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Regional meeting establishes a regional women’s alliance to promote anti-corruption and integrity for women’s empowerment

Arab Region - Monday, July 25, 2022

The UNDP Regional Hub for Arab States, in partnership with the Government of Canada, organized a regional meeting in Broummana, Lebanon on July 25-26, 2022, to support the establishment of a regional alliance of women that works to link anti-corruption and gender justice achievement efforts. More than 20 women anti-corruption leaders in the public sector, civil society, and academia participated in the meeting, in person and virtually, via Zoom.

In her introductory remarks, Ms. Najla Riachi, Lebanon's Minister of State for Administrative Reforms, welcomed the participants and discussed the detrimental effects of corruption on the status of women in the Arab region, where women are marginalized and experience many kinds of discrimination. The Minister stressed the meeting’s importance and the need to follow up on the implementation of its outcomes in the next stage. She indicated her strong commitment to supporting the integration of a gender perspective in anti-corruption reforms so that these reforms also contribute to empowering women and protecting their rights. She also stated her willingness to pursue this issue in collaboration with the relevant entities in Lebanon and as a part of the country's anti-corruption strategy.

This was followed by a speech by Mr. Arkan El Seblani, Regional Chief Technical Advisor, Anti-Corruption and Integrity at the UNDP Regional Hub for Arab States, where he explained UNDP’s approach within the framework of this initiative, which will continue to organize regional meetings to support women in their aspiration to build and activate the regional alliance. He added that in parallel, meetings will be held in specific countries in a pilot phase to integrate their national peculiarities in the regional dialogue and support concrete follow-up steps. This will start in Jordan, Iraq, and Lebanon, with a view to expanding the number of participating countries in the next stage. He concluded by noting this work will informed by UNDP issue papers, which will provide background and serve as starting points for discussion at regional and national meetings. The meetings will in turn produce guiding documents at the regional level on integrating a gender perspective into national anti-corruption strategies and related sectoral programs and initiatives.

The first session of the meeting was on “Tackling Corruption through a Gender Lens in the Arab Region”, moderated by Dr. Sarah Dix, Senior Specialist, Anti-Corruption and Integrity at the UNDP Regional Hub for Arab States. This session highlighted the importance of the corruption and gender nexus in the Arab region. Ms. Nicola Ehlermann, Senior Governance and Gender Advisor, Regional Project on Anti-Corruption and Integrity in Arab Countries Project, reviewed a working paper prepared by UNDP on global and regional trends related to combating corruption from a gender perspective. Then, a panel discussion took place among the participants that focused on issues arising from the working paper and the specifics of the relationship between gender and corruption in the Arab region context.

The second session was entitled "Perspectives of International Organizations on Governance and Gender”, which was moderated by Mr. Anouar Ben Khalifa, Senior Specialist, Anti-Corruption and Integrity, at the UNDP Regional Hub for Arab States. The session included three presentations on governance and gender. The first presentation was given by Mr. Mafaro Kasipo, Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Associate, at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, followed by the second speaker, Ms. Aleksandra Dier, Policy Advisor on Women Peace and Security at UN Women. The last presentation was given by Ms. Naima Benwakrim, Executive Board Member at Transparency Morocco. After the three presentations, participants held a general discussion regarding the presented topics. The first day of the second meeting concluded with closing remarks.

On the second day, Ms. Hakima Ghorri, an expert in governance and gender issues, moderated the third session’s discussion, entitled “Testimonies and Reflections from Arab Countries on the Corruption and Gender Nexus”. The session included four presentations on concrete testimonies by four women leaders from Arab countries. The first speaker was Dr. Neila Chaabane, Dean of the Faculty of Legal, Social, and Political Sciences at the University of Carthage in Tunisia. The second speaker was Dr. Inaya Ezzeddine, Member of Parliament and Head of the Committee on Woman and Child in Lebanon. The third speaker was Dr. Manal Abdelhadi, Director General at the Research and Studies in the Federal Commission of Integrity in Iraq. The fourth speaker was Dr. Rania Bader, Deputy Chairperson at Rasheed for Integrity and Transparency in Jordan. The session highlighted the perspectives and knowledge of the speakers regarding the interrelation between corruption and gender and how it impacts the economic, social, and political reality of women in the area in general, as well as in their specific countries.

In the fourth and final session, the prospects for establishing the Women’s Alliance for Anti-Corruption and Integrity in Arab countries were discussed, along with ways to develop concrete policy actions supportive of more efficient and effective anti-corruption strategies and mechanisms to achieve sustainable development for all. Mr. Arkan Al-Siblani also spoke in detail about considerations of the alliance’s development and how it relates to regional initiatives, followed by an intervention by Ms. Nicola Ehlermann, in which she addressed the potential areas of the alliance’s action. In conclusion, the participants agreed on the concept note for the regional alliance, which will bring together leading women with specialization and experience in the field of anti-corruption. The regional alliance will be supported by national meetings that include other individuals of different backgrounds in line with the alliance’s aims.

With regard to the alliance's activities, it will combine research, training, and guidance to work on integrating a gender perspective or a gender dimension in anti-corruption reforms at various levels. It is noteworthy that the idea of ​​establishing this alliance was based on the conclusions of a first regional preparatory meeting that was held in Beirut, Lebanon, on April 27, 2022, and then developed further during this second meeting. The alliance is to be formally launched after completing the preparatory work and the necessary consultations with the support of the UNDP Regional Hub for Arab States in partnership with the Government of Canada.


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