Anti-Corruption and Integrity In the Arab Countries
Corruption spreads as a result of malfunctioning governance institutions in the public and the private domains.
It adversely affects development efforts and people’s sense of dignity and security. In the early 1990s, UNDP became
one of the pioneering organizations to develop and implement programmes to 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) ;
and in this context, it is currently implementing the Regional Project on “Anti-Corruption and Integrity in the Arab Countries" (ACIAC).
In the Arab states region, data and information on the scope of corruption continue to be limited, and the public’s confidence in the State to act against corruption remains fragile; nevertheless, recent developments are creating opportunities for change and progress, especially in light of the increasing demand for action against corruption.
Indeed, over the past few years, the space for public debate in this field has grown significantly, and governments have become more engaged in related reform initiatives.
So far, 19 Arab countries have committed themselves to implement the UNCAC and 17 are currently represented in the Arab Anti-Corruption and Integrity Network (ACINET).
Some countries have promulgated legal reforms to prevent and punish corrupt practices; established specialized anti-corruption bodies; developed and started implementing national
anti-corruption strategies, and reached out to include civil society in parts of these efforts.
At the same time, several regulatory and capacity gaps continue to undermine stakeholders’ ability to act effectively against corruption. Transparency levels are improving, but are still relatively modest while various key oversight mechanisms remain in need of further development. The de facto implementation of existing laws is, by and large, also below expectations while the successful prosecution of major corruption cases remains rare. International, legal and judicial cooperation continues to be slow and burdensome while the effective participation of civil society continues to grow albeit with a relatively slower pace.
UNDP’s Regional Project on Anti-Corruption and Integrity in the Arab Countries (UNDP-ACIAC) aims at strengthening cooperation and promoting collective action against corruption in Arab countries by contributing to the achievement of four main objectives (i) improve the ability of governmental and non-governmental practitioners to design and use anti-corruption assessments; (ii) support the implementation of UNCAC provisions in accordance with each country’s needs and priorities; (iii) enable the development of responses to corruption risks in sectors that deliver basic public services; and (iv) foster dialogue with stakeholders in crisis-affected countries on ways to confront the particularities of anti-corruption challenges in their respective situations. Results achieved under these four inter-connected objectives will strengthen the Arab countries’ ability to design, implement, and monitor anti-corruption measures that draw on international standards and comparative experiences while taking the national and local contexts into consideration.