Speech delivered by:

Ms. Celine Moyroud

UNDP Country Director

 

National Conference on

“The National anti-corruption strategy… towards a better future””

 

24 April 2018

Beirut

Grand Serai

 

Excellency President of the Council of Minister Mr. Saad Al Hariri,

Minister of State for Administrative Reforms Ms. Enaya Ezzeddine,

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very pleased today to be part of this conference on the national anti-corruption strategy and its implementation plan. This comes as a fulfillment of the government’s commitment on “Restoring Confidence” as it was stated in its Ministerial Statement on January 2016, with clear reference to developing a national anti-corruption strategy, which is in line with Lebanon’s obligation under the United Nations Conventions against Corruption (UNCAC), which Lebanon ratified  in 2009. It is an important step towards rebuilding trust between the Lebanese citizens and their Government as well as public institutions.

This Strategy will also contribute to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and in particular to Goal 16 on promoting “peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, providing access to justice for all and building  effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels”. This goal includes specific targets related to reducing illicit financial flows (target 4), reducing corruption and bribery (target 5) and of course

the other governance targets such as: developing effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels (target 6) and ensuring public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements (target 10).

All of which, are at the core of the national strategy on anti-corruption. 

Since 2011, this process of assessing needs and policy options for fighting corruption has been initiated under the leadership of a Inter-Ministerial Committee, which was also supported by a Technical Committee. A specific sub-committee was entrusted with drafting the national anti-corruption strategy in early 2016. The Subcommittee led by Judge Said Mirza, and after wide consultations with government agencies, CSOs, private sector and Academia, the strategy was drafted and submitted to the President of the Council of Ministers on 27 April 2017, who welcomed it and requested the development of an implementation plan.

The United Nations Development Programme, who provided technical support and access to comparative experiences and lessons learned was requested to provide its technical support to finalize the implementation plan of this strategy. 

I would like to seize this opportunity to congratulate all parties involved for their commitment to carry forward this work and allow me to congratulate in particular the President of the Council of Ministers Mr. Saad Al Hariri for his commitment, encouragement and request for the finalization of the implementation plan.

I also commend her Excellency Minister of Administrative Reform Ms. Enaya EzzEddine for her restless efforts to finalize the strategy and its implementation plan during her mandate as head of the inter-ministerial committee, in her capacity as Minister for OMSAR in the current Government.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The global community is increasingly aware of the devastating impact of corruption, which is estimated to cost more than 5% of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and can cost developing countries up to 17% of their GDPs. The cost is even more tragic in terms of direct impact on the life of citizens, as corruption diverts public resources from much needed social services (education, health) and public infrastructures (schools, hospitals, roads, etc.). Countries across the globe, are strongly condemning and

holding corrupt officials responsible as recent examples have shown in Brazil and South Korea. Corruption is no longer accepted or tolerated, rather it is combated.

Corruption in Lebanon remains a major concern. According to the 2017 Corruption Perception Index, Lebanon featured among the worst countries in the world (number 143 out of 180 countries) with a score of 28 out of 100, which is far below the average in the Arab region, standing at 33.38, and the global average standing at 43. As for the direct cost of corruption in Lebanon, the national strategy uses the estimate proposed by the former Minister of Economy at around 5 billion USD annually. These wasted resources are much needed to revitalize economic growth and increase socio-economic development.

Tackling corruption, therefore, needs to be an essential pillar of the Government efforts to promote economic development and an incentive as well as a prerequisite for attracting further investment and support from the international community, as it has been highlighted during recent international conferences for Lebanon, including the CEDRE conference that was successfully held last month. It is Lebanon and the Lebanese

government that have interest in reducing corruption and increasing accountability, transparency and governance in Lebanon.

Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

This national anti-corruption strategy and its implementation plan represent a major milestone towards promoting integrity, transparency and accountability in the public sector. This step lays the ground for new reforms to be enacted.

The implementation plan defines a comprehensive framework for preventing and fighting corruption and it includes actionable proposals structured around seven outcomes, aiming at:

·     Completing and activating the specialized anti-corruption legal framework;

·     Safeguarding integrity in public human resource management;

·     Enhancing integrity in public procurement;

·     Strengthening the role of the justice system in anti-corruption;

·     Strengthening the role of oversight institution in anti-corruption;

·     Enhancing the participation of society in building a culture of integrity; and

·     Integrating preventive anti-corruption mechanisms at sectorial levels.

The proposed activities under each component have been discussed with all stakeholders, including public institutions, civil society and private sector. The hope  now is that the Lebanese government will endorse and adopt this strategy and commit to its implementation.

The United Nations Development Programme and the UN System as a whole will remain committed to supporting the Lebanese government for the implementation of this anti-corruption strategy, for greater accountability and for democratic governance reforms and sustainable human development.

Thank you for your patience. 

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