23. January 2024

Improving public integrity in Peru: how regional governments can take the lead

Lago Lindo in San Martín Peru. Photo by Javier Sobrado Ortega on Unsplash
Lago Lindo in San Martín, Peru. Photo by Javier Sobrado Ortega on Unsplash.

Corruption prevention measures are often talked about at the national level: “Governments need to do this and that to prevent corruption.”

But Peru’s Regional Government of San Martín provides a good example of what can be achieved at the subnational levels to increase public integrity and transparency.

The ingredients: strong political commitment, a clear understanding of regional corruption vulnerabilities and dedicated technical support.

Top spot in the national integrity rankings

At the end of 2023, San Martín came first in Peru’s national integrity index. The Índice de Capacidad Preventiva or Preventive Capacity Index measures the success of regional authorities in implementing the national Public Integrity Model.

The index, published by the Public Integrity Secretariat of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, looks at nine components of the Public Integrity Model designed to increase the capacity of regional governments to prevent corruption and manage public finances transparency for the benefit of citizens.

San Martín scored 1.6 on a scale of 0 to 2, which represents significant progress in the implementation and execution of the model.

Governor Walter Grundel Jiménez has repeatedly expressed his firm commitment to fighting corruption. He highlighted the importance of these results for San Martín citizens and the professionalism of the team of public officials in charge of managing public finances and services:

"I wish to convey to our people that these results reflect the fulfilment of our responsibility as a government. We have established a team of professionals committed to protecting the general welfare and meeting the needs and expectations of the community."

Targeted assistance on public finance management and environmental corruption

At the Basel Institute we are particularly thrilled at the results, as we work closely with the San Martín authorities on corruption prevention and public finance management.

Our Subnational Public Finance Management Strengthening programme (Programa GFP Subnacional) has been providing technical assistance on corruption prevention, integrity and internal controls to San Martín since 2015, as part of a wider programme funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

More recently, our Green Corruption programme has been supporting the San Martín authorities in addressing corruption risks related to the trade in timber from the region’s rich Amazon rainforest.

The programme, funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office through its Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF), shows the value of working hand in hand with local and regional governments to address specific environmental corruption risks. 

The British Ambassador to Peru, Gavin Cook, expressed his congratulations, commenting:

“It is brilliant to see that UK support through the CSSF (Conflict, Stability and Security Fund) to the work of the Basel Institute on Governance tackling green corruption in the San Martín region of Peru is producing real results. Our support has contributed to the success of the regional government hitting the top spot in Peru’s national integrity ranking, showing clear improvement in their ability to prevent unlawful projects in the Amazon.”

As we highlighted in a previous article, the commitment of the regional authorities in San Martín illustrates:

  • The importance of supporting subnational governments that demonstrate political will to combat their specific corruption risks, including those relating to the local environment.
  • The need to invest in strengthening internal controls and preventive measures to complement law enforcement efforts. Preventive measures can greatly reduce the risks that corruption will lead to harm to local citizens and the environment.

Learn more

  • About the Swiss-funded Subnational Public Finance Management Strengthening programme in English and Spanish.
  • About the Basel Institute’s Green Corruption programme, which implements the project "Promoting asset recovery techniques in crimes against the environment and preventing environmental corruption in Peru" funded by the UK via CSSF.