Five ways UNDP has been supporting the Government of Iraq in ending corruption and boosting foreign investment

January 24, 2024

UNDP's Anti-Corruption and Arbitration initiatives (ACAI) aim to build on Iraqi efforts to address corruption in a sustainable manner and create a conducive environment for attracting foreign investments and private sector development. The Initiative has been supporting Iraq`s efforts to improve transparency and accountability across state institutions while working with institutions to revise and reform anti-corruption laws by providing specialized technical support. 

Funded by the European Union, ACAI is achieving significant milestones midway through its five-year implementation. Directly aligning with the H.E. Prime Minister's and his government's agenda to combat corruption, diversify the economy, advance e-governance, and attract foreign investment, ACAI has been acting as a catalyst for improved capacity, legislation, and a strategic framework for anti-corruption and commercial dispute resolution.


1- By improving policy, legislative and strategic framework for Anti-Corruption in Iraq,


  • The legislative framework has been supported with the review of six draft laws and three legislations aiming to strengthen anti-corruption in the Iraqi legislation.
  • The legislative framework has been supported through recommendations made and reviews undertaken against the UN Convention against Corruption; the laws are to be adopted by the federal parliament and the Kurdistan regional parliament.
  • A significant milestone was achieved towards creating a transparent, informed, and empowered society in Iraq through the draft law on Access to Information, which is to be enacted by the Parliament. The law will support citizens to access information on public spending, holding the public authorities accountable. 
  • Policy and strategic assistance have been provided with more than 20 ministries and departments in the effective implementation of the National Anti-Corruption and Integrity Strategy of Iraq. The support covered the mainstreaming of anti-corruption and integrity efforts in public procurement.
  • Over 1000 public officials increased their capacity and knowledge in anti-corruption through workshops on diverse topics, including but not limited to legislation, anti-corruption reporting, corruption risk assessment and international framework.
  • Through the Anti-Corruption Coordination Forum, UNDP strengthened the international partner’s synergies and coordination to avoid overlapping and maximise impact.


2- By supporting the capacity and integrity to process corruption offences,

  • To bolster the capacity and integrity of Iraqi courts in addressing corruption cases, UNDP, in collaboration with the UNAMI Human Rights Office, initiated the Trial Monitoring Programme in 2022, to closely observe grand corruption cases tried before the Central Anti-Corruption Court, Criminal Courts, and Integrity Misdemeanor Courts of Iraq.
  • UNDP has supported courts in identifying gaps and challenges within the judicial system. Over 345major corruption cases have been monitored, and 226 verdicts prior to the establishment of the programme have been reviewed, spanning both Baghdad and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
  • The culmination of these efforts is encapsulated in the Trial Monitoring Report, which provides comprehensive quantitative and qualitative analyses and offers tailored recommendations that address the unique needs of each stakeholder and various project components. These encompass legal reform, training and capacity building, as well as collaboration with civil society and the international community.
  • Over 700 judges, prosecutors and investigators increased their capacity and knowledge in key areas like code of conduct, illicit enrichment and digital forensics through set of trainings. 
  • The space for direct policy dialogue with the government is enlarged through over 13 policy dialogue roundtables conducted with the participation of civil society, bar associations and other civil actors both at the federal and Kurdistan regional levels. 
  • For enhanced integrity standards within the justice institutions, UNDP is working with relevant authorities in developing Codes of Conduct compatible with international standards and providing the necessary training with respective authorities for the implementation. 


3- By strengthening the capacity, institutions and legal framework for commercial dispute resolution


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  • To create an inclusive ecosystem for investors and boost foreign investment, UNDP has been strengthening commercial dispute resolution legislation and practices.
  • UNDP has provided technical support in drafting the Law on Arbitration. As a result of the review carried out by UNDP, the draft Law is in better compliance with the UNCITRAL Model Law and the best regional and international practices. 
  • In 2021, Iraq ratified the New York Convention, the essential treaty on enforcement of arbitral awards. UNDP enhanced the capacity of judges to apply the Convention with a series of workshops for commercial and appellate court judges discussing the main concepts and case law from other countries. 

To raise awareness and knowledge on arbitration and mediation on a wider scale and in a sustainable way, UNDP has launched student initiatives: 1. facilitating the participation of 12 Iraqi universities in Arabic Arbitration Moot; 2. Organizing and supporting the first-ever international negotiation and mediation training and competition programme for students in Iraq


4- By creating a climate of support for anti-corruption in the federal parliament and the parliament in the Kurdistan region

  • UNDP has increased awareness, knowledge and engagement of the parliamentarians for Iraq’s commitments with respect to the UN Convention against Corruption, the Doha Declaration, anti-corruption policies and strategies through high-level advocacy sessions. 
  • For enhanced integrity of the Parliament, UNDP is supporting both the Federal and Kurdistan Parliaments in developing codes of conduct.


5- By galvanizing action among civil society, media and public to boost transparency and public accountability

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  • To facilitate the planning and monitoring of the implementation of the Anti-Corruption Strategy in the Kurdistan Regional Government's institutions, UNDP built a website for analysing reports, monitoring, and evaluating implementation plans and projects to achieve the anti-corruption strategy goals. This website provides a platform for managing and monitoring the proposed plans of public and private institutions, civil society organisations (CSOs), and political parties in the Kurdistan Regional Government according to the national strategy of combating corruption for developing integrity and transparency in public and private institutions and raising the trust of citizens.
  • Over 50 investigative journalists and members of civil society are provided with resources, skills and knowledge to carry out investigative projects against corruption through a set of investigative journalism and reporting workshops to boost collective action and advocacy against corruption, as well as social demand for public integrity.
  • UNDP has run the #PasstheBaton Campaign against corruption to galvanize action among the public and encourage using the reporting mechanisms against corruption. Over 50 million views on awareness-raising content have been reached. 32 million users of Asiacell and Zain have been informed about the campaign. A diverse target audience among the public engaged with anti-corruption messaging through the posts published by influencers and celebrities.