IIU Head Karen Ernst Discusses Fight Against Corruption in Climate Action at 29th Lisbon Forum

  • Article type News
  • Publication date 17 Oct 2023

On 16 October 2023, Independent Integrity Unit (IIU) Head Karen Ernst spoke at a roundtable on Economic Crimes and the Environment during the 29th Lisbon Forum held in Lisbon, Portugal. IIU Integrity and Compliance Manager Sanjeev Narrainen also attended and engaged with participants at the event.

This two-day Forum was organised in collaboration with a joint programme of the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe and the European Union. The theme of this year’s Forum is “Human Rights, Environment and Economic Crimes: Youth at the Forefront.” 

In line with this theme, the Forum provided a platform for dialogue and reflection on the right to a clean, healthy environment and the active engagement of young people to inspire positive change on climate. The event convened representatives from international organisations, national governments, parliaments, local and regional authorities, civil society, youth organisations, academia, foundations, and media worldwide. 

Karen Ernst speaking at the 29th Lisbon Forum

Karen’s session focused on enhancing the understanding of the linkages between economic and environmental crimes. Panelists presented mechanisms to decrease risks and impacts of climate change, ongoing initiatives at the regional and national level in the fight against corruption and environmental crimes, and case studies.

In her interventions, Karen highlighted the benefits of partnerships in increasing integrity awareness. “One of our biggest priorities is capacity building,” she stressed. “It is important that the entities that receive funding for climate action understand what it means to properly implement climate action with integrity.”

Roundtable on Economic Crimes and the Environment at the Lisbon Forum

She also emphasised the importance of working across different sectors and institutions to strengthen integrity awareness, including bringing together civil society organisations, multilateral funds, and youth groups to better understand the nexus between maladaptation, environmental issues, and economic funds. 

Other panelists in this session included Hanne Juncher, Director of Information Society and Action Against Crime Directorate at the Council of Europe; Betina Pasteknik, the Operations, Finances & Membership Lead at the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) Coalition; and Mariana Gomes, the President of Ultimo Recurso , a Portuguese organisation that uses legal tools to hold parties responsible for the country’s climate crisis. The dialogue was moderated by Pilar Morales, the Senior Coordinator of Activities of the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe.