Regional Director’s remarks at the Forum on Innovations in Anti-corruption

May 15, 2019

Minister of Justice,

First Deputy Prosecutor General,

Distinguished guests, dear colleagues,

Sincere thanks to the Government of Uzbekistan, particularly to the General Prosecutor’s Office, the Ministry of Justice and the Republican Interagency Anti-corruption Commission for co-hosting this Forum together with UNDP today.

It is an important opportunity to again direct our attention to the urgent need to combat corruption – one of the biggest challenges to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, globally and nationally.

Sixteen years have passed since the adoption of the United Nations Convention against Corruption. During these years, preventing corruption has emerged a key factor for good governance and sustainable development. Efforts for enhanced transparency and accountability have been made across the globe.

These efforts are very necessary. In Europe and Central Asia one in three citizens think that corruption is a major problem facing their societies.

Globally, the cost of corruption equals more that 5% of global GDP and over $1 trillion is paid in bribes.

On average, in developing countries worldwide, countries lose close to US$10 for every US$1 received in aid.

Money lost to corruption is essentially development denied to those who are most at risk of being left behind. 

Corruption erodes people’s trust in government institutions. It undermines the checks and balances that safeguard our societies.

It  threatens peace by provoking feelings of desperation and powerlessness in the face of real and perceived lack of opportunities which can fuel violent extremism.

Corruption cripples economic development, stifles entrepreneurship and deters investment. Corruption robs funds from schools, hospitals, infrastructure and other vital services.

For this reason, UNDP made fighting corruption a part of its broader mandate on fostering effective, inclusive and accountable governance. We support Member States to combat corruption, from sharing good practices to supporting the capacity of national anti-corruption institutions.

We focus on raising awareness, carry out research to diagnose the problem in its various forms, and propose measures that lead to structural change.

Such reforms are necessary in government and private sector in order to effectively prevent and sanction corruption once it happens.

For example, in Albania, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine, UNDP has assisted the governments to establish one-stop shops for public service delivery, which limit corruption opportunities and increase citizen satisfaction with public services.

Dear Minister, Exellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

UNDP commends the political will and determination of the Government of Uzbekistan to tackle corruption at all levels.

The fight against corruption is at the forefront of democratic reform and efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in this country. Uzbekistan has moved from commitments to action.

Within a historically short period, strengthened anticorruption legislation created a single coordinating body for anticorruption operations.

The Interagency Commission on Combatting Corruption, adopted and implemented a National Program on fighting corruption in 2017-2018. The Government initiated a campaign to create a zero tolerance culture to corruption across all sections of society. And I am pleased to note that UNDP has been supporting these significant interventions.

Dear Forum Participants,

We gathered today to discuss how innovations and new technologies can strengthen the anti-corruption agenda.

Advances in technology can be used to prevent and detect corruption. At the same time they help improve accountability and transparency.

As systems and procedures continue to become more digitized, there are more opportunities to leverage available data to find the red flags that can indicate corruption and other integrity risks. Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain as well as human-centered public services delivery will all play a role in this.

However, while emerging innovative solutions have enormous positive potential, these developments can also bear risks and add new dimensions of vulnerability. We therefore need to build just and inclusive digital societies, by establishing the right normative frameworks, by ensuring access to new technologies for all and by protecting the individual from misuse.

In other words, transforming the political will of Governments to fight corruption into concrete actions and tangible changes requires a concerted effort of all stakeholders and all sections of society. It also requires a culture change.

I trust that this Forum will be a useful platform for all to share ideas about the future of Innovations in Anti-Corruption and hope that Uzbekistan will be one of the leading examples of harnessing the power and potential of technologies in this regard.

Thank you.