TNRC Event Can strengthening internal controls prevent corruption behind natural resource crimes?

TNRC Learning Series
Anti-corruption insights for conservation and natural resource management

Can strengthening internal controls prevent corruption behind natural resource crimes?

December 1, 2022

9:00am - 10:30am Washington, DC
2:00pm - 3:30pm Cambridge, UK
5:00pm - 6:30pm Nairobi, Kenya
9:00pm - 10:30pm Bangkok, Thailand

Remote Only

Watch the Recording

About the event

Natural Resource Management (NRM) agencies typically have ambitious goals, both in terms of conservation and revenue collection. Rarely do they manage to achieve those goals. This is despite the fact that objectives are clearly outlined. What causes these shortcomings? Weak, under-resourced and siloed internal control systems can be a major contributing factor. These allow resources to be squandered and corruption to creep in, undermining the missions of government agencies tasked with ensuring the legal and sustainable use of natural resources such as wildlife and timber. Corrupt behaviors of many forms by trusted individuals within government and its agencies can severely hamper effectiveness. In many instances, it may well serve as an important enabler of illegal wildlife trade (IWT), timber trafficking, and other natural resource crimes. Can enhancing internal control systems be an effective approach for mitigating corruption risks? This webinar will share anonymized learning from an assessment in three countries by the Basel Institute on Governance under the Targeting Natural Resource Corruption project. Experts will offer practical insights for conservation practitioners who seek new ways to prevent conservation crimes.

Learning questions

1. What does an internal control assessment contain and how could it help NRM practitioners achieve their goals?
2. To what extent are internal controls used in the NRM environment so far?
3. What are the risks in conducting internal control assessments?
4. What additional challenges exist in assessing early stage, informal or ad hoc control systems?

About the speakers

Headshot of Juhani Grossmann

Juhani Grossmann, Green Corruption Programme, Basel Institute on Governance (Moderator)
Juhani Grossmann leads the Basel Institute's Green Corruption programme, which targets environmental degradation through an anti-corruption, asset recovery and governance approach. The team’s experts in Bolivia, Indonesia, Peru, Switzerland and Uganda assist anti-corruption and natural resource agencies in both bolstering environmental crime enforcement efforts and building internal resilience against corruption risks. Before joining the Institute, he spent 20 years leading field-based anti-corruption and governance program while based in Indonesia, the Philippines, Ukraine, and Russia.

Headshot of Rebecca Anne Batts

Dr. Rebecca Anne Batts, Lead Researcher, Internal Controls, Basel Institute on Governance (Presenter)
Rebecca Anne (Becky) Batts serves as lead consultant for ongoing research on the role of internal controls in addressing corruption risks related to the trafficking of wildlife and timber. She began working with the Basel Institute in January 2022. In the years since her retirement from federal service, she served as team leader for performance evaluations of USAID programs conducted as part of the E3 Analytics and Evaluation Project and the Middle East & North Africa Monitoring, Evaluation, & Learning Services (MENA MELS) Activity. As an expert advisor, she provided technical assistance in Ukraine to help in the identification of corruption risks, develop and implement corruption standards, and enhance compliance with anti-corruption policies and standards. In Jakarta and Washington, DC, she supported efforts of the Indonesian accountability community to establish and strengthen the government’s internal monitoring system and to assist in addressing Indonesia’s reform priorities. She also provided consulting and advisory services to a variety of Offices of the Inspector General and private industry clients on topics including strategic planning, quality assurance, internal controls, and overall operations. As Inspector General, Becky led the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation Office of Inspector General in the execution of a program of independent audits, evaluations, and civil, criminal, and administrative investigations. Over the course of her federal career, she had extensive experience in promoting accountability within numerous natural resource, rural development, and infrastructure agencies.

Headshot of Melinda Gularso

Melinda Gularso, Researcher, Basel Institute on Governance, Indonesia (Presenter)
Melinda Gularso is an aspiring public policy and research consultant with three years of experience in research and governmental affairs. She is a research consultant at the Basel Institute on Governance, assisting the internal controls assessment project to mitigate green corruption risks in three countries of East Africa and South America. Prior to joining the Institute, she was involved in various national and international research projects on public policy assessment, social inclusion, and nonviolent movement. Melinda holds an MSc in Global Politics from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a Bachelor of Political Science in International Relations from Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia.

Carlos Vargas

Carlos Vargas, Head of Public Financial Management program, Basel Institute on Governance, Peru (Presenter)
Carlos Vargas Mas is Director of the Subnational Public Finance Management Strengthening Programme in Peru. The Programme seeks to enhance the capacity of public authorities in 11 regions and municipalities to plan, implement and execute budgets and to increase standards of integrity and transparency in doing so. Signed in 2015 by the Peruvian and Swiss governments, the programme is funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). Before joining the Basel Institute, Carlos Vargas Mas served in Peru's Comptroller General's Office as Prevention and Detection Manager and, before that, as Strategic Development Manager and Performance Audit Manager. His professional experience includes working at Peruvian public institutions including the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the Ministry of Agriculture. He has been a researcher and coordinator of the Observatory on Relations with Latin America (ORLA) at Pompeu Fabra University. He also teaches topics including results-based management, budgeting for results, design and evaluation of public policies, internal control and risk management.

Headshot of Brighton Kumchedwa

Brighton Kumchedwa, Director, Department of National Parks and Wildlife, Malawi (Discussant)
Since 1991, Brighton has worked with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) as Parks and Wildlife Officer and then as Parks and Wildlife Officer at Liwonde National Park. He also worked as a Parks and Wildlife Officer at Lengwe National Park where he was responsible for Research and Planning and continued to serve at a senior level, leading Education and Extension at the head office. In 2004, he was promoted to Division Manager for Liwonde and Lake Malawi National Parks and then assumed the position of Assistant Director for Education and Extension in 2007. In 2013, he was named Deputy Director before being appointed as Director of National Parks and Wildlife. Brighton graduated with a MA in Environment and Socio-Economic Development from the University of Natal, South Africa, and is the recipient of the Tusk Conservation Award.

Headshot of Christopher Jagger

Christopher Jagger, Senior Manager - Global Law Enforcement Support (Lead), TRAFFIC (Discussant)
New to the field of conservation, Chris is currently occupying a role in the senior management of TRAFFIC, where he is responsible for leading the organization's work in global law enforcement support and sensitive information activities. Earlier in his career, he worked for the British Government, the United Nations, and NATO in the field of intelligence, specializing in organized crime, terrorism, conflict, and peacekeeping. In 2011, Chris worked as a consultant to the UK intelligence community to assist them in addressing the findings and recommendations of the review of intelligence on weapons of mass destruction (Buter Review); where Chris created a successful simulation-based workshop penned 'Dynamic Thinking' - the methods of which have since formed chapters in two academic textbooks on training the intelligence community. Prior to joining TRAFFIC, Chris held a senior leadership position as an advisor on security sector reform to the presidency and national security council of the Gambia. In 2017, Chris published his first book, "Escorting the Monarch". In recent years, Chris has become a regular lecturer at various universities and security academies.

Headshot of Gabriel Sipos

Gabriel Sipos, Anti-Corruption Coordinator, TRAFFIC (Discussant)
Gabriel Sipos is an Anti-corruption Coordinator at TRAFFIC, advising on fighting corruption within the illegal wildlife trade. For more than a decade, he worked for Transparency International, the leading anti-corruption movement in the world. He's expert on public procurement, access to information laws, beneficial ownership, judiciary transparency and open data issues. Most of his work was carried out in Eastern Europe.

Image attribution: © / Jen Guyton / WWF; © Brian J. Skerry / National Geographic Stock / WWF; © Georgina Goodwin / Shoot The Earth / WWF-UK; © Hkun Lat / WWF-Aus