[Observance of Protocol]
It is befitting that exactly a week to the commemoration of the African Anti-Corruption Day, to which the African Union dedicated July 11 as such three years ago, we gather here today to reaffirm our commitment to addressing one of the greatest development challenges of our time.
Corruption undermines human development: it diverts public resources away from the provision of essential services; it increases inequality and hinders national and local economic development by distorting markets for goods and services; it corrodes the rule of law and destroys public trust in governments and leaders.
The financial and economic costs of corruption are enormous: The World Bank estimates that US$1trillion globally is paid in bribes per year, and Global Financial Integrity has found that there were US$1.8 trillion in illicit financial outflows from Africa between 1970 and 2008. The UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) is the first legally binding instrument against corruption. As of 12 July 2017, UNCAC has 182 State Parties.
In line with commitments enshrined in the UN Charter, which reaffirm our obligation to aspire towards the promotion of fundamental human rights, human dignity and equal rights of men and women, social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom, UNDP works across the world to improve governance and combat corruption as a core requirement for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Governance is an area of deep focus for UNDP as a development agency. In Kenya, transformative governance is a strategic priority of the UNDP Country Programme, alongside inclusive growth and structural transformation, and environment, energy and resilience of communities.
UNDP looks at various aspects of governance, including building integrity, transparency and accountability in the public sector and the non-state sectors, and promoting human rights, basic needs and service delivery under the banner of “leaving no one behind.”
The deep need to accelerate our efforts to entrench integrity, transparency and accountability in our institutions is ever more pressing today, as it emerges that this year measures of human development – which consider a combination of education, health, and living standards – are on course to witness declines due to the socio-economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The situation is of concern because the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will disproportionately affect the poorest and most vulnerable segments of the population, including women and girls, threatening the social, economic and structural transformations envisaged under 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In recognition that the pandemic is more than a health crisis, but also a development crisis and a governance crisis, UNDP, as the lead development agency of the United Nations, has responded to support the country to prepare, respond, recover.
But there is more. UNDP recognizes that transparency and accountability are key ingredients of effective preparedness, response and recovery and beyond. We have therefore repurposed some of our financial and technical resources to support Kenya to effectively combat COVID-19 and achieve the sustainable development goals that this country is known for its remarkable contribution in their formulation.
UNDP is pleased to announce the establishment of the Strengthening Public Accountability and Integrity Systems (SPAIS) Project with catalytic funding to the tune of $850,000 to support state and non-state actors in efforts aimed at preventing and combating corruption for improved service delivery, inclusive growth and transformative governance. We have had the privilege of working with your technical team on areas of collaboration and catalytic interventions to support the EACC mandate. This will be targeted through:
- Strengthening policy and Legal frameworks for countering and preventing corruption;
- Enhancing capacity for oversight and coordination institutions for countering and preventing corruption; and,
- Increasing capacities and participation of civil societies, faith-based organizations, media and private sector to inform public, monitor service delivery and promote public accountability.
It is hoped that with this catalytic funding from UNDP, there will be concerted resource mobilization efforts to establish a larger programme on anti-corruption, that brings together a wide range of stakeholders from the national government, to county governments, private sector, media and civil society.
In line with our commitment to effective, responsible and inclusive institutions, UNDP is providing in this phase, support to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to ensure that it fulfils its mandate as required by law.
It is indeed a pleasure and honour to join you today as we hand over the Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to support business continuity of EACC. These will ensure that EACC officers can continue to discharge their duties during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 crisis provides an opportunity to leverage on Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) to support greater transparency and accountability through e-governance, and UNDP is also providing ICT support through acquisition of the Webex licenses which will ensure continued seamless virtual working.
The support offered will ensure the EACC brings services closer to the people and improve accountability and transparency to secure prudent use of public resources for transformative development results.
Through the project UNDP is supporting 8 CSOs to enhance engagement of the public in monitoring service delivery and promoting public accountability. We will work directly with these CSOs and hope to strengthen the collaboration between duty bearers and rights holders to combat corruption and promote transparency and accountability in Kenya as we all grapple with COVID-19.
We trust that we can work together to jointly mobilize further resources for a broader long term programme on transparency and accountability. We have noted interest from some of the development partners in Kenya and look forward to implementing this programme efficiently and effectively over the next six months.
UNDP is proud to note that through the 2020 Aid Transparency Index, we have been rated the No. 1 top UN agency for transparency and accountability – ranking among the top three agencies consistently since 2014.
We appreciate this collaboration with the EACC and acknowledge that this initial engagement will be a small step in contributing to the pursuit of transparency, accountability, equality – that taken together offers a pathway beyond recovery, towards 2030 - with the SDGs as our compass.