Arab region experts draw on UNDP support and declare new anti-corruption initiatives in Doha

26 Mar 2012

Corruption has long been acknowledged as an overall challenge to development in an ever more complicated world. And today in the Arab region, governments, civil society and the private sector are coming together more than ever before to tackle the challenge head-on.

UNDP held two meetings for anti-corruption experts from the Arab region in partnership with the Public Prosecution of the State of Qatar. The meetings were hosted by the Qatar University College of Law in Doha.

The first meeting, attended by senior justice and anti-corruption officials from Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, the Palestinian National Authority, Tunisia, and Qatar, addressed the need to enhance Arab capacities to fight corruption crimes through law enforcement mechanisms. It focused on developing specialized skills in financial investigations and the prosecution of serious corruption crimes, and called for improved international cooperation especially in the area of freezing, confiscating, and recovering the proceeds of corruption. Representatives of partner countries and organizations also participated in the discussions and shared their experiences and suggestions in these areas.

Inaugurating the first meeting, His Excellency Dr. Ali Ben Fetais Al Marri, Attorney General of the State of Qatar, stressed the need to develop a new culture in Arab societies which considers the fight against corruption as a virtue that should be instilled. “We need mentalities to evolve in the Arab countries, and for the abstention of engaging in corruption to be seen by society as a positive quality, instead of a weakness,” he said.

The first meeting concluded with an agreement to establish a rapid-deployment team of law enforcement practitioners who will support Arab countries, upon request, in addressing major corruption cases. Team members will be deployed through the mandates of their respective institutions, and within the framework of the Arab Anti-Corruption and Integrity Network. UNDP, through its regional programme on anti-corruption, will train the team members and provide them with the necessary working tools in cooperation with a number of regional and international partners.

The second meeting focused on the need to develop and disseminate training materials for the promotion of integrity in the private sector, including the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption, which requires signatory governments to take action on a broad range of fronts in the fight against corruption. The meeting was attended by representatives of the private sector, academia, and the legal profession together with prominent regional and international anti-corruption experts. Participants decided to initiate the development of two curricula: the first targeting private sector practitioners and the second for law students. The curricula are expected to be deployed in mid-2013.

Hassan Okour, Dean of the College of Law at Qatar University, considered that “the curricula to be produced will certainly contribute positively in developing Arab capacities in the fight against corruption for the long term, a matter which is critical for the current historical transitions that the region is experiencing."

His Excellency Abdessalam Aboudrar, Chair of the Network and President of the Moroccan anti-corruption agency, assured his full support to these activities and confirmed that "the Network is committed to continue building the national, regional and international partnerships needed to further the fight against corruption across the Arab region."