Building Parliamentary Networks
In today’s global environment, corruption is not confined within national borders—it crosses regions and the globe. In recognition of this, many international organizations are introducing programs and conventions to address corruption’s international nature—such as the United Nations Convention against Corruption (2003).1
Any network or organization that seeks to be successful must have a clear vision of why it exists and what it is trying to accomplish. This is true not only for parliamentary organizations or networks but also for anyone who is attempting to bring people together in any grouping. Those who are successful in bringing people with competing issues and agendas together and build the largest coalition—whether it be a small group or a parliamentary network—are often the most successful.
Nowadays, the information and tools required to stem corruption and bribery in international business transactions and in international money laundering are often available only through regional and international cooperation. As such, the need to share information and cooperate across borders has increased, and the ability to network has also become more important—especially for parliamentarians.
This paper will briefly examine the different typologies of networking and knowledge sharing available, including that of networks specifically intended for parliamentarians and their needs. Two examples of parliamentary networks will be discussed— the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC) and the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank (PNoWB)—and this paper will conclude with a discussion of the lessons learned in building effective parliamentary networks.
To understand parliamentary networks, it is necessary to place them within the current discourse on networking. As the number of networks has increased in recent years, so has the number of ways to describe them. There are knowledge networks, communities of practice, global public policy networks, advocacy networks, and parliamentary networks—to name but a few.
1 Its preamble states that “… corruption is no longer a local matter but a transnational phenomenon that affects all societies and economies, making international cooperation to prevent and control it essential.”