-operation with the Council of Europe ETINED and its network; seek youth involvement in the drafting of ethical charts and codes of conduct for school and university staff and students and enhance the protection of whistle-blowers. National authorities could also introduce an anti-corruption training and certification system for people engaged in public service.

The Secretary General of the Council of Europe should consider the establishment of a Platform for Integrity under the auspices of the Council of Europe, involving the Joint Council on Youth as appropriate. The report also encourages the inclusion of anti-corruption and integrity issues in the programmes of the Council of Europe Schools of Political Studies and in the projects supported by the European Youth Foundation.

A Draft resolutionNote

1. Many young people have the desire and capacity to transform the world and have the potential to positively affect future anti-corruption efforts. As the new generation of politicians, entrepreneurs and civil society actors, they have an important role to play in bringing a new culture of integrity to all levels of society; but they are also the most vulnerable. They should therefore be taught how to effectively detect, prevent and fight corruption.
2. To this end, it is very important to devise appropriate empowerment strategies to raise young people’s awareness and understanding of corruption and the way it undermines democratic societies, and at the same time empower them to stand up against corruption.
3. Education is undoubtedly central to preventing corruption. It should begin from the earliest age – at kindergarten and elementary school levels – and continue throughout the whole curriculum. It should also include professional training of supervisors and other education staff in ethical questions in the process of life-long learning.
4. In order for young people to become and remain engaged in anti-corruption initiatives, they need to feel included as stakeholders in policy development and implementation of anti-corruption strategies, and take ownership of the actions they are involved in. The more young people take the lead, the more chance policies have of succeeding. Youth initiatives become even more structured when integrated into larger campaigns on anti-corruption.
5. Young people are more likely to be creative in their approach to problem-solving. Anti-corruption efforts may be more innovative, forward-thinking and make better use of modern technologies.
6. Young people do not function as a homogeneous group; they have different perspectives, motivations and ways of thinking. Projects and support provided should be tailored to this diversity.
7. Young people who stand up to oppose corruption and fraud need proper protection. There is a clear need to set up adequate legal and administrative frameworks in all member States to ensure the protection of whistle-blowers.
8. In the light of the above, the Parliamentary Assembly invites the governments and parliaments of Council of Europe member and observer States as well as the States whose parliaments enjoy observer or partner for democracy status with the Assembly:
8.1 as regards anti-corruption policy making and improving the capacity of young people to unveil and oppose corruption, to:
8.1.1 involve relevant youth organisations and/or representatives in framing and implementing anti-corruption policies pertaining to the field where youth are active, in particular politics, education, sports and media;
8.1.2 uphold youth organisations’ initiatives and actions in the fight against corruption, in particular through targeted support for selected youth projects;
8.1.3 set up national networks where young people can share their experiences and knowledge about corruption, disseminate good practices and devise proposals for future action;
8.2 as regards anti-corruption education and the fight against corruption in education:
8.2.1 introduce integrity studies, from the earliest age, in the national school and university curricula, including both aspects of personal values and ethical behaviour and a human rights- based approach;
8.2.2 engage in a strategy to fight education fraud, with the help of the Council of Europe, by supporting the work of the Council of Europe Pan-European Platform on Ethics, Transparency and Integrity in Education (ETINED) and its network of specialists;
8.2.3 foster the approach that quality education will only be achieved, and corruption effectively addressed, if all relevant sectors of society commit fully to fundamental positive ethical principles for public and professional life, rather than relying only on top-down mechanistic regulatory measures;
8.2.4 involve young anti-corruption militants in developing strategies against corruption and unethical behaviour within education systems through participation in the drafting of ethical charts and codes of conduct for school and university staff and students, and/or in the design of integrity or transparency indexes encouraging educational institutions to be more transparent with regard to their budget and internal procedures such as staff promotions and exams;
8.2.5 develop anti-corruption educational materials aimed at students and teachers at various levels, in co-operation with anti-corruption State bodies and non-governmental organisations;
8.3 as regards the protection of whistle-blowers:
8.3.1 introduce appropriate legislation or bring national legislation into line with Committee of Ministers Recommendation CM/Rec(2014)7 on the protection of whistleblowers and the Assembly’s Resolution 2060 (2015) “Improving the protection of whistle-blowers” and Resolution 2171 (2017) “Parliamentary scrutiny over corruption: parliamentary co-operation with investigative media”;
8.3.2 support the work of NGOs engaged in providing legal advice, training and support in reporting and denouncing incidents of corruption;
8.3.3 consider setting up a support fund to help whistle-blowers cope with the direct and indirect consequences of their revelations;
8.4 as regards civil society organisations and youth associations:
8.4.1 support initiatives and encourage the participation of young people in activities such as summer schools and youth integrity camps and training programmes;
8.4.2 support the creation of e-platforms where all citizens can access information on how to combat corruption and share knowledge of good practices;
8.5 as regards public officials:
8.5.1 consider introducing an anti-corruption training and certification system for people engaged in public service, including local and regional authorities, to be developed in co-operation with universities, independent anti-corruption institutions, relevant civil society organisations and anti-corruption monitoring centres.
9. The Assembly invites the Secretary General of the Council of Europe to consider the feasibility of establishing a platform for integrity under the auspices of the Council of Europe, involving the Joint Council on Youth as appropriate. It also encourages the inclusion of anti-corruption and integrity issues in the programmes of the Council of Europe Schools of Political Studies and in the projects supported by the European Youth Foundation.
10. The Assembly further encourages the European Commission to support, via the Erasmus+ programme, initiatives for setting up anti-corruption studies at graduate, post-graduate and life-long learning level within the national education systems, and to support national and international youth associations and projects on anti-corruption projects, notably by creating anti-corruption platforms.

B Explanatory memorandum by Ms Eleonora Cimbro, rapporteur

1 Introduction

1. In terms of history, some of the world’s largest social movements with the greatest societal impact have been initiated by dynamic youth taking a stand against social grievances stemming from corruption matters. Youth participation in social movements can provide important innovative insights, such as the appropriation of new social media tools that allow quick, cheap and easy access to a large number of people. These have played a significant role in effective and swift collective mobilisation by young people, as was seen during the Arab Spring, the 2013 manifestations in the Gezi (Turkey) or the 2014 Ukrainian “Maidan” Revolution of Dignity.
2. As future leaders and voters, young people are an integral element in shaping the values of tomorrow. New generations of politicians, entrepreneurs and other civil society actors are coming to power and therefore, European youth has an important role to play in the fight against corruption, both in public and private sectors, by bringing a new culture of integrity to all levels of society. At the same time, they are exposed to bribery and corruption and it is important to protect them. Hence, young people should be taught how to detect, how to prevent and how to fight corruption. In this process, we should value their contribution and consider how their experience could reinforce and enrich national strategies to fight corruption; indeed we could possibly learn from them.
3. Many European countries are today struggling with setting up their national anti-corruption strategies. Often they are failing, for the established strategies are too theoretical and far removed from citizens. I ardently believe that involving young people in anti-corruption work is the only way towards changing mentalities, and this involvement should start at the earliest age.
4. The policy objective of this reportNote is therefore threefold:
  • to recognise the role of young people as “stakeholders” in the fight against corruption;
  • to consider how to ensure their proper inclusion in European and national anti-corruption strategies;
  • to identify tools and measures of youth empowerment in this domain.
5. I wish to thank for their contributions the experts who participated in our committee’s workNote and those who I met during my fact-finding visit to AthensNote in November 2016 and a series of round-table discussions in Rome.Note

2 Areas of youth involvement in anti-corruption activities

6. Young people are excellent spokespersons on anti-corruption issues as they are usually not cynical and are led by their ideals. They tend to be more open to wide socio-political transformation and have fewer vested interests in maintaining the status quo.
7. On the other hand, they tend to be more exposed to bribery and are therefore particularly vulnerable to corruption. According to Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer 2013, 27% of people under the age of 30 paid a bribe in the preceding 12 months worldwide.Note The European Commission’s “Eurobarometer” (2014) similarly indicates that 29% of 15 to 24-year-olds think that money, gifts and favours are acceptable, in return for something they want from public services. The percentage is higher than in other age groups.Note Furthermore, the E&Y Fraud Survey 2017 shows that respondents aged 25 to 34 in Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa are more likely than any other age group to justify unethical behaviour to help a business survive, to meet financial targets and for their own career progression: 73% respondents from Generation Y feel unethical action can be justified to help a business survive, while one in four could justify offering cash payments to win or retain business, compared to one in ten aged over 45.Note These factors should not be ignored.
8. Although examples of youth involvement can be found in many areas, I would highlight four areas in which youth action can have the most impact: politics, education, information and communications technology (ICT) and social media, and sport.

2.1 Politics

9. Recent history has seen whole movements of like-minded young people concerned about corruption transforming into political parties and even winning national elections. In several member States, young people are politically active on election issues, forming civil society organisations for free and fair elections and monitoring the application of electoral law and procedures.
10. However, young people often feel disconnected from the political sphere because of lack of information and alienated from politics in general, which is viewed as a domain for the few, where decisions are taken to benefit the richer and more powerful component of society. In addition, young people often feel that they are taken into account in a tokenistic way, where they “look nice” in photographs, but not in political decision-making. In many countries, politicians do visit schools from time to time in order to talk about their work, but in general young people have very little contact or dialogue with politicians. As a consequence, on the one hand non-party-affiliated young people remain outside the political decision-making process, and on the other hand, the few sporadic initiatives undertaken barely have a national scope because of lack of political support. I therefore see a strong need for politicians and notably relevant parliamentary committees to work closer with youth organisations engaged in the fight against corruption. Many political parties across Europe have youth branches, which help mobilise young people, often around summer schools and youth camps. However, these politically active young people are sometimes perceived by their peers as careerists eager to be part of the world of their elders.
11. A way to bring young people closer to politics is hands-on practical experience. Some anti-corruption organisations collaborate with schools or universities to engage students in simulations of election situations and organise debates/discussions on the topic of corruption and ethics in political life.
12. A further idea that I recently discussed with students and professors of an M.A. programme on anti-corruption of the University of Tor Vegata (Rome) would be to introduce a requirement for training and anti-corruption certification for young politicians and persons engaged in public service, notably young public officers at local, regional and national level. This instrument could be very helpful for those at the beginning of their mandates, to learn how to recognise the various nuances of corruption. This is sometimes not so easy and non-expert people can fall into a corruption scandal without being fully aware of what is really happening. Such a Europe-wide anti-corruption certificate could be developed in co-operation with academia, State and autonomous anti-corruption institutions, civil society organisations and monitoring centres.

2.2 Education

13. Education is a powerful tool to fight corruption; but corruption is present within the education system too. Corrupt education systems can prevent young people from achieving their potential by depriving them of adequate learning conditions and educational opportunities. Moreover, a corrupt education sector serves as a breeding ground for corruption itself, by teaching the younger generation that corrupt behaviour is acceptable. Therefore, an education sector free of corruption is imperative for the promotion of a culture of ethics and anti-corruption among youth.
14. Examples of (systemic or ad hoc) corruption in education range from the embezzlement of funds intended for school buildings and the selling of diplomas to plagiarism and “essay mills” in universities. Children from certain communities might be favoured for school admission while others are subject to extra payments. At institutional level there may be opaque and inaccessible recruitment procedures or nepotism, and, at the highest level, national budgets may be distributed unfairly, favouring certain higher education institutions. Some of the trends are growing, but there is little statistical information available to assess the real extent of the problem.Note
15. In order to become efficient observers of corruption, youth activists need to acquire skills and learn about tools that can help them uncover and denounce different forms of corruption. A number of anti-corruption organisations such as the Council of Europe with its new Pan-European Platform on Ethics, Transparency and Integrity in Education (ETINED) or UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) are working to engage young people in denouncing corrupt practices. Once familiar with the basic tools to diagnose/disclose corruption, young people can become active as anti-corruption militants and develop strategies against corruption and unethical behaviour within the education system.Note
16. The ETINED Platform, launched in 2015, proposes a new bottom-up approach based on the idea that quality education will only be achieved, and corruption effectively addressed, if all relevant sectors of society commit fully to fundamental positive ethical principles for public and professional life, rather than relying only upon top-down mechanistic regulatory measures. It wants to help develop a culture of democracy and participation, based on the principles of ethics, transparency and integrity. Corruption should be fought through legal norms and structures, but it is not enough. It must also be considered unacceptable by stakeholders and the public at large.
17. Representatives of university and school students are part of the Platform and the role of young people as “stakeholders” in the fight against corruption is thus recognised also on an institutional level.
18. The programme attaches a lot of importance to “ownership” through the involvement of all stakeholders in the design of educational policies. The principle of “early start” is another key focus of the programme. Ethical issues have to be communicated as early as possible and spread throughout the curriculum, be present everywhere.
19. In 2001, the IIEP-UNESCO launched a comprehensive programme on ethics and corruption in education. This programme is aimed at a diverse public: education decision-makers, educational planners and managers, and civil society representatives.
20. In order to gather information on the Institute’s activities on ethics and corruption in education, and the work of its international partners in this domain, the IIEP-UNESCO has created ETICO,Note an online platform which serves as a clearing house for the exchange of knowledge.
21. Ms Muriel Poisson, Head of Research and Development Team of IIEP-UNESCO, identified two types of activities that are essential to engage youth in the fight against corruption in the education sector. Firstly, it is crucial for young people to possess the right diagnostic tools to be able to uncover corruption (youth as observers of corrupt practices). Secondly, young people must be empowered to act against corrupt behaviour, either individually or as part of a youth network (youth as militants against corruption).
22. Youth activists need to acquire skills and learn about tools, which can help them uncover and denounce different forms of corruption. The IIEP-UNESCO has identified several tools as being especially promising for young activists, including perception surveys and focus groups to diagnose issues related to cheating, e.g. plagiarism, corrupt admission procedures, etc. The IIEP had a number of experiences involving young people.
23. Another tool is to use integrity assessments in order to map corruption risks within the education sector; these assessments can be used in different domains, for example in the financing, recruitment and management of school or university staff, in school/university admission and exams, and the granting of credentials and diplomas. Quantitative service delivery surveys (QSDS) are also used to collect quantitative data on the efficiency of public spending and the different aspects of front-line service delivery usually represented by schools or universities in the education sector. The important thing is to involve the young people in the survey process.
24. The IIEP-UNESCO offers training on these tools through locally organised workshops or online courses. These training programmes have a capacity-building effect but also contribute to a common understanding of shared values and norms, thereby helping to establish a common ground for action.
25. Exchanges between youth activists and senior experts, at national and international events, are also crucial to encourage new generations to get involved in the fight against corruption, favour the establishment of a network of anti-corruption activists and offer an opportunity for the younger generation to learn from experts that have been active in the field for a number of years.

2.3 Internet, social media and media

26. Using ICT and social media has the potential to reach large numbers of young people, easily and at very low cost. Many youth organisation communicate with their members and others through social media. Many young anti-corruption activists have started their projects through their Facebook pages or blogs.
27. During my recent visit to Greece, I met with law students from the Panteion University of Athens who started a Facebook group called Anti-Corruption Youth Greece (ACYG) a few years ago, which now has 1 300 members. The group is currently developing an innovative and creative anti-corruption application “Dislike” for mobile phones and tablets.Note
28. I also learnt of other cases where ordinary Greeks have found ways of fighting back against endemic levels of corruption in their country by creating websites for reporting bribery or other cases of corruption. One example is Kristina Tremonti’s “edosafakelaki” (meaning “I paid a bribe”) site,Note which allows people to report anonymously on cases of bribe-giving or taking, or indeed cases where bribes were refused. A little over a month after its creation in 2012, 1 000 different reports of bribery appeared on the site.Note
29. As the virtual environment is evolving rapidly, it is also a duty for public authorities everywhere in Europe to come forward and create effective online tools to inform the public and ensure in real time the full transparency of public policies, allowing citizens to lodge complaints of corruption in a less bureaucratic and more secure way.
30. All over Europe, there are courageous young journalists who disclose corruption cases, often risking their jobs or security, or even their lives while doing their job. Their efforts and the risks they take are often not sufficiently recognised and would deserve much more public attention.
31. Mr Gutiérrez, Secretary General of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), highlighted the need to reconnect young people with the media and journalism and to educate them about the fundamental role played by the media in protecting democracy. In Belgium (in the Walloon region), the Association of Professional Journalists has launched a project entitled “Journalists in the classroom”, which offers pupils aged 11 to 18 in State and private schools the opportunity to meet with a journalist for a few hours. Mr Gutiérrez voiced his belief that organising such meetings, in particular with investigative journalists, in more classes and in other countries, would not only redound to the credit of the journalistic profession but would also help foster the kind of transparency and accountability which journalism sought to uphold.
32. In some contexts, encouraging youth to stand up against corruption without ensuring a safe environment or young people’s own initiatives to reveal the corruption they observe or investigate, can put them in danger. Security and safety are important issues to take into account when engaging youth in anti-corruption.
33. However, in order to establish an effective right of access to information for European youth, allowing them to use the internet as a tool to fight corruption, lawmakers shall overcome the digital divide which is currently present in some European countries. Recent research has shown, in fact, that there is a statistically strong correlation between corruption and the lack of digital development of a country (in some European countries, for example in Italy, according to the most recent data, only 12% of the population can count on a broadband connection).

2.4 Sports

34. Many young people across Europe are involved in sports activities and are not immune to corruptive practices such as bribery, doping, match-fixing, etc. Several NGOs have increasingly started partnerships with sports associations to educate young people on ethical values, democracy and solidarity. Transparency International Italy has used sports clubs to inform youth about the importance of resisting corruption through the values of sports and fair play.Note
35. A group of nine different civil society organisations related to sports have set up, through the Erasmus+ programme, a project called YOULEAD, the idea of which is to promote and support the role of youth in sports governance reform, empowering them and offering them the adequate set of individual skills in order to create a new generation of competent sport leaders and preparing sport for tomorrow’s challenges.
36. The Anti-Corruption Youth Greece (ACYG) mentioned above has adopted the fight against corruption in sports as one of its priority strategic goals for 2017-2020. The project will also include organising a “2017 Sports Integrity International Youth Summer Camp” at the premises of the International Olympic Academy in Greece, for which the association is also soliciting the participation of the Council of Europe and the Assembly.

3 Youth engagement practices

37. In recent years, civil society has been increasingly working with youth and encouraging them to engage in civilian movements. Transparency International is a natural leader organisation engaging young people in anti-corruption activities; however, there are many more international organisations (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Council of Europe, UNESCO, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), etc.) and international, national or local civil society organisations encouraging young people to get involved in anti-corruption activities.
38. Transparency International has created a useful anti-corruption kit – offering 15 ideas for young activists, with step-by-step guidance on how to turn a plan into action. The Anti-Corruption kit covers the following areas:
  • keeping watch on public resources (follow the money; count supplies; citizen report cards; tech solutions);
  • creative anti-corruption activities (comics and cartoons; theatre and drama; board games; sports);
  • how to mobilise communities (youth groups; integrity camps; “zero” bribes; protests; petitions);
  • election monitoring (election pledges; crowd-sourcing).
39. As regards the governmental level, I have not had the possibility to consider national anti-corruption, education or youth policies of the member States and assess how much at national policy level youth may be engaged in policy development and implementation.
40. During my visit to Athens, however, I was pleased to observe that, although (with the exception of a few universities) so far there has been no systematic engagement of youth (organisations) in the development of national anti-corruption strategies or at the Ministry of Education level no educational projects to include anti-corruption studies in the mainstream school curriculum, the interest for it was clear. The new National Anti-Corruption Plan of Action incorporates several actions for the development of courses for primary and secondary education on the negative impacts of corruption.
41. A decade ago, Amnesty International conducted a studyNote carried out among its young members about the best ways to reach out and engage youth in the social and civic movement. The top five answers were: long-term education, concerts and festivals, outreach programmes in schools and universities, television and celebrity endorsement. The individuals surveyed also mentioned international youth meetings and social media as good ways of getting young people’s attention.Note
42. In 2013, Transparency International presented its own list of best practices in a classification that I find interesting to follow for the purposes of this report. It highlighted the following areas:
  • youth integrity camps
  • collaboration with schools and universities
  • integrity clubs and youth-led movements
  • awareness-raising through arts and sports
  • competitions and training
  • hackathons and new technologies
43. I would further separate the activities that are adult-led from those that are youth-led, even though in many cases the borderline is relatively blurred. What makes the distinction is where the initiatives come from.

3.1 Adult-led anti-corruption practices involving youth

44. Adult-led anti-corruption activities tend to be more formal, linked to the core activities of national governments, education authorities or civil society organisations.

3.1.1 Collaboration with schools and universities

45. Anti-corruption education in schools is still far from being the reality in most European countries, despite the fact that subjects suitable for its incorporation (like citizenship education, ethics or law) are parts of the curricula. It is crucial that children be made aware of corruption risks and their adverse effects from the earliest age, and that integrity studies be introduced at all levels of school education, including both aspects of personal values and ethical behaviour and a human rights-based approach.
46. In this regard, Italy has introduced interesting institutional initiatives:
  • a specific school subject on “Citizenship and Constitution” has been introduced (however there is not a specific focus on (anti-)corruption subjects and overall learning and anti-corruption teaching materials are rare);
  • in 2015, the Ministry of Education signed a Declaration of intent with the National Anticorruption Authority, the National Magistrates Association and the National Antimafia Office to promote integrity education;
  • in May 2017, a portal on integrity and school was created by the National News Agency in co-operation with the Ministry of Education and the Department of Equal Opportunities.
47. My attention has also been drawn to an interesting project, run by Transparency International (TI) Italy, TI-Slovenia and TI-Hungary since 2014, which was presented to the World Forum for Democracy 2016. The project entitled “Innovative Approaches towards Teaching Anti-corruption in Formal Education” and funded by the “Erasmus+ programme – KA2 Strategic Partnership in the Field of Secondary Education” aims at fostering the integration of anti-corruption education in the school curricula. The project, which will finish in 2017, will reach its objectives through a set of activities: the development of educational materials aimed at students and teachers; the training and mobilisation of teachers and students; and advocacy initiatives aimed at policy makers and education stakeholders at large.
48. Both teachers and students have been mobilised in this project. A film script-writing contest was opened in each country. The call “Imagine the world without corruption” asked Italian, Hungarian and Slovenian students to write a script that promotes a positive message on the fight against corruption. The three best scripts in each country will be selected and produced in co-operation with professional video film producers. The winners (one from each country) will be selected and their films will be screened at an international film festival in Piacenza (Italy) in August 2017.
49. According to Ms Chiara Paganuzzi, presenter of the project from TI Italy, it is important that fostering an anti-corruption pedagogy is anchored in a human rights approach that teaches students to claim their rights and demand accountability from rights holders and duty bearers (including teachers).
50. Other provisional conclusions and lessons learnt from the project led to the following recommendations:
  • Place education at the centre of national anti-corruption strategies. Task anti-corruption agencies with working with ministries of education in order to develop a framework for teaching anti-corruption values in schools starting at an early age; require national teacher training on ethics, integrity and human rights, and work to draft anti-corruption syllabi for teacher training and schools in collaboration with students, school personnel, and civil society organisations.
  • Make democratic governance of schools a reality. The democratic governance of schools is crucial to create a positive cycle for social change. Students must be exposed to a curriculum that prizes the values of democracy, citizenship and human rights. They must also experience what these mean in practice in the classroom and inside the school.
  • Ensure that citizenship and human rights education are an integral part of the national curriculum (formal and non-formal curricula) and prioritise that a specific anti-corruption curriculum is pursued in accordance with Article 13.c of the United Nations Convention against Corruption, and that the syllabus for teaching anti-corruption is interactive and participatory and utilises new communication technologies. The design of new syllabi should be undertaken in full collaboration with youth representatives.
  • Foster research to further analyse the impact of anti-corruption education for changes in behaviour. Research should also be promoted to investigate to what extent the use of ICT and particularly forms of e-participation are effective means to prevent corruption.
51. At higher education or life-long learning level, several institutions all around the world offer anti-corruption study opportunities. One of them is the United Nations Anti-Corruption Academic Initiative (ACAD), a collaborative academic project launched in Boston in 2011 and led by an expert group comprising a wide range of academics, governmental experts and officials from international organisations. It aims to produce a comprehensive anti-corruption academic support tool composed of a menu of academic modules, syllabi, case studies, educational tools and reference materials that may be integrated by universities and other academic institutions into their existing academic programmes.
52. ACAD is designed as an open source tool and the material will be offered online, free of charge, to interested educational institutions, which will also be encouraged to contribute to and further develop the content. ACAD does not intend to create a wholesale, rigid curriculum but rather seeks to provide a menu of thematic topics, which academic institutions may choose from and, with the support of the ACAD group, integrate into their existing academic programmes.Note
53. Also the Council of Europe Schools of Political Studies, which provide training on democracy, human rights and the rule of law in central, eastern and south-eastern Europe, the South Caucasus and part of the Maghreb region in Northern Africa, have a role to play in shaping the values of young people and getting them to participate in anti-corruption actions. The Montenegrin School, for example, frequently writes about concrete examples of potential corruption in its monthly newsletters. The School also advocates for policy recommendations to strengthen the capacities of the public prosecutors and measures that can decrease the potentiality of corruption in the public sphere and has promoted a series of changes that led to applying the IT system in health care, eliminating the human factor where there was a risk of corruption. The Russian School is also apparently active in this sense, bring constant pressure to bear on the authorities to detect suspicious cases via their investigative reports.
54. Nevertheless, the potential of the Schools of Political Studies could be better exploited. They could: inform young leaders and policy makers about anti-corruption procedures; offer national stakeholders relevant data and recommendations in order to include young people’s perspective in policy making; participate in already existing national anti-corruption coalitions in co-operation with local NGOs and help build new coalitions and platforms for a more intensive exchange of best practices amongst young people as regards the fight against corruption; raise awareness of young people about the reports and recommendations of the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO).
55. On more informal basis, many anti-corruption organisations use schools and universities as platforms for reaching out to young people and facilitating their engagement. One such organisation is “Mafia? Nein Danke! e.V.”,Note which is actively organising events, lectures, discussions and book and movie presentations in which it shows the experiences of the Italian anti-Mafia movement. Furthermore, it organises training courses concerning the fight against organised crime, like workshops, university courses and meetings with students and pupils in different schools.

3.1.2 Youth integrity camps

56. Several organisations, including Transparency International and U4 Anti-Corruption, organise youth integrity camps. The concept of these camps stems from an understanding that involving, informing and educating young people about the benefits of integrity, transparency and good governance can make a significant difference in shaping future societies and the balance of power within them. The objective of these camps is to give young people and young leaders from various sectors the tools and incentives to become strong supporters of open and responsible governance, and to mobilise their peers.Note
57. Across the Transparency International movement, young people come together to learn how to fight corruption. The Transparency International Summer School on Integrity consists of a week-long series of lectures, seminars and workshops where students analyse corruption in different sectors and fields, reasons for its existence and its consequences, the desirability of transparency and other corruption-related topics. The Summer School on Integrity in Vilnius in 2016 gathered 140 students from 60 different countries to learn about philosophical and practical sides of fighting corruption. Guest speakers shared their knowledge and experience on a wide range of issues including: how to campaign for and monitor anti-corruption legislation; how to measure corruption and; the importance of access to information and whistle-blower protection laws.Note
58. U4 Anti-Corruption was also involved in 2015 in the organisation of the Trondheim Youth Forum, which brought together hundreds of young people to talk about how to fight corruption.

3.1.3 Competitions and training

59. An effective way to facilitate the development of youth-oriented anti-corruption activities is to give young people the opportunity to make their voice heard and implement their ideas through competitions and seed grants.
60. A common way is to use writing and essay competitions. These have been organised by many organisations and they allow young people to communicate how they perceive corruption, how it affects their lives and what they think should be done to stop it. Writing competitions are not only a way to encourage young people to think about the issue, they also serve as a means for civil society organisations to learn about other perspectives and to understand how young people could get involved.Note
61. For example, the World Bank has organised a worldwide annual Essay Competition for youth aged 18 to 25 since 2004. The competition is managed by the World Bank office in Paris, and is implemented in partnership with the country offices of the World Bank and public information centres in 84 countries, as well as partners from universities, NGOs and youth organisations from all over the globe.Note
62. A good example is a global competition called “Fair Play” which invites young musical bands to present new anti-corruption songs (organised by the JMI Foundation, the World Bank Institute and the Global Youth Anti-Corruption Youth Network). A photo competition called “Capture Corruption” is also a global competition looking for the most powerful images of corruption and its devastating impact on lives around the world.Note
63. In general, civil society organisations increasingly turn to new means of communication to try to reach a younger audience, and use the need for innovative ideas to engage young people in the fight against corruption by providing them with the means to deepen their knowledge by means of multi-media and traditional and social media. They offer more and more training to young people in film-making, journalistic writing, photography, etc., to allow young people to become a relay to disseminate the values of transparency, integrity and good governance.

3.1.4 Facilitating youth networking

64. The World Bank Institute (WBI) has contributed to the anti-corruption effort by establishing a youth network with a specific focus on anti-corruption – the Global Youth Anti-Corruption Network (GYAC). GYAC was initiated with the objective of connecting youth groups from around the world working to fight corruption, as well as facilitating and strengthening this network. The network aims to mobilise youth groups around anti-corruption issues, using innovative approaches through which to inspire and engage them in the long term to fight corruption. The programme was launched in January 2010 with a virtual event where WBI’s Global Development Learning Network connected youth groups that work on promoting good governance with each other and young journalist around the world.

3.2 Youth-led anti-corruption movements

65. Engaging youth in the fight against corruption can also take the form of initiatives and movements led by young people themselves. Especially informal youth groups can find it easier to act at the local, grass-roots level, outside of rigid association structures, even if the latter can add significant catalysing value by providing platforms, resources, knowledge, visibility, etc.

3.2.1 Anti-corruption youth movements

66. Many anti-corruption youth movements have started from spontaneous initiatives. Anti-Corruption Youth Greece was set up in 2013 by some students following a lecture course on the United Nations Convention against Corruption. Inspired by their Professor Dr Dimitris Ziouvas, they started street campaigns, holding public debates with high-level speakers from the Hellenic Parliament, and training school children on the importance of accountability, integrity and transparency – the pillars of anti-corruption.Note
67. Another more education-related movement is the Ukrainian Students’ Anti-Corruption Initiative “ShevaPil”,Note which was launched in March 2015 in the Taras Shevchenko University (Kyiv). Some students put under scrutiny the University leadership and managed to uncover a number of corruption practices in the higher education system. They mobilised students and attracted the attention of the media, society and members of parliament to corruption in higher education. They first highlighted procurement irregularities, upon which the Ukrainian anti-monopoly commission opened an investigation in this case. ShevaPil also brought to light the irregularities connected to the University Rector, which led to the creation of a Monitoring Committee of the Ministry of Education on this issue.
68. Another such movement is Dosta! (Enough!) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a non-violent youth movement to promote government accountability to citizens, and to engage citizens from across religious and ethnic groups in the country. In 2009, it launched a social media web page and on the ground campaign that eventually succeeded in pressurising Prime Minister Branković to resign over his alleged low-cost purchase of an apartment.Note
69. A further example is Addiopizzo (goodbye protection money), a youth anti-mafia movement in Palermo, Italy, organised to empower businesses to publicly refuse to pay money to the mafia, educate school children about integrity, and mobilise citizens to resist the mafia through reverse boycott. By 2012, 1 000 businesses had joined a network which refuses to pay protection money.Note

3.2.2 Awareness-raising through arts and sports

70. Festivals and concerts are seen by young people themselves as appropriate settings to engage youth. Cultural and sport events are avenues with enormous potential for outreach and awareness-raising, thanks to their popularity and the diverse audiences they attract. Many organisations increasingly use such events to communicate their message to young people.
71. The content created by young people and consumed by them in such an attractive and entertaining way can be followed by millions of young people. The impact of such content could be further multiplied by sharing it on social media.

3.2.3 ICT and social networking

72. The rapidly proliferating use of ICT, social media, and crowd-sourcing platforms allows quick, cheap and easy access to a large number of people. Young people who live increasingly in the virtual world feel comfortable with communicating all their concerns to a wide public. This goes also for anti-corruption issues.
73. In Kosovo*,Note for example, a project was launched to prevent corruption in the education sector using social media and SMS to collect reports of alleged corruption. In a period of six months, the online platform received 500 reports. All the cases were verified in collaboration with NGOs, and were then sent to the respective institutions for follow-up. The organisation took responsibility for holding the institutions accountable.Note

4 Protection of young whistle-blowers

74. Witness accounts offer invaluable insights into corruption, and are powerful tools in the fight against it. But in many countries, blowing the whistle can carry high personal risk – particularly when there is little legal protection against dismissal, humiliation or even physical abuse. I find it lamentable that to this day there is no solid or common basis of legislation in Europe that would define how to adequately protect and support whistle-blowers. This has massive repercussions for the people involved. Today it simply depends on the member State concerned what kind of protection – or prosecution – they receive.
75. Controls on information, libel and defamation laws, and inadequate investigation of whistle-blowers’ claims can all deter people from speaking out.Note This is certainly the case for many young people who are reluctant to make their voices heard because they fear they would not be understood, be put under pressure, or, worse, exposed to persecution. Therefore, adequate legal and administrative frameworks need to be set up both at pan-European and national levels in order to ensure protection of young people active in fighting corruption, including whistle-blowers.
76. From the moment I became rapporteur, I undertook to promote the adoption of proper whistle-blower legislation in my own country. In Italy, a project of law was voted by the Chamber of Deputies in November 2015, but the latter is now deadlocked and is still blocked at the Senate. Riparte il Futuro and Transparency International Italia have been carrying out a campaign “Voci di giustizia” since July 2016, in order to support the bill of law and to put pressure on the institutions, collecting 57 693 (data of 6 June 2017) signatures. One of the key issues that the new law should rectify is the right not to be identified as the source of the disclosure, the right to anonymity not being included in the current Criminal Procedure Code. An amendment should also be made to the Italian Labour Statute law, providing explicit protection against discrimination and retaliation also in the case of an employee who blows the whistle.
77. During my round-table discussions in Rome in February, a whistle-blower Andrea Franzoso shared his story on revealing corruption in the company TreNord in 2015 and the hardships that he had endured ever since. The company Ferrovie Nord Milano, for which he had worked and whose CEO he had denounced for corrupt practices, was a public-private company. However, the currently applicable 2012 Severino Act did not cover private companies; therefore he had found no protection in jurisdiction. But worse than the legal situation, was the psychological pressure of being regarded as a spy and a troublemaker. The round table therefore discussed the need for the protection of the anonymity of whistle-blowers, the necessity of extending the whistle-blower law to private companies and mixed companies, the rehabilitation of the image of whistle-blowers, and the possibility of setting up a Fund to helping whistle-blowers cope with their legal expenses and compensate for loss of income. We also considered the American system of compensation to whistle-blowers; however, the majority thought that pecuniary compensation for denouncing mostly financial fraud was not appropriate for the European system.
78. We also discussed the necessity of spreading an anti-corruption culture, passing through the use of the Italian language. The National Authority on Anti-Corruption had launched a contest of ideas in three schools to find a good Italian equivalent for the word “whistle-blower”, in order to give dignity and concreteness to a figure who is not always perceived in a positive way.
79. Independently of the fact that young people are more vulnerable than mature adults, whistle-blower protection should be the same for all. I am aware that our committee has already dealt in detail with whistle-blower protection in Ms Gülsün Bilgehan’s report on “Parliamentary scrutiny over corruption: parliamentary co-operation with investigative media”,Note which was debated at the 2017 June part-session. I can but endorse the resolution, which demands that member States give protection to whistle-blowers “which is at least equal to that provided for in Committee of Ministers Recommendation CM/Rec(2014)7 on the protection of whistleblowers.
80. Nevertheless, I will continue to look into practical ways of improving the protection of young whistle-blowers and promote the adoption of relevant legislation, starting from my own country but also at European level. It is time to tackle the issue and create a common European legislative basis in order to guarantee that the people who reveal information in the public interest, young and old alike, receive proper protection.

5 Conclusions: what appears to work?

81. Engaging youth is not a box-ticking exercise. Transparency International, the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre and others have regularly raised questions regarding the success and sustainability of youth engagement efforts. They all conclude that projects designed and led by young people themselves, supported by civil society organisations, have been more successful with outreach and sustaining individual engagement. Moreover, using existing structures and integrating youth engagement activities into a broader context has proved to be an effective approach in many settings.Note
82. I believe that national parliaments and political parties should pay more attention to the role of young people in fighting corruption and that the level of political support and endorsement of their action needs to be significantly increased. Of course, this should also lead to coherent action to foster and accompany concrete initiatives. In this respect, I align myself with the conclusions of the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, of their lessons learnt from youth initiatives:
  • first, young people need to be engaged at the design stage of policies concerning them. The more young people take the lead, the more chance policies have of succeeding;
  • second, most innovative and most efficient are the initiatives led by the young people themselves. The projects masterminded by public authorities without some youth groups leading them are not half as successful;
  • third, young people do not function as a homogeneous group; they have different perspectives, motivations and ways of thinking. Projects and support provided should thus be tailored to this diversity;
  • fourth, youth initiatives become more structured when integrated into larger anti-corruption campaigns. Public institutions can be highly instrumental in this, integrating youth associations into larger umbrella efforts;
  • finally, it is important to build a structure for the youth movement so that the young people themselves can look for allies and find alliances with other stakeholders such as universities, public figures, businesses, ambassadors, etc.
83. The draft resolution contains some concrete proposals which build on this information. In addition, I think it would be necessary and desirable to set up a platform for integrity under the auspices of the Council of Europe, which could bring together young people, educational institutions, representatives of the public and private sectors, international organisations and civil society organisations. As part of the platform, an e-platform could be created, where all citizens could access information on how to combat corruption, report – even anonymously – incidents of corruption and share knowledge and good practices.
84. Finally, it would also be important to look for ways to collaborate with the Group of States against CorruptionNote (GRECO) and the Parliamentary Assembly’s Anti-corruption PlatformNote in order to emphasise the role that young people can play in the fight against corruption and to find national, regional and international solutions regarding youth empowerment, social movements and creating a more conscious youth demographic in the fight against corruption.