Speech of UNDP Resident Representative Louisa Vinton: Observance of International Anti-Corruption Day in Tetovo Municipality

Dec 5, 2013

Dear Madame Mayor
Ms. Aliu
Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends

It’s a real pleasure to represent the United Nations Development Programme here today.

This is my first visit to Tetovo, but I know that UNDP has been active here for a long time and has an exceptional partner in the person of Mayor Arifi. So I am confident that this will be just the first of many visits.

We are here today to welcome the commitment by the municipality of Tetovo to redouble its efforts in the fight against corruption, and to congratulate the Mayor for signing an agreement to introduce the integrity system for municipalities that UNDP has developed in partnership with the State Anti-Corruption Commission.

Nine municipalities have already embraced this integrity system, and Tetovo is the first of a second wave of fifteen municipalities to adopt this set of tools, which are designed to enhance transparency, enforce ethical behaviour and engage the media, community organizations and ordinary citizens in the fight against corruption.

This effort has priority for UNDP because, simply put, corruption is the thief of economic and social development. It steals the opportunities of ordinary people to progress and to prosper.

Just to illustrate the costs, let me cite a few facts:

Globally, an estimated one trillion dollars are paid in bribes every year;
  • Corruption can cost a single country up to 17 percent of its GDP; 
  • In Africa, corruption has sucked nearly 2 trillion dollars out of national economies over the past 40 years.
  • Around the world, corruption raises the cost of water infrastructure by an estimated 40 percent.
These figures are not mere abstractions. Corruption does real harm to ordinary people, to their families and their communities.
As our Secretary-General has said, “The cost of corruption is measured not just in the billions of dollars of squandered or stolen Government resources, but most poignantly in the absence of the hospitals, schools, clean water, roads and bridges that might have been built with that money.”

This is why the theme for International Anti-Corruption Day, which we mark here in Tetovo today and next Monday in Skopje, is: “Zero Corruption, 100-percent Development”

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Convention against Corruption, which is currently adhered to by 168 countries, including this country. The Convention requires states to ensure that their public services are subject to safeguards that promote efficiency, transparency and recruitment based on merit; and that public servants adhere to strict codes of conduct.

UNDP has worked with the State Anti-Corruption Commission for many years to translate these principles into a clear set of rules and procedures specifically designed for municipalities.

Establishing the integrity of municipal authorities is a clear stepping stone towards EU accession, and necessarily also towards the funding and other investment opportunities that go hand-in-hand with European integration.

But responsibility does not lie exclusively in the hands of government officials. Citizens must raise their voices as well, which is why a crucial part of the integrity system involves using Internet tools, including a dedicated website that we are presenting today, to seek input and action from the local community.

UNDP salutes Tetovo for undertaking this important commitment and for setting a good example for other municipalities in taking clear steps to ensure the most efficient and equitable use of public resources.

We look forward to working with other municipalities to expand the family of integrity champions.

Thank you for your attention.