The Municipality of Tetovo Commits to Redoubling its Efforts to Combat Corruption

05 Dec 2013

The Municipality of Tetovo has committed itself to redoubling its efforts in the fight against corruption.  The Mayor of Tetovo, Teuta Arifi, today put this commitment into writing by signing an agreement to introduce an integrity system in the municipality.

Mayor Arifi closed the signing event with an appeal to individual conscience as the most formidable weapon against corruption: “There is nothing like the sight of an amputated spirit” she said, "And so I say ‘let's not bargain with our spirit!’ and let’s fight corruption together! The Municipality of Tetovo is determined to serve its citizens through its conscientious and professional administration, working in accordance with the laws and in line with the best interests of the citizens of Tetovo.”

UNDP developed the integrity system in partnership with the State Anti-Corruption Commission.

Nine municipalities have already embraced this initiative. By signing the agreement today, Tetovo has become the first of a second wave of fifteen municipalities to adopt this set of tools, which are designed to enhance transparency, enforce ethical behaviour and engage the media, community organizations and ordinary citizens in the fight against corruption.

UNDP Resident Representative Louisa Vinton attended the signing in Tetovo and commended the municipality for joining the struggle against corruption. “This effort has priority for UNDP,’ she explained, “because, simply put, corruption is the thief of economic and social development. It steals the opportunities of ordinary people to progress and to prosper. Corruption does real harm to ordinary people, to their families and their communities.”

Corruption hinders socio-economic development and undermines democratic governance. Globally, an estimated one trillion dollars are paid in bribes every year, in some cases costing countries as much as 17% of their GDP. Around the world, corruption raises the cost of water infrastructure by an estimated 40%.
 
This year marks the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Convention against Corruption. This country ratified the Convention in 2007, joining 167 nations committed to rooting out malpractices at local and national levels of government. The Convention requires states to ensure that their public services are subject to safeguards that promote efficiency, transparency and recruitment based on merit and that public servants adhere to strict codes of conduct.

UNDP has worked with the State Anti-Corruption Commission for many years to translate these principles into a clear set of rules and procedures specifically designed for municipalities.

Establishing the integrity of municipal authorities is a clear stepping stone towards EU accession, and also towards the funding and other investment opportunities that go hand-in-hand with European integration.

By undertaking this important commitment, Tetovo is setting a good example for other municipalities in taking clear steps to ensure the most efficient and equitable use of public resources.

The event included a demonstration of a new UNDP-funded website for Tetovo that is meant to simplify access to information and enable constituents to pose questions, arrange meetings and highlight problems in a fully transparent way. Arifi noted that the website would complement her current practice of opening her doors to citizens once every two weeks.

Fittingly, the signing event was held just before this year’s International Anti-Corruption Day, which is to be observed on 9 December 2013 under the title ‘Zero Corruption – 100 % Development’. Anti-Corruption Day was introduced through a decision of the UN General Assembly in 2003 as a day for raising awareness of the negative impact of corruption and publicising the efforts being made to overcome this problem.