Anti-Corruption and Integrity In the Arab Countries

Corruption spreads as a result of malfunctioning governance mechanisms in the public and the private domains. It adversely affects human development efforts and threatens peoples’ sense of dignity and security. In the early 1990s, UNDP became one of the pioneering organizations to develop and implement specialized initiatives that support countries in addressing corruption. Today, it continues to be a leading provider of anti-corruption assistance within its “democratic governance” portfolio and in the framework of the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), while striving to link related reforms to the broader development agenda. In this context, UNDP is currently implementing the regional project on “Anti-Corruption and Integrity in the Arab Countries" (ACIAC).

ACIAC is the leading initiative at the regional level in the Arab states that is specialized in strengthening cooperation and promoting collective action against corruption, by focusing on safeguarding integrity and developing national capacities to prevent and combat corrupt practices such as bribery, embezzlement, trade in influence, abuse of authority and illicit enrichment. Implementation takes place through a multiplicity of collaborative relationships with governmental and non-governmental entities across the region, as well as with various bilateral and multilateral actors, building on its unique position as the main partner of the Arab Anti-Corruption and Integrity Network (ACINET) that was established in 2008 and is considered to be the overarching participatory mechanism for related capacity development, information exchange, and policy dialogue in the region.

ACIAC completed its first phase (2011-2014) during which it had focused on producing specialized knowledge and supporting inclusive policy dialogues towards the implementation of the UNCAC.Overall, it succeeded in enhancing national capacities to identify gaps in the implementation of the UNCAC and undertake related policy reforms, while helping to expand the regional anti-corruption agenda in multiple directions including the introduction of sector-specific initiatives and the strengthening of non-governmental participation, ultimately contributing to the promotion of more effective and coordinated national anti-corruption efforts.

With the recognition that additional work is needed, and in response to the increasing demand for more robust assistance in this regard, ACIAC embarks on its second phase (2015-2018), based on the findings of extensive consultations with stakeholders across the region, and also drawing on achievements made and lessons learned during the first phase. More specifically, ACIAC plans to accelerate and deepen its work on the implementation of the UNCAC and related international and regional standards, while promoting multi-stakeholder participation in related efforts and significantly scaling up its work in specific sectors (e.g. health, education, customs, justice, natural resources etc.), all with a view to bringing stronger focus on the strengthening of transparency and accountability to contribute to democratic reforms and the post-2015 development efforts.

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