Launch of International Anti-corruption Conference

01 Dec 2010

International Anti-corruption Conference
Shahid Najam,
UNDP Resident Representative

Excellency, the Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Çiçek
Hon. Deputy Undersecretary of Prime Ministry, Özer Kontoğlu,
Distinguished Representatives of the Ministries, Civil Society, Academia, the International Community and Media;
Ladies and Gentlemen;

It is a matter of great honor and privilege for me to welcome you to the International Anti-Corruption Conference and Launch event of the Project: “Support to the Effective Implementation of National Anti-Corruption Strategy in Turkey”.

This is indeed the first international event of its kind here in Turkey which has been graced by such an eminent gathering of scholars,  experts, development practitioners, civil society representatives and high level government functionaries to deliberate on some of the fundamental policy, institutional and governance issues to combat corruption. We firmly believe that sharing of your wisdom and sagacity; your expertise and diverse wealth of knowledge; and the cumulatively gained best practices and lessons learned, will contribute to the development of the strategic choices to: (a) rid the society from the menace of corruption in all its forms and manifestations; and (b) ensure access of common man to timely, cost effective and expeditious remedy against the tyranny and injustices perpetrated by corrupt and unscrupulous practices. 

The magnitude, size and scale of the developmental challenges characterized by abject poverty and impoverishment; illiteracy and ignorance; disease and deprivation; and degradation and depletion of environmental resources continue to baffle and test the human resilience and resolve. The imperatives of good and democratic governance, espousal of rights-based approaches and integration of human rights in the development paradigm have vociferously been advocated and asserted as a sine qua non to ensuring human development and surmounting these challenges. However, the progress in many societies continues to remain dismally poor because of corruption and the associated injustices.

It has been widely recognized that corruption is anathema to human development, diverting precious public resources from the development and welfare function to illicit private gains and denying equitable access to public services with poor, marginalized and alienated segments of the society being the major victims. In its wake, corruption fosters and foments social, economic and political milieu which negatively affects the ability and capability of people to give expression to their talent and energy, enlarge their choices, lead a life of dignity and secures their basic fundamental rights. Its deleterious impact on economic growth prevents sustainable development, accentuate poverty and inequality, dilutes the efficacy of governance and administrative processes and dis-empower people and disproportionally affect socially vulnerable and marginalized groups including women, disabled and migrants. 

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
   
Corruption – and the perception of corruption – remain critical issues in Turkey. Over the years, concerted and assiduous efforts have been made to minimize and eradicate the incidence of corruption through a series of reforms including those initiated pursuant to the EU accession process. The development of Strategy for Increasing Transparency and Strengthening the Fight Against Corruption, in this connection, is an eloquent testimony of government’s commitment to combat corruption. However, the institutional reform, design and implementation of strategies and their monitoring and implementation need to be synergized to maximize the gains. To this end precisely, the joint Project of Prime Ministry Inspection Board and UNDP Turkey, that we launch today, aims at creating an enabling environment for a consensus-oriented policy making and implementation and increased ownership and improved coordination mechanism.

Based on our international experience and best practices, I would like to in particular highlight three key interrelated elements upon which will hinge the success of this Project:

First and foremost, the entire process for the design and implementation of the Anti-corruption Strategy and measures have to be governed by national leadership, national ownership and nation specific solutions, for we are fully cognizant, that the ultimate success rests solely on the degree of ownership of the endeavors by the national government and related entities such as civil society organizations, the media and citizens.

Secondly coherent and regular coordination and communication are absolutely crucial, for, without clear communication and effective coordination between the different actors involved, anti-corruption efforts may lack effectiveness and focus, fail to meet the desired objectives and lead to a waste of valuable resources.

And the third and final element is the criticality of effective monitoring mechanism: A major obstacle to the success of many anti-corruption strategies has been the absence of tangible benchmarks and tracking mechanism to demonstrate that targets have been reached.
We believe that these three elements will constitute the kernel of the project implementation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

UNDP in the discharge of its core mandate, has for many years supported numerous initiatives and activities globally to address the fundamental and often extremely sensitive elements of corruption including its social, economic and political dimensions and its impact on human development. We are, therefore, excited to be able to contribute to the ongoing groundbreaking endeavors in the field of anti-corruption in Turkey. We are more than willing to further expanding our collaboration and reaffirm our commitment with the government in the process.

As a valedictory note, I would like to emphasize that given the complexity of the wide range of issues involved, there is a need to forge a transcendental commitment of going much beyond: to broaden and deepen the engagement; to bring about a transformative change in the mindset to ensure compliance of laws and ethical standards; and to secure resolute and collective efforts of a wider coalition of stakeholders to emancipate the society from the shackles of corruption.

I thank you for your attention and wish you very rewarding deliberations during the course of the five sessions of this 2 days Conference.