Civil society- effective partner in fighting corruption.

12 Dec 2013

imageCivil society members in Albania.Photo credit:UNDP Albania

A town hall meeting brought together university students, women and girls and other representatives of civil society in Albania to talk about their role in tackling corruption.
Corruption is pervasive and has far-reaching consequences. It is one of the major hurdles to overall development and economic prosperity. It distorts proper functioning of the democratic institutions and is a symptom of deeper institutional weaknesses.
The town hall meeting is one among many activities organized by several partners to mark the Anti Corruption Week in Albania.

The Minister of State for Local Government Mr. Bledi Cuci addressing the participants spoke about the role the civil society, especially women and youth can play in tackling corruption.

“Civil society is one of the most effective allies of the government in forging anti-corruption coalition. Partnership with civil society can range from awareness raising to policy formation, to monitoring of the implementation of anti-corruption strategy”.
Mr.Cuci dwelled on the Government’s efforts to fight corruption in public sector and their efforts to make the public have trust in institutions. He further noted that the fight against corruption tops the Government’s agenda.

Speaking at the event, the Minister for Social Welfare and Youth Mr.Erion Veliaj amongst others highlighted:”The Government is placing key importance on the use of technology to modernize services which make the corruptive practices impossible. The Government, he said should lead by example”.

The UN Resident Coordinator in Albania, Ms.Zineb Toumi Benjelloun, noted:”All governments need to work together with civil society, private sector, media, and citizens at large for the equitable, inclusive and more prosperous future they all want. The efforts deployed, however, could be wasted, if we do not shed light on the damage that the corruption causes to the advancement of this agenda, to development, economic growth, human rights, and to peace overall.  There is a strong conviction that poor women and youth are often the worst affected by corruption by way of diverting funds from health care, education and other essential services. They are more reliant on public services, and for this reason they are disproportionately harmed by what may be, in financial terms, small-time corruption”.

Participants at the event discussed issues related to administrative accountability, transparency, use of technology, participation, rule of law and prompt service. The also discussed ways how civil society can be involved in monitoring the quality and delivery of public goods and services, mobilization of resources and make voices of the common people heard at the policy level. But the activism of the civil society depends on the responsiveness and cooperation of the state as well. To encourage the civil society, the state should accept it as a partner and an intermediary.

The UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) recognizes the role of civil society in combating corruption by calling on governments to increase transparency, improve public access to information, and to promote public contribution to government decision-making processes. Albania is a signatory party of the United Nations Convention against Corruption.
The event was organized by the National Coordinator against corruption in partnership with UNDP.