Speech of Maria Suokko, UNDP Resident Representative at the Public Discussion of Political Party Financing event

December 15, 2021

Your excellency Prime Minister Kurti,

Representatives of political parties and civil society,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to address you on behalf of UNDP.

Corruption erodes trust, weakens democracy, and hampers economic development.  It exacerbates inequality, poverty, and social division.  Ultimately, consequences are felt by everyone.

Corruption diverts public resources from basic services. Corruption disproportionately impacts the poor and most vulnerable. It increases costs and reduces access to services – in terms of health, education, and justice. This is particularly concerning at times that we are experiencing.

There is a growing demand among the public for increased openness in public services and enhanced oversight of crowdsourcing by allowing anyone to search databases on public spending.

And this is precisely why we are supportive of the proposed amendments to the Law on Political Party Financing.

Transparent and accountable spending of public funds as well as private donations are a sign of healthy democratic processes. Voters are entitled to make informed decisions – and this includes assessing how money influences politics. Elected officials must demonstrate integrity and accountability to voters in terms of how they fundraise and spend money.

The adoption of legislation to improve the regulation of party funding transparency and accountability has taken time. UNDP, through the support of the Swiss Development Cooperation office in Kosovo, and SIDA through the Swedish Embassy in Kosovo, has been supporting the process of drafting this legislation. We stand ready to help Kosovo’s authorities, political parties and the private sector implement the proposed new measures.

Together with our EU partners, we have helped to successful obtain Kosovo’s first legal opinion from the Venice Commission on the draft amendments in 2018. The recommendations of this opinion remain the guiding lines upon which the amendments need to be adopted.

To fulfill international standards on anti-corruption, Kosovo needs to ensure transparency in funding and expenditure, timely reporting and auditing of financial statements. Effective and proportionate sanctions are required for violations.

These standards to which Kosovo aspires, will bring it also closer to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 16 on peaceful, just and inclusive societies – and to meeting the targets on reducing bribery, strengthening institutions and accessing information. These are vital conditions for the achievement of all the SDGs.

Together with our partners, our approach is to help strengthen anti-corruption institutions and systems, implement UN and other international standards, mitigate corruption risks in essential sectors. We remain committed to strengthening the collective actions of the public sector, civil society and the private sector in fighting corruption.

This year, the United Nations General Assembly at a special session on Anti-corruption, adopted a political declaration on anti-corruption. Through this, all governments are called upon to strengthen oversight mechanisms on political party financing. We at UNDP remain committed to provide support to our partners in Kosovo in these efforts to build a stronger, more resilient, fair and equitable society.

I wish you a fruitful discussion and thank you for your attention.