CCC Candidacy 2024: Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD)

Organization: Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD)
Name of Organization’s Representative: Dr. Maria Yordanova
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Country: Bulgaria
Which seat are you nominating for? Europe Regional Seat 1

Organization’s Profile

The Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD) has an extensive track record in the field of anti-corruption, including more than 50 specialised bi and multi-lingual publications (e.g. national and regional corruption assessment reports). In the early 2000s CSD set up and managed the Bulgarian anti-corruption initiative Coalition 2000, singled out as a national best practice by the World Bank in its Anti-Corruption in Transition series. CSD has designed a state-of-the-art Corruption Monitoring System (CMS), included in the UN Anti- Corruption Toolkit.

The key findings of CSD’s research and advocacy efforts are presented at annual anti-corruption policy forums and in the annual Corruption Assessment Reports. CSD’s efforts in the good governance domain have been scaled up through the SELDI initiative, established in 2001, and currently joining the work of 40 of the leading anti-corruption think-tanks in the Balkans and the Black Sea Region. CSD was among the NGOs present at the signature of the UNCAC in Merida, Mexico in 2003.

CSD is among the leading European NGOs working on anti-corruption in the EU-27. CSD has developed several important practical anti-corruption instruments, e.g. the Monitoring Anti-Corruption Policy Implementation (MACPI) and the State Capture Assessment Diagnostics (SCAD).

Organization’s Experience

CSD has been engaged in UNCAC’s implementation in Europe since its inception in 2003. At the 10th UNCAC CoSP in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2023 CSD participated in the different formats of the forum, presenting the most up-to-date data tools to combat corruption at the Academic Symposium, deliberating with other CSOs on common positions at the first Civil Society Forum, discussing with stakeholders at the Private Sector Forum. On 16 June 2011, CSD became a member of the UNCAC Coalition. CSD held a training on Strengthening Civil Society Capacity on the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and its Review Mechanism on 23 March 2011 in Sofia. CSD annually provides information on its anti-corruption activities and its key findings in many of the areas monitored by the UNCAC review mechanism. In 2023 CSD cooperated with the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice for the 2nd UNCAC Review Cycle.

Top 3 Priorities to Achieve as a CCC Member

  1. Improved engagement by the governments in implementing UNCAC-review mechanisms.
  2. Cooperation with CSOs on core topics like public procurement, monitoring, and grand corruption and state capture.
  3. Promotion of gender transformative approaches to anti-corruption.

Candidate’s Profile

Dr. Maria Yordanova joined the CSD in late 1998 and was Director of the Law Program until 2019. She has led CSD’s law drafting efforts aimed at approximation of Bulgarian legislation to the acquis communautaire, and at establishing and supporting contacts between the Bulgarian legal community and government agencies.

Other areas of Dr. Yordanova’s specialization include promotion of the EU standards in human rights protection through introduction of the ombudsman institution in Bulgaria and development of the legal and strategic framework of anti-corruption for Bulgaria, including regional cooperation and UNCAC. She has coordinated projects in the area of human rights, justice, liberty and security. In the period 1999-2003 she was coordinator of the Judicial Reform Initiative for Bulgaria.

Dr. Yordanova has led anti- corruption legal analysis and work across the EU-27, and has authored numerous anti- corruption publications in English, German and Bulgarian. Since 2008, she is CSD’s representative in the Fundamental Rights Platform of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency and Member of the Board of Advisors of International Development Law Organization (IDLO). She is also Member of the Advisory Group to the Asia-Europe Foundation’s Asia- Europe Democratization and Justice Series. Previously, she was Assistant Professor on Comparative Constitutional Law and Systems at the University of National and World Economy in Sofia and senior legal advisor at the United Bulgarian Bank Ltd.

Contributions to the Work of the Coalition

We plan to enhance civil society organizations and activists’ engagement and cooperation with governments, international organisations, and the private sector in strengthening the UNCAC. Our priorities will include cross-border collaboration on key issues such as whistle-blower protection, public procurement integrity, and beneficial ownership transparency, while applying gender-transformative approach to these issues. With Dr. Yordanova’s strong legal background and expertise in harmonizing international legal principles with national legislation, we aim to contribute valuable insights and strategies to the UNCAC Coalition tools’ effectiveness and the implementation of the UNCAC in general. Our ongoing projects and initiatives align with the Coalition’s goals, positioning us to effectively support and advance its mission.

Candidacy & Interest Disclosure

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A global civil society network promoting the implementation and monitoring of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC)