Iceland News Review: Counting Birds, Hunting Whales, Corruption And More!

INR

In this episode of Iceland News Review, we report on some good news for disaster preparedness. Last month’s eruptions near Grindavík has motivated Parliament to set up a special fund to deal with sudden catastrophes, but it may take some time yet before it can be established.

In other news, we report on how fin whale hunters and the government are at odds, corruption in Iceland, the annual bird count, plus weather, road conditions and much more!

Iceland News Review brings you all of Iceland’s top stories, every week, with the context and background you need. Be sure to like, follow and subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode!

Iceland Drops in Corruption Rankings

Boat with Samherji Logo

Iceland is down two spots in Transparency International’s corruption rankings and now sits in 19th place. The Nordic countries, apart from Iceland, rank at the top as some of the least corrupt countries in the world, Heimildin reports.

Transparency International, a global movement to end the injustice of corruption, published its list this morning. Each country is rated on the basis of factors linked to corruption in the public sector, with 0 being the most corrupt and 100 the least corrupt. As it stands, Iceland has a rating of 72, the lowest rating it’s ever received. The country dropped two points and two spots from last year. In 2005 and 2006, Iceland ranked as the least corrupt country in the world before revelations related to the financial crash of 2008 saw it move down the list.

Samherji case highlighted

In a notice from the Icelandic office of Transparency International, a number of bribery cases, the privatisation of the publicly-owned Íslandsbanki, the Samherji bribery scandal, political uncertainty, and a corrupt fisheries system are named as examples of factors that have decreased public faith in good governance.

The Icelandic office specifically mentions the 2019 revelations that Samherji, one of Iceland’s largest seafood companies, had allegedly bribed Namibian government officials to gain access to lucrative fishing grounds, while also taking advantage of international loopholes to avoid taxes. A number of Namibian officials are already on trial for their part in the scandal, but in Iceland, no one has been charged in the four years since the story broke.

“Namibia has 49 points, unchanged from last year,” the notice reads. “The Icelandic office would like to highlight that Namibia is down three points since the Samherji case began. During the same time period, Iceland dropped six points.”

Nordics top the list

Transparency International was founded in 1992 and now operates in over 100 countries. They’re independent, non-governmental, and not-for-profit and have a vision for “a world in which government, politics, business, civil society and the daily lives of people are free of corruption”, according to their website.

Denmark is the least corrupt country according to the index, with 90 out of 100 points. Finland, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore and Sweden follow. The most corrupt country in the world is Somalia, according to the index, with South Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen and North Korea ranking just above it.

Iceland Maintains 14th Place on Annual Corruption Index

Iceland is in 14th place on Transparency International’s Annual Corruption Perceptions Index. The newly-released report measures corruption in 180 countries, with Denmark landing first in this year’s rankings and Somalia in last place.

Iceland maintains the same ranking and score it held last year. However, when the last decade is observed, its score has dropped from 82 in 2012 to 74 in 2022. On the scale used by Transparency International, 0 represents “highly corrupt” while 100 represents “very clean.”

Transparency International reports that the global average score has remained unchanged for a decade, at just 43 out of 100. “Despite concerted efforts and hard-won gains by some, 155 countries have made no significant progress against corruption or have declined since 2012.”

The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) is the most widely used global corruption ranking in the world. It measures how corrupt each country’s public sector is perceived to be, according to experts and businesspeople. Each country’s score is a combination of at least 3 data sources drawn from 13 different corruption surveys and assessments. These data sources are collected by a variety of reputable institutions, including the World Bank and the World Economic Forum.