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Anti-corruption in Covid-19 preparedness and response

Mainstreaming integrity into pandemic plans and policies

Government pandemic response plans and policies do not give enough attention to anti-corruption and governance. Plans need to involve anti-corruption agencies from the start, as well as identifying and assessing corruption risks. They should also promote integrity, transparency, accountability and participation if corruption is to be minimised in future pandemics.

7 May 2020
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Anti-corruption in Covid-19 preparedness and response

Main points

  • Most governments were not ready for the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Response plans do not give enough consideration to governance and problems of corruption.
  • Corruption has obstructed responses to pandemics in the past.
  • Plans and policies can balance competing interests by using the principles of equity, efficiency, liberty, reciprocity and solidarity.
  • Response plans should also build in the overarching considerations of preventing corruption and promoting integrity, transparency, accountability and participation.
  • The pandemic actually provides an opportunity for countries to strengthen anti-corruption and integrity, and so improve overall governance.
  • Measures to minimise corruption in a pandemic include involving anti-corruption agencies in the national taskforce; identifying and assessing corruption risks as part of the situation analysis; and taking action to promote transparency, participation, accountability and integrity.
  • After the pandemic, the response evaluation should look at how corruption affected the outcome, as well as whether integrity was upheld or undermined.

Cite this publication

Kirya, M.; (2020) Anti-corruption in Covid-19 preparedness and response. Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Brief 2020:8)

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About the author

Monica Kirya is a lawyer and Principal Adviser at the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre. She coordinates the themes on mainstreaming anti-corruption in public service delivery and integrating gender in anti-corruption programming.


All views in this text are the author(s)’, and may differ from the U4 partner agencies’ policies.

This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


Photo: / AdrianHancu