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Towards a National Strategy for Combating Corruption

Lebanon - Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Lebanese Society for Enhancing Transparency – No Corruption organized in cooperation with UNDP on March 25, 2009 a one day national conference titled "Towards a National Strategy for Combating Corruption". The conference was attended by Lebanese officials and representatives of diplomatic missions and international organizations in Lebanon, as well as representatives of civil society and professional organizations. Main speakers were Lebanon's Minister of Interior, chairman of the Lebanese Transparency Society Mr. Fadi Sa'ab, and UNDP resident representative Mrs. Marta Reuds. The Minister of Interior, Mr. Ziad Baroud said in his opening speech that corruption in Lebanon is not hidden or disguised, rather it is fully transparent. He added that a culture of corruption is entrenched equally in the public and the private sectors. He referred to a UN report of 2001 which mentioned that the Lebanese state loses $1.5 billion annually as a result of corruption at all levels of government. He also cited the 2008 report of Transparency International on perception of corruption which showed that Lebanon's rank declined from 78 in 2003 to 102 in 2008 (out of 180 countries). He emphasized that corruption is a major obstacle to achieving sustainable development and that the Lebanese election law is the source of political corruption in Lebanon because it replaced citizenship by clientalism. Mr. Fadi Sa'ab pointed out the need to combat corruption through adopting an integrated action plan with effective mechanisms. He called for launching a wide-scale reform workshop after the next legislative elections. Ms. Marta Reuds welcomed Lebanon's ratification of the UN Agreement on Combating Corruption, and emphasized the urgent need for achieving tangible progress and for establishing a national commission for combating corruption in Lebanon. She said that the UNDP had united its efforts with those of the Lebanese Transparency Society in implementing a joint project entitled "Towards National Dialogue about Corruption in Lebanon" some of its activities were already implemented.Participants agreed on the following recommendations: the need for political will to build a state of law and institutions; establishing an independent national organization for combating corruption; implementing the integrated administrative reform plan as soon as possible; amending laws pertaining to transparency enhancement; judicial independence, media independence, civil society's role, corporate governance and disseminating anti-corruption culture as well as including that culture in school curricula.
Source: Al-Mustaqbal Daily – Beirut, Al-Hayat


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