Skopje’s Anti-Corruption Day conference highlights shared commitment to integrity

10 Dec 2013

It is ten years now since the UN General Assembly first designated December 9 as International Anti-Corruption Day—a day to raise awareness of the many negative effects of corruption and the vital efforts being made to overcome the problem through the UN Convention against Corruption.

Signed by 168 countries, the Convention against Corruption is the only legally binding universal anti-corruption instrument and is one of the most powerful tools that states can use to strengthen their anti-corruption policies. This country ratified the Convention in 2007, committing itself to wide-ranging reforms at local and national level to prevent corruption.  

To celebrate this year’s Anti-Corruption Day, the State Commission for the Prevention of Corruption, together with the OSCE and UNDP, organized a conference in Skopje under the title ‘Zero Corruption – 100% Development’. The conference brought together over 100 representatives from key central institutions, municipal administration, international organizations, NGOs and the media.

The conference presented the latest findings from a recent survey on public awareness of corruption. The participants at the conference were unanimous in calling for a redoubling of efforts to fight corruption and increase transparency.  

UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Alessandro Fracassetti stated that “UNDP has been working closely over the past six years with the State Commission for the Prevention of Corruption to support reforms at national and local level,” adding that “UNDP’s support has been especially focused on those areas that are critical for the country’s convergence with the EU.”

Over the past two years, UNDP has facilitated a valuable exchange of knowledge between authorities in Skopje and Zagreb on practical issues related to the screening process under Chapters 23 and 24 of the EU acquis, the chapters concerned with promoting fundamental rights, justice, freedom and security.
 
At local level, UNDP has been actively supporting local institutions and municipalities to establish rules and procedures for ethical and non-corruptive behaviour in their work. This will help them become more resistant to corruption and more prepared to meet the high standards of the EU.

As a direct result of joint efforts, ten municipalities have already publicly signed official anti-corruption policies to demonstrate their political and administrative commitment to tackling this problem.  A further fifteen municipalities are expected to join this initiative. The final goal is to have all municipalities on board and inspire positive competition for champions of transparency and accountability.

UNDP has also been working with civil society organizations and young leaders to develop new ways of increasing the accountability and transparency of local government. The results of these efforts include a number of innovative web services and mobile applications for interactive communication between municipalities and citizens on issues related to the delivery of local services.

“This tenth anniversary of the adoption of the UN Convention against Corruption is a great opportunity to call on everyone to work towards a sustainable future,” declared Deputy Representative Fracassetti, “a future where corruption is exposed and rejected and where integrity prevails.“