Closing Session of 6th UNDP Global Policy and Programme Dialogue on Anti-corruption

Sep 1, 2015

Representatives from the governments, donor and programme partners,

UN and UNDP Colleagues,

It is my pleasure to join you in the closing session of this Global Policy and Programme Dialogue on Anti-corruption. I regret very much that I could not take part in and benefit from yesterday’s dialogue, as I was out of the country.  But I was happy to be part of the wrap-up discussions which noted the main issues and gave me a flavour of the discussions.

On behalf of the United Nations, let me thank you all for coming to Malaysia to participate in this global dialogue and the International Anti-corruption Conference (IACC), which will start tomorrow.

I would like to thank and acknowledge the support provided by the Government of Malaysia, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, our donors, and other partners to organize this global dialogue.

On behalf of the United Nations, I would like to thank the active participation of more than 15 senior representatives from among our partner institutions in this dialogue session. Your participation is a clear signal of both the need and the extent of global, regional and national collaborations and partnerships that are required to stem and eradicate corruption and we thank you for sharing your experience with us.

Increasingly, in this digital world, cross border crime, and the ease of financial flows and the movement of institutions and individuals across borders, require the regional and global community and networks to come together around a common agenda of transparency and accountability to enable and drive progress  in the fight against the menace of corrupt practices in both public and private sectors.

This global dialogue with more than 90 professional colleagues and partners around from all over the world over the last two days has demonstrated the tangible  benefits of sharing and learning from the UNDP and other United Nations agencies, international organisations and partners, premised on critical analysis and understanding of successes, and as well the challenges faced  at national and regional levels.

As the global community moves to embrace the Post 2015 Development agenda and adopt the new Sustainable Development Goals at the United Nations Summit later this month in New York, issues related to governance and anti-corruption take primacy of place, and the urgent call to bridge the gaps between policies and practices in implementing anti-corruption initiatives, and to strengthen action for the prevention of corruption will be registered in the new SDGs and in the targets and indicators for measurement of progress and success, to ensure that the upcoming 15 years are truly transformative with visible and measurable results for societies and their citizens.

I am also hopeful that the findings from the mid-term review of UNDP’s Global Anti-corruption Initiative (GAIN), which have been shared with you, will serve as inputs for your own assessments at national and regional levels of the strengths, challenges, areas for improvement and opportunities.

On that point, my colleague Patrick Keuleers, Director for UNDP’s Governance and Peace-building Cluster, will elaborate on a number of forward looking action points for UNDP that emerged from this dialogue, and which we believe could further strengthen UNDP’s anti-corruption programming at global, regional and country level.

In contribution, as the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative for UNDP Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam, I want to highlight two key points I see from my vantage point at the country level.

First, 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets, will stimulate action over the next fifteen years in five areas of critical importance for humanity: People, planet, prosperity, peace, and partnership.  As you know, the proposed SDGs, which build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), are comprehensive in nature and take into account the pressing global development challenges of developed and developing countries alike in all three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental.

The inclusion of Goal 16 in this package is noteworthy.   Goal 16 focuses on strengthening governance, providing access to justice for all and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

Despite the mention of good governance in the Millennium Declaration, the MDGs did not include any governance goals or targets, or the issues of transparency, accountability and anti-corruption.

This time, SDG Goal 16 recognises the critical importance of significantly reducing illicit financial flows, corruption and bribery in all their forms, and developing effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels to achieve agreed development results.  Importantly, it includes measurable targets and indicators to keep us on track.

I very much hope that in enhancing UNDP’s work to mitigate corruption risks in service delivery sectors such as health, education and water, UNDP’s Global anti-corruption team will take the lead on providing policy and programme guidance to integrate anti-corruption and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) in national development agendas, including the SDGs, in close collaboration and partnerships with related UN agencies and other national, regional and global partners and stakeholders.

Second, this global dialogue and the IACC also coincide with Malaysia’s economic and political transformation process including the current ongoing discussion on how Malaysia could further consolidate its political and economic transformation to achieve its goal to become a high income, advanced country by 2020.

The ongoing discourse in Malaysia about strengthening the rule of law and checks and balances, ensuring the commitment of government to transparency and accountability, institutionalizing integrity in the public sector, and safeguarding the independence of the judiciary and enforcement authorities, has been a part of ongoing governance, institutional, economic and societal transformation of Malaysia.  This conversation is one that needs to take place across all nations, of all levels of socio-economic development and political environments, and is key to achieving the transformation agenda embodied in the SDGs.

I am of the view that the global IACC meetings and similar formatted events bringing together relevant stakeholders are opportunities for the government, academia, private sector, international development community and civil society, as well as the media, to work together to seek concrete solutions to corruption challenges and translate them into concrete, measurable and effective actions.

We in the United Nations are committed to transparency, accountability and anti-corruption, heard this clearly throughout the day and in the wrap-up.  We are also committed to contributing to the achievement of these objectives, particularly by facilitating south-south knowledge exchange and experience sharing, and offering policy expertise and advice, and support  for designing and implementing effective anti-corruption and governance programmes. Greater investment on our part, in partnership with others will be critical to achievement of the SDGs.

In the Malaysian context, we note and congratulate the government and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission for their efforts to continue the hard journey towards eradicating corruption and strengthening integrity, transparency and accountability, essential for achieving the broader national vision of a high income and advanced nation in the very near future. Malaysia, just as the global community, needs to do more on anti-corruption; and UNDP stands ready to support this important agenda.

To support Malaysia’s efforts and those of other countries, the best practices of nations needs to be shared and dialogue exchanges need to be encouraged. For example, the Malaysian Anti-corruption Commission (MACC) and the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Academy (MACA) have a wealth of knowledge and experience which is helpful in providing capacity development support to many anti-corruption agencies around the world on the successes and challenges faced and practical solutions that have worked for its unique context. We know that each country has its own set of socio-economic and political dynamics, and as such, the realistic codification and understanding on the core principles of these success, need to be further unpacked for practical applications by others.

As seasoned practitioners in this room, we are all aware of the vast complexity that surrounds the anti-corruption agenda.  Yet, I am glad to note that over the last two decades, the anti-corruption area also has been evolving rapidly as we continue to accumulate evidence on what works, what doesn’t and why. So let’s continue our dialogue and collaboration to fight this complex problem for better development results for people around the world.

Finally, as UNDP Resident Representative for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam, I am pleased to note that our global anti-corruption team is now based in Singapore and it leads our global anti-corruption community of practice, will be able to support Malaysia and other countries in the region and beyond Asia-Pacific to promote anti-corruption as a development agenda.

Once again, I would like to thank you for being an important part of this global dialogue. I wish safe travels to those of you who are leaving today/tomorrow and very productive meetings and discussions to those who stay on for the IACC.

Thank you!

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