Statement of Helena Fraser at Consultation Meeting on the draft of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy of Uzbekistan for 2021-2025 with the participation of international community representatives
“Corruption threatens the well-being of our societies, the future of our children and the health of our planet. It must be fought by all, for all."
As the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has stated: “Corruption threatens the well-being of our societies, the future of our children and the health of our planet. It must be fought by all, for all."
We all know that corruption drains resources from people who need them, undermines trust in institutions, and exacerbates inequalities. It is a scourge which threatens the rule of law, leads to violations of human rights, distorts markets, erodes the quality of life and allows organized crime, terrorism and other threats to human security to flourish.
On behalf of the UN Country Team I welcome the new draft strategy. I am also glad to see the direct link of the strategy with the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly goal 16 on Peace, justice and strong institutions.
This reflects the fact that the UN Country Team in Uzbekistan, in consultation with the Government of Uzbekistan, has established one of its three strategic priorities as: All people in Uzbekistan, especially most vulnerable, demand and benefit from enhanced accountable transparent, inclusive, and gender responsive governance systems and rule of law institutions for a life free from discrimination and violence. A key component of our commitment is also to work to strengthen public oversight and civil society.
Allow me to share three comments:
First. The strategy is ambitious. It will require resources, a detailed action plan, and full integration across relevant related initiatives and institutions for coherent and successful implementation.
Second. Fighting corruption and enhancing public participation and civic engagement are two sides of the same coin: Ensuring no one is left behind on the way to achieving sustainable and prosperous Uzbekistan. In connection to this, we welcome the establishment of Public Councils on corruption, being launched with support from UN entities.
Third. As the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) confirms, press freedom and the right to information and data and statistics have a direct relevance to fighting corruption. SDG Goal 16, specifically target 10, envisages the protection of the right to access information, and safety of journalists. Freedom of information is closely linked to a culture of openness. Open and inclusive societies are a prerequisite of sustainable development.
Clearly, it is a long and difficult road from a draft strategy to a society, a government, a private sector free of corruption. But I very much commend the expression of political will, the consultative approach by the Anti-Corruption Agency, the strong partnership with the UN, UNDP and UNODC in particular.
The UN Country Team in Uzbekistan is committed to continue its support the Government of Uzbekistan, the Anti-corruption agency and civil society on this important effort to make a difference in the lives of the people of Uzbekistan.