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Speeches / Interviews
Strengthening Cooperation between the National Assembly, Civil Society and the Media in the Fight Against Corruption National Assembly (Parliament) of Armenia / April 6, 2006 By Ms. Consuelo Vidal, UN RC / UNDP RR
Dear Mr. Speaker, Dear Excellencies, Distinguished Guests and Participants of this Conference:
On behalf of the UNDP, I would like to say that I am very pleased to be here today and that UNDP is proud to be part of this initiative that engages parliament, civil society, media and the international community together in the fight against corruption in Armenia.
UNDP views corruption in Armenia as a serious challenge to its development. And to effectively fight it the different stakeholders from society need to be engaged and committed to address the challenge.
The Government of Armenia carries the burden of fighting corruption in the country. And the National Assembly of Armenia has an equally important role to ensure accountability of the Government and to provide an oversight function.
And media, civil society, and the private citizen serve to hold both the Government and the Parliament accountable for their actions or inaction, and to have an ethical behaviour themselves.
That is why UNDP believes that public participation in the fight against corruption is essential. I sincerely hope that the Members of Parliament present here today, as well as the media and NGOs will reach out to the public, to the private sector, to the private average citizen, and engage them as well, to ensure the voice and the commitment of the average citizens in the process.
At UNDP we will continue to actively support national actors in reducing corruption in Armenia - in order to alleviate poverty, to improve the social structure of the country, to promote economic development, and to enhance Armenia's democratic development overall.
UNDP assists the Government, while at the same time fostering the participation of civil society, the media, and the public in the fight against corruption and, for that, UNDP has undertaken activities, which are now part of a comprehensive programme.
One area where UNDP has focused its attention and will continue working is on the monitoring of corruption in the health and education spheres; two spheres which touch the everyday lives of most citizens in this country. UNDP is also committed to enhancing transparency in the electoral processes and we will continue with our activities in this direction.
Armenia has been increasingly active in the fight against corruption over the last five years, but there is still much more to be done. At the heart of determining what can be done, what would be the most effective measures, it would be very useful to conduct a deep self-assessment of what has been undertaken and achieved in the last few years, which tasks remain unfulfilled, which measures are needed to achieve them, and how the Government concretely is going to implement them.
As past of its new anti-corruption programme, UNDP is prepared to support the Government, the Parliament and the broader civil society to conduct and participate in such an assessment. This would be an important input and go hand in hand with the development of a revised anti-corruption strategy.
As the Government of Armenia undertakes to revise its Strategy and Action Plan, it is hoped that it addresses the lessons that have been learned during the implementation of the current Strategy, and that it will also address corruption at the micro level, taking a deeper look at corruption in each sector, and developing targeted measures for preventing, fighting and punishing corrupt acts.
The legislative basis is mostly in place. Now more needs to be done to implement and enforce the legislation.
UNDP is prepared to be a partner in this process: to provide expertise to the Government as relevant, to facilitate discussions between the Government and civil society, and to provide media with the skills to convey the messages to the public.
The draft Strategy should also be debated in Parliament. And the media needs to cover the discussions, to convey to the public how the process is proceeding.
I sincerely hope that our two days here will contribute to open and frank discussions on how to invigorate the fight against corruption in Armenia, and particularly how the Government, Parliament, civil society, and the media can participate in and contribute to this fight.
UNDP, with its emphasis on democratic governance, stands ready to continue contributing to Armenia's continued efforts to battle corruption in the country.
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