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Luanda (Angola) June 2, 2023 – “Corruption threatens our security. It drives organized crime. It corrodes our economy. It crushes development opportunities. And it traps people in cycles of inequality and poverty,” said UNODC Executive Director Ghada Waly in her message on Anti-Corruption Day last year.
Corruption affects all regions of the globe, including countries* belonging to the Southern African Development Community (SADC). By hindering sustainable development and diverting resources away from the most vulnerable, corruption poses a significant threat to the stability and security of the SADC region.
The United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) can be a powerful instrument in the fight against corruption. As the only universal and legally binding anti-corruption instrument, UNCAC strengthens international cooperation in tracking, investigating and prosecuting corruption.
In this context, around 100 high-level officials, experts and civil society representatives from SADC members met this week in Angola to develop and agree on a regional roadmap for tangible anti-corruption action in two priority areas.
First priority: Cross-regional cooperation
Corruption often crosses national borders and coordinated efforts are needed to overcome common challenges in detecting, investigating and prosecuting corruption cases. Resource constraints, lack of qualified personnel and misalignment between the UNCAC and national corruption laws, for example, can hamper the ability to fight corruption.
Enhanced information sharing and mutual legal assistance, capacity building through training of law enforcement agencies and increased financial and human resources, as well as strong political will, are key to improving national and regional coordination in the fight against corruption.
At the opening of the high-level event, Marcy Lopes, Angola’s Minister of Justice and Human Rights, called corruption an evil that must be fought by everyone. He also stressed that it was an ongoing battle to guarantee development and efficient public services.
Second priority: Public procurement
Public procurement, i.e. the acquisition of goods, services and works by governments or public companies, is a process that is particularly vulnerable to corruption. Through corruption in public procurement, public authorities can divert funds intended for public services, especially harming the most vulnerable. Every dollar lost to corruption in public procurement is a dollar that could have been invested in schools, hospitals or infrastructure.
Strong oversight bodies, strict anti-corruption laws, accountability and increased private sector compliance can ensure that resources reach the qualified beneficiaries.
Zahira Virani, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Angola, stressed that the fight against corruption is essential to guarantee investment in services and infrastructure for the benefit of society as a whole. The aim must be equal efforts and sustainable development without leaving anyone behind.
Strengthening the application of the UN Convention against Corruption at regional level
The conference is following the regional approach to accelerate the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). This approach has been successfully implemented by UNODC around the world since 2017 and was recognized by the States Parties to the Convention through the adoption of resolution 9/4 in December 2021.
The conference on fighting corruption in Southern Africa concluded with agreement on a common roadmap of anti-corruption activities to guide the collective anti-corruption activities of SADC countries in the coming years.
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