How can corruption affect peace and security? Where does corruption influence or intersect with geopolitics? And how can peace-building and anti-corruption serve a common goal?

A two-hour workshop at Basel Peace Forum 2024, organised by Swisspeace, delved into these questions and more. Moderated by Gretta Fenner, Managing Director at the Basel Institute on Governance, the panel looked at some of the most critical intersections of corruption, security, peace and geopolitics.

How do corruption and security intersect? What is strategic corruption and what can we do about it?

These were two fundamental questions tackled at the Countering Strategic Corruption workshop at the 2024 Basel Peace Forum. Claudia Baez Camargo, Head of Prevention, Research and Innovation at the Basel Institute on Governance, spoke at the event. Together with her colleague Saba Kassa, the team’s Deputy Head, she highlights two key ideas:

It is becoming a truism that projects designed to address society’s biggest problems – like corruption or environmental degradation – need to be based on an understanding of the political context.

It is clear why. Without an understanding of the political context, we may miss important policy opportunities or stakeholders who can support and sustain the project goals. Our efforts may clash with power dynamics in unexpected ways, introducing unforeseen risks and undermining what we seek to achieve.

Research findings from Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda raise concerns about the extent and impact of sextortion, sometimes called sexual corruption. Efforts to understand its impact and underlying causes will help us to address this widespread yet widely ignored problem.

Sextortion causes severe psychological harm and impacts victims’ health and well-being yet receives insufficient attention in both research and policy-making. 

Social norms and behaviour change (SNBC) approaches are a promising complement to conventional anti-corruption strategies. Adopting a context-sensitive and nuanced approach is an essential ingredient for success.

We wanted to understand if and how behavioural approaches can promote anti-corruption outcomes, as well as conditions for success.

Waste management is a huge industry at the local, national and international levels. Public services play a key role in dealing especially with waste generated by households. Getting waste management right is essential if we are to achieve a circular economy and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Complex legal frameworks and their weak implementation open up spaces for criminals to profit from illegally managing or trading in waste. The consequences on the environment and human health can be severe. The role of corruption in crimes involving waste is unexplored.

This guide suggests six steps for bringing political economy analysis findings into a theory of change for a project or programme.

It aims to provide a practical means for conservationists to navigate political economy in contexts where they work. While a theory of change explains the logic of a project, a political economy analysis, which looks at the influence of power, helps get to the heart of what needs to change for a project to work. But practitioners often find it challenging to use political economy analysis in practice.