Ethics in public services have a direct bearing on the performance and public perception of government credibility. This report is the product of a policy dialogue colloquium held at the invitation of the Government of Brazil. The colloquium's objective was to begin open discussion in Brazil on how to implement practical initiatives which would promote sound ethical principles and conduct by public servants.
This report arose from an ad hoc expert group meeting, held on the Internet, on weaknesses in systems of accountability and trasnparency that facilitate unethical behaviour. A basic issues paper is supplemented by eight country papers covering Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Swaziland and Uganda, plus the report of the experts. One key observation is that there is a critical need for governments and donors to recognise the importance of the accounting and auditing systems. Other areas addressed are malfeasance in governmen; compliance with national laws and regulations; training needs; the UN role in assisting developing countries.
The UN General Assembly has encouraged UN bodies to foster the environment for entrepreneurship, privatisation, administrative deregulation, and to provide policy advice and technical assistance to the economies in transition (the former Soviet Union, central and eastern Europe). Financial restructuring and the development of new financial management institutions in these countries have been spurred by political urgency arising from deteriorating social conditions, and by the desire of some to join the European Union. The removal of state controls had led to rapid inflation, and much hardship for the people. The speed of reform from the "big bang" approach was intended to overcome the political difficulties created by that hardship. An alternative argument, that gradual change, allowing time for the development of financial, banking, legal and accounting services, and for retraining, would have had a less negative impact, is also suggested. "On the ideal pace of financial reform and institution-building, the jury is still out"
The challenge facing all countries is to create a system of economic governance that promotes the process of decision making that affect a country's economic activities or its relationship with other economies. This study concludes that sound governance is essential for ensuring good governance and sustainable development. Developing and transitional economies will have to strive to reduce, if not eliminate, the subversive impact of corruption in their economic activities. They must establish strong institutional framework and strengthen the administrative and technical capabilities of their public administrators to achieve sustainable socioeconomic development.