A new policy brief published as part of our Institute-wide Green Corruption programme offers a fresh perspective for practitioners and policymakers seeking to curb wildlife trafficking in Uganda. It emphasises context-sensitive interventions that are based on understanding the behaviours of individuals and social networks. 

Mobile phones and other technologies have transformed the nature and dynamics of informal social networks in Kyrgyzstan. Some scholars argue that new technology (electronisation, digitalisation) helps to prevent corruption and reduce the risk of bribery, informal social networks and bureaucracy. In their view, new technology has the potential to create transparent and efficient ways to access public services.

The enormity of the situation brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic invites – or rather forces – us to reflect on the nature and effectiveness of our systems of governance. And not just of health systems, but more broadly the governance of our very complex societies and their transnational flows.

I start with some definitions, as the term governance is itself broad and contested.

High-profile law enforcement operations against illegal wildlife trade (IWT), such as Interpol’s Operation Thunderball in July and the arrest of notorious trafficker Moazu Kromah in Uganda in June 2019, have drawn welcome attention to IWT as a financial and organised crime and not only a conservation issue.

Yet in working to strengthen legal frameworks and law enforcement capacity in countries that suffer from high levels of IWT, we must not forget the social drivers and facilitators behind wildlife trafficking – factors that laws alone are powerless to change.

This quick guide by Claudia Baez Camargo, Head of Governance Research, draws on Ms Baez Camargo's decades of research on social norms and their implications for anti-corruption practice. She explores:

  • What is a social norm?
  • How do social norms drive and perpetuate corrupt behaviour?
  • The case of health facilities in East Africa
  • How to identify social norms that drive corrupt behaviour
  • What are the implications for anti-corruption practice?

And finally:

This quick guide draws on a more comprehensive blog by Claudia Baez Camargo published on the website of the Global Integrity Anti-Corruption Evidence (GI-ACE) research programme.

Find more details on the GI-ACE anti-corruption research projects led by Dr Baez Camargo’s team at the Basel Institute on Governance, as well as other pioneering research on social norms and implications for anti-corruption practice, at the end of this guide.