Thursday, November 12, 2009

Face up

I've just spent four days in Bogota, Colombia where Transparency International asked me to give a two-day Advocacy Training course for their Latin American chapters.

By pure coincidence the course took place this week when Transparencia por Colombia launched their campaign Ponga la Cara. [I suppose it would best translate as Face up].

Face up for your votes.

Until recently, the individual votes of parlamentarians and municipal council members in Colombia were not recorded. I suppose they'd say that this lack of transparency was necessary to protect them. But for Transparencia por Colombia this goes against the right-to-know and it can enhance corruption. A new law was recently enacted whereby individual votes must now be recorded and publicized. But so far it's been hardly implemented, hence Transparencia por Colombia's Face Up campaign calling for effective implementation.

The two-day training course in a hotel in downtown Bogota was pretty dense. So it was good to get out on Tuesday morning and join Transparencia por Colombia's Director Elisabeth Ungar and her team (photo) who were inviting in front of the Colombian Congress building the parliamentarians to "put their faces up". We stayed for about 90 minutes, but by the time we had to leave none had paused to face up.

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