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Innovating towards evidence-based reforms against corruption at the sectoral level

Arab Region - Monday, October 31, 2016

Linking anti-corruption efforts to sustainable development requires a transformation in related national strategies on the two ends of the paradigm. This can be deduced from the new Sustainable Development Agenda for 2030 that was adopted by world leaders in September 2015, and is being articulated in various ways and forms by prominent organizations and key stakeholders across the globe.

In the Arab region, the need to realize this transformation has been highlighted last month at the fifth Ministerial Conference of the Arab Anti-Corruption and Integrity Network (ACINET) that was held in Tunis. More than two hundred participants from thirty countries and organizations, including ministers, parliamentarians, judges and senior representatives from governmental and non-governmental bodies called for enhancing efforts against corruption and launching targeted initiatives to strengthen accountability in specific sectors that affect the daily lives of people, including health, education, customs, justice and others. They issued various recommendations and adopted a joint regional programme of work that will support evidence-based reforms in accountability structures, including parliaments and representative councils, anti-corruption and audit institutions, and justice authorities, with a particular attention to creating additional space for engagement with civil society and the business community. For more on the Conference, please visit

Among other things, the Ministerial Conference witnessed the adoption of a provisional regional framework to advocate and monitor justice integrity reforms based on the Implementation Guide and Evaluative Framework of Article 11 of the UN Convention against Corruption, which also draws on the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct as well as the Sharjah Document and the Riyadh Document, both of which are regional instruments that deal with the ethics and conduct of a judge. The new framework, which has been developed with the support of UNDP and the UNODC, is innovative in various ways. It expands the scope of justice integrity beyond the judiciary on the one hand, and beyond ethics and conduct on the other, to include institutional reforms for enhanced transparency and accountability in the judiciary and its relationship with the police and the public. Conversely, it narrows down the scope to be focused on particular vulnerabilities that have been identified as common priorities for justice integrity reforms across the region. To achieve its goals, the framework stipulates a number of reform targets and links them to specific indicators that would be used to monitor progress towards those targets and advocate ways to accelerate it. The framework is expected to be piloted in 2017.


In parallel, UNDP has been working with the WHO on innovative methodologies that would inform targeted reforms aimed at reducing corruption risks and increasing accountability in the health sector. Similar work is also being done by UNDP in cooperation with the WCO in relation to the customs sector. Those methodologies foster participatory approaches that enable the collection and analysis of detailed information on corruption risks and accountability gaps in the two sectors and informing related reforms, while enabling the tracking of progress achieved. Tunisia will be the first country that pilots those methodologies in the region, with additional countries expected to follow suit in 2017. For more information on the methodologies, please write to



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