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Resolution 2192 (2017) Provisional version

Youth against corruption

Author(s): Parliamentary Assembly

Origin - Assembly debate on 13 October 2017 (36th Sitting) (see Doc. 14395, report of the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media, rapporteur: Ms Eleonora Cimbro). Text adopted by the Assembly on 13 October 2017 (36th Sitting).

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 legislation and public policy in general: introduce as law in Council of Europe member States where this has not already been done, the principle of public access to all official, non-secret documents kept by a State or other public authority, and public access to court proceedings and political meetings, on the grounds that it has proven to be an efficient means of exposing corruption and related crimes, and thereby also instilling confidence in society among the younger generation;
8.6. as regards public officials: 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.