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Towards innovation for corruption prevention in the Arab region

Arab Region - Sunday, April 26, 2020

Tangier, 4 March 2020 – The city of Tangier in Morocco hosted more than 50 public officials, civil society representatives and expert specialists who came together to attend the regional workshop organized by UNDP on “Innovation for Corruption Prevention”. The event was held in the framework of the regional project on Anti-Corruption and Integrity in Arab Countries (ACIAC), with the support of the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and in collaboration with the Moroccan National Authority for Probity, Prevention and Fight Against Corruption (INPPLC).
Two days of expert discussions and exchanges of comparative experiences highlighted the importance of increasing the investment in corruption prevention, and how the latter is often mistakenly limited to awareness-raising and public education. Presentations made during the workshop provided participants with a more comprehensive understanding of the standards, tools and approaches, which have demonstrably proven their effectiveness in preventing corruption in the Arab region and beyond, including Georgia, Italy, Korea, Moldova and Ukraine.
The added value of the workshop is in its emphasis on how specific and relatively small-scale preventive interventions can have high returns on investment in terms of anti-corruption and can make measurable contributions to sustainable development efforts,” said Arkan El-Seblani from UNDP.
Participants took a deep dive into specific innovative solutions and methodologies for corruption prevention, including sector-specific risk management; behavioral insights; the use of technology to increase transparency in procurement and asset declarations by public officials; stress-testing by civil society for enhanced access to information; and analysis and reduction of corruption vulnerabilities created in the course of legislative and regularity drafting. Cristina Tarna from Moldova remarked that “countries often wait for corruption to happen before taking action. New methodologies, including the corruption proofing of legal texts, can be more impactful with their preemptive power”. The workshop resulted in the formulation and adoption of ten main recommendations that will be disseminated to anti-corruption authorities, government entities and non-governmental organizations across the Arab states region. Those include the need for governments to prioritize the completion of the preventive legislative framework according to the UN Convention against Corruption, and to invest more in new technologies to enhance transparency, especially in the areas of public procurement, government subsidies and public official asset declaration. They also highlighted the importance of collaboration with civil society in this regard as demonstrated in related experiences from Lebanon and Ukraine.

Also, participants recommended to integrate corruption risk management in specific sectors, such as the work supported by UNDP in Tunisia on the health sector; and resolved to explore further the application of behavioral insights to promote public integrity and strengthen the relationship between state and citizens, as well as the adaptation and utilization of the methodologies on corruption risk management and corruption proofing of bills, laws and regulations. They also called for the creation of a regional electronic platform in the framework of the Arab Anti-Corruption and Integrity Network (ACINET) to encourage, document and exchange innovative experimentation in the area of anti-corruption.
It is my first time participating in one of ACIAC’s regional workshops” commented Maymouna AlSharari, from the Jordanian Integrity and Anti-Corruption Commission, “the insights shared, and experiences presented are eye-opening. I am excited to share them back with my colleagues and benefit from them in the implementation of our national strategy”.
This activity is the first major event held by UNDP, in the framework of its new partnership with KOICA that was announced on 9 December 2019 in support of the third phase of the ACIAC regional project. For more information about it, you can follow @UNDP_ACIAC on Twitter.


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