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Commemorating International Anti-Corruption Day in the Arab Region

Arab Region - Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Since 2008, UNDP and UNODC have joined forces to commemorate the International Anti-Corruption Day through a joint global campaign. The theme for this year is “Break the Corruption Chain”. It focuses on the need to act against corruption in order to mitigate the negative effects on democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights, markets, quality of life and the ability to fight organized crime, terrorism and other threats to human security.

At least 14 Arab countries actively participated in the commemoration of this Day in 2014. Members of the Arab Anti-Corruption and Integrity Network (ACINET) seemed to be taking the lead in this regard. In his statement on this occasion, the Chair of ACINET and Minister of Justice in Lebanon, Ashraf Rifi said that: “we are all aware of the difficult circumstances that the Arab region is facing and how corruption has contributed to this situation (...) Without comprehensive reforms, it will be difficult for us to overcome this critical phase and respond to our peoples’ aspirations for a better life”.

The role of UNDP in supporting the commemoration of the International Anti-Corruption Day in the Arab region has grown significantly over the years. This year, it played a more central role in increasing the campaign’s outreach in several countries in collaboration with its partners on the ground.

In Tunisia, it supported the organization of a major event that brought together more than 180 participants including ministers and civil society activists. They discussed the current state of corruption in Tunisia and ways to move forward. Discussions focused on integrity in parliament, corruption in the health sector, and the need to bring more emphasis on the efforts to activate the code of conduct for public officials, advance the adoption of anti-corruption legislation, and further enhance the role of civil society. In his statement, the UNDP Resident Representative in Tunisia, Mounir Tabet, paid tribute to the Government’s important support to the anti-corruption agenda and the outstanding role played by various stakeholders in raising awareness. He continued to underline the UN’s commitment in supporting these efforts in the framework of the country’s new constitution.

In Lebanon and Palestine, UNDP focused on the role of youth in fighting corruption. In the first, the Country Office and the Antonine University held a competition for students to submit papers on corruption in Lebanon, and organized an event to present the papers and select the winners. The event also provided students with an opportunity to interact with the key actors involved in the fight against corruption in the country. In his statement, the UNDP Resident Representative in Lebanon, Ross Mountain, confirmed that “the UN believes that fighting corruption is a global effort of all stakeholders and that the government, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, the media and citizens should join forces to fight against corruption”. In Palestine, UNDP supported youth networks to organize a flash mob against corruption in universities and to prepare a short film calling for Palestinians to stand up against corruption. Both initiatives were aired on several Palestinian television channels. The first is available at and the second is available at  

In Iraq, UNDP supported a number of stakeholders in the Iraqi Government to raise awareness on the need to establish an asset recovery law, and  helped develop the basis for this law. In Yemen, UNDP sponsored a conference organized by the Supreme National Authority for Combating Corruption, and supported the development of two papers that were presented during te event. The first paper focused on the role of civil society and youth, while the second on anti-corruption in countries that are undergoing transitions.  

UNDP also participated in other major events across the region including in Egypt, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. In his statement, Firas Gharaibeh the Deputy Resident Representative in Saudi Arabia stated that “the United Nations Convention against Corruption is the only global instrument against corruption with mandatory legal force (...) [It provides] key elements serving as a roadmap for action against corruption”; while Anita Nirody, the Resident Representative in Egypt explained that “conscious of the need to act against corruption in a collective and more efficient manner, the UN aims to bring more focus on transparency and accountability issues in the Post-2015 development agenda”. This was echoed in Kuwait by the Resident Representative, Mubashar Riaz Sheikh, who stressed that “the United Nations is committed to promoting sustainable, equitable development for all member States so that our global community can live in peace and security. Engaging with national partners to support efforts to strengthen transparency and accountability are at the heart of this mandate”.


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