Stefan Priesner: Welcome Speech at the Open Doors Day of the Prosecutor General Office dedicated to the International Anti-Corruption Day

Dec 9, 2015

Dear Mr.Zilyaev,

Dear co-organizers and participants of the “Open Day”.

On behalf of the UN Country Team in Uzbekistan I would like to welcome you all to this event. It is a great pleasure to see here today our partners from Government, academia and civil society organizations.

Today, on December 9 the whole World is commemorating the International Anti-Corruption day. To mark this day, UNODC and UNDP have developed a joint international campaign “Break the corruption chain”, emphasizing that corruption is a major bottleneck to the progressive realization of sustainable development and protection of fundamental human rights and freedoms. Corruption undermines Governments’ ability to serve their people by corroding the rule of law, public institutions and trust in leaders. Corruption acts as a brake on development, denying millions of people around the world the prosperity, rights, services and employment, which they desperately need – and deserve.

We are glad to join the awareness raising process on importance of combating and prevention of corruption together with national and international partners. Fighting corruption is a global concern because corruption is found in both rich and poor countries, and evidence shows that it hurts poor people disproportionately. Some facts in this regard speak for themselves:

-          Every year 1 trillion USD is paid in bribes while an estimated 2.6 trillion USD are stolen annually through corruption – a sum equivalent to more than 5 per cent of the global GDP.

-          According to World Economic Forum, corruption increases the cost of doing business by up to 10 per cent on average.

-          Corruption increases the costs of building water infrastructure by as much as 40 per cent – this equates to an additional 12 billion USD a year needed to provide worldwide safe drinking water and sanitation

-          According to World Health Organization, 25 per cent of medicines which are procured can be lost to fraud, bribery and other corrupt practices globally.

UN member-states have developed and accepted international legal instrument, which is Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) now signed almost universally (177 states). UNCAC is the first legally binding, global anti-corruption instrument, which provides a unique opportunity to prevent and fight corruption in both public and private sectors.

Uzbekistan has demonstrated progress in combating and criminalization of acts of corruption. We continue to support our national partners to raise public awareness about the importance of legislative, organizational and institutional measures on prevention of corruption. In this regard, I would like to commend the recent UNCAC Implementation Review as well as OECD Istanbul Plan of Actions missions to which UN agencies have made its substantial contribution. These monitoring reports are publicly available now.

To date UNDP in Uzbekistan provides technical assistance to Government of Uzbekistan in prevention of corruption by implementing different initiatives with concerned parties. In particular, this assistance is focused on the following:

-          Enhancing accountability and transparency of central and local governments’ performance. We will also support the recently established Public Council on transparency issues which will monitoring the openness of more than 50 state agencies on a regularly basis.

-          Increasing citizen participation in decision-making process in line with the new Law on “Openness of activities of state authorities and public institutions”. Modern ICT tools such as regulation.gov.uz portal for public discussions of draft laws and regulations affecting business, as well as national open data portal data.gov.uz became popular among public and private sectors to voice their concerns.

-          Increasing the quality of law-making and rule-making processes through introduction of modern regulatory impact assessments and anti-corruption expertise methodologies.

Under the new UNDAF for 2016-2020 co-signed by the Government of Uzbekistan there are expanded opportunities of cooperation. UNDP as well as other UN agencies stand ready to contribute to the process of implementation of UNCAC in Uzbekistan.

We hope that today’s event will further strengthen our important partnership in our efforts to better promote anticorruption initiatives. Thank you.

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