On Tuesday, the world commemorated the International Anti Corruption Day.
On that Day, 9 December, 11 years ago, the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), was first opened for signature and adoption by Member States of the United Nations, in Mexico.
The Convention named the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) as the custodian of UNCAC. UNODC has been working with Member States to adopt UNCAC's measures, strengthen their national laws, build their national consensus and capacities to fight corruption.
A decade after its adoption, UNCAC stands out as the most relevant legally binding treaty, the universal foundation for countering and preventing corruption around the world. Many concrete steps have been taken by the global community to fight corruption and much has been achieved. Yet, much more remains to be done.
Corruption remains a complex phenomenon affecting countries across social, political and economic boundaries. Fighting corruption in all its forms, such as bribery, embezzlement, extortion, or trading in influence, nepotism, etc., remains a priority for Iraq, for UNODC, and the international community.
In the Middle East and North Africa, following the political transformations in the region initiated by popular demands for transparency and justice, countries have progressed in reforming the judiciary, governance and law enforcement. Notable increase in citizen participation to fight and report corrupt practices has been witnessed and businesses have taken action to boost their ethical behavior and procurement rules.
UNODC Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa has been working with national partners in the region, and through the technical assistance of UNODC, countries in the MENA region have been steadily implementing the principles and values enshrined in the Convention. Our joint efforts stemming from the Regional Programme that all Arab countries have endorsed, have lead to adoption and implementation of a number of anti corruption strategies across the region, to enhanced capacities of specialized anti corruption bodies, has promoted the criminal justice responses to investigation, prosecution and adjudication of serious corruption cases and has fostered inter agency and international cooperation in criminal matters and recovery of stolen assets.