As part of a policy of transparency and the fight against corruption, the Colombian Ministry of National Defense signed a Transparency and Institutional Integrity Agreement on August 2nd in Bogotá. The agreement will formalize a protocol on best practices within the framework of the cooperation agreement with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). During the event, Colombia's delegation will be headed by General Juan Pablo Rodríguez Barragán, Commander General of that country's Armed Forces, who will serve as Minister of Defense in Charge.
This program represents the culmination of an important stage in the Building Integrity Process, which the Ministry of National Defense – along with the Colombian Armed Forces and National Police – initiated in collaboration with NATO's Building Integrity Program, or BI, in November 2013.
The goal of the process is to conduct a self-assessment of the risks and threats that the Colombian Defense Sector is exposed to when faced with instances of corruption or fraud, as well as the set of institutional tools and measures that allow them to be mitigated. The self-evaluation will establish whether the handling of fraud and corruption can be improved, taking into account the positive experiences of NATO member nations, who have been developing a methodology for the evaluation and handling of corruption risks since 2006.
NATO's BI Program is Structured in Three Parts:
a) A self-assessment or self-exam, in which the interested country responds to questions about its institutional environment.
b) NATO experts visit as peers who have previously examined the self-assessment summary.
c) An action plan is customized for each country, adapted to its needs, resources, legal regime, and culture.
Finally, NATO offers a chance for the National Defense Ministry and the Colombian Armed Forces to define an agenda of mutual collaboration to promote success in the Building Integrity and mitigation of corruption process. This collaboration can take the form of consulting on specific topics; training or educating officials; participating in discussion forums; and accessing lessons learned and successful experiences.
Thus, NATO's institutional transparency delegates meet with Armed Forces and National Police Commanders, as well as those who are in charge of institutional anti-corruption policies.
The NATO delegation visiting the Ministry of Defense includes Benedicts Borel and Alberto Bin, Director of Integration, Partnership, and Cooperation in Political and Security Affairs at NATO Headquarters in Brussels. Bin is also responsible for the development and implementation of NATO programs supporting cooperation and dialogue with non-member countries.