Under the patronage of the Prime Minister Mr. Saad Hariri and in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Office of the Minister of State for Administrative Reform (OMSAR) launched the “Anti-Corruption National Strategy” project and its executive plan, during a national conference titled: “The Anti-Corruption Strategy…Towards A Better Future” in the Grand Serail in Beirut.
H.E. Dr. Inaya Ezzeddine presented the strategy’s project, followed by a word by the UNDP Country Director in Lebanon Mrs. Celine Moyroud and a word by PM Saad Hariri, represented by the Minister of State for Combating Corruption Nicolas Tueni.
Minister Ezzeddine started the conference by affirming the importance of fighting corruption in Lebanon and the role of the National Strategy to achieving the enhancement of transparency and accountability, explaining the reasons behind corruption and the mechanisms for the implementation of the strategy’s objectives in order to achieve the SDGs. She resumed: “Our meeting today can have a inclusive historical and national aspect, for it is the first time that we witness, in Lebanon, the announcement of such an act, in an attempt to combat vicious circles with too many words and too few actions as well as the scarcity of mechanisms and lack of activation. I say this because in light of my ministerial experience during the last two years, I found out many relevant issues, including the presence of an existing Lebanese anti-corruption mechanism, materializing in a ministerial committee and a technical auxiliary commission that were formed in 2011 in execution of Lebanon’s commitments within the framework of the United Nations Convention against Corruption. The said committee did not receive enough attention from neither the State nor the citizens, not even from Lebanon’s partners in the international community”.
She added: “Our decision at OMSAR, in compliance with the decision of the “Restoring Confidence” Government, was to build and improve upon the said mechanism. Hence the work we did, in coordination with the Minister of State for Combating Corruption, the other ministries, the stakeholders at both legislative and judicial authorities, in both private sector and civil society, and in close cooperation between the ministry’s team and regional and international UN experts, in particular UNDP through its national office in Lebanon and regional office in the Arab states. We were able, following huge efforts and in spite of numerous challenges, to achieve the said act which is considered a major step, but perhaps the first on a thousand-mile path”.
Ezzeddine continued: “We thank President Michel Aoun dearly for his support, the Speaker of the Parliament Nabih Berri for his follow-up, PM Saad Hariri for his patronage and the members of the governmental and technical commissions, as well as UNDP’s administrators, who have all enabled us to translate the strategy into a ready-for-execution project. I would like to give special mention to Mrs. Celine Moyroud, UNDP Country Director and the other participating experts from UNDP. In conclusion, Ezzeddine resumed the act.
For her part, Moyroud expressed her happiness in being part of the launch of the project, appraising “the role of the Lebanese Government and its efforts to combat corruption and build trust between the Lebanese people and their authority”.
She also stressed the role of the United Nations in helping to spread laws that curb corruption and pointed to the “need for anti-corruption in the region and worldwide and the importance of the cooperation between the public and private sectors in this field”.
Delivering PM Hariri’s word, H.E. Tueni said: “I would like to thank PM Saad Hariri for sponsoring this event, as well as Minister Inaya Ezzeddine, the OMSAR personnel, the volunteering personnel of the Ministry of State for Combating Corruption, and the UNDP. I believe this Anti-Corruption National Strategy is an important event in the history of reclaiming rights and putting an end to social oppression in Lebanon”.
“We are gathered today to launch the action plan for the implementation of an Anti-Corruption National Strategy National Lebanon; corruption that has been rampant for years, organized, protected and in control. There is no doubt the vast majority of the Lebanese people are demanding us daily to fight this corruption with all means and methods to ward off the danger”.
Adopting the Anti-Corruption National Strategy and its executive plan is is an implementation of the commitment made by Lebanon when it signed the International Convention against Corruption, notably Article 5 thereof. In Lebanon, corruption affects almost all areas of life, public and private, and reaches its highest levels in fields that are composed, by nature, of public funds, such as works, equipments and services performed by the public administrations and institutions, as well as municipalities, in addition to the areas of taxes, customs and real estate duties, electricity, water, oil, gas, communications, health, environment and waste sectors.
The local opinion surveys show the conviction of most Lebanese that corruption has become an epidemic that is spreading, expanding and striking fiercely everywhere across the country. This is confirmed by the relevant global indicators, whereas Lebanon scored 28 points, for instance, on the Corruption Perceptions Index for “International Transparency” in 2017, which ranges from 0 (the most corrupt) to 100 (the least corrupt). It also scored -0.97 on a scale between -2.5 (least control over corruption) and +2.5 (most control over corruption), placing Lebanon in the ranks of that did not exceed both regional and international averages for these two indicators.
Determining the causes of corruption constitutes the starting point in the path to its fight, for the proper diagnosis of the epidemic and disease allows the prescription of an effective and healing treatment. However, the causes of the corruption seem to be numerous and their degree vary from one community to another and one state to another, according to their nature, prevailing values, systems, customs and traditions that govern each one of them, as well as the political and intellectual factors they draw upon and the competence of the public administrative body therein.
In Lebanon, the causes for corruption vary, and take on different forms that can be divided into political, administrative and social causes, and others related to the lack of anti-corruption legislation.