What exactly is integrity, why is it important, and what are we doing to promote it?
Integrity requires that we go a step beyond addressing corruption to ensuring that we all adhere to the governance principles of transparency, accountability and participation in order to achieve equitable, pro-poor, inclusive decision-making and action that eliminates inequalities and discrimination in access to services. By this we mean that it is not sufficient to eliminate fraud and corruption in service provision, but we must all act with integrity to remove barriers to universal access through addressing inaction, or deliberate failure to ensure access to services by vulnerable, marginalised or otherwise discriminated against individuals and groups regardless of who they are and where they live.
Promoting integrity is critical for achieving our goal of leaving no-one behind, and is central to SWA practices - and here is how:
- SWA’s focus on multi-stakeholder processes is the ideal place to start promoting integrity. Corruption flourishes where a small, homogenous group of people are able to work alone, calling the shots, making decisions without consultation and controlling resources. Because the SWA partnership is a truly multi-stakeholder partnership, where all and any conversations include a diverse range of actors, sharing a diverse range of opinions, viewpoints and needs, the opportunities for corruption are reduced
- Mutual accountability thrives through multi-stakeholder processes, limiting the risks of corruption, and opening chances for cooperative action. Where strategies, plans and targets are made collaboratively, stakeholders can hold each other to account for delivering on their commitments. SWA’s mutual accountability mechanism has been developed around this sense that we each have something to offer to achieve the SDGs, and we should be prepared to publicly demonstrate that we are doing what we have promised.
- Transparency and access to information shines a light where corruption would previously have been able to hide. Where government plans and budgets are made public people are able to check whether governments are actually doing what they say they are doing.
- SWA supports monitoring of service provision as a critical step towards identifying needs as well as providing the government and other stakeholders of evidence of progress made.
- It would not be possible to achieve integrity in action relating to water and sanitation without the focus on leaving no-one behind. Integrity does not just rely on the absence of corruption, but on positive action by governments to eliminate inequalities and to stop discrimination in order to ensure that everyone has access to water and sanitation, whoever they are and wherever they live. SWA partners put the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable individuals and communities first.