Somalia holds landmark Anti-Corruption Conference
9 December 2017. A first of its kind, landmark conference on good governance and anti-corruption has been held in Garowe, in the State of Puntland, north eastern Somalia this week, attended by H.E. Hassan Haji, Minister of Justice of Federal Government of Somalia; H.E. Eng Abdulhakem, Vice President of Puntland; government officials from the Federal Government, the Puntland Government and other Federal Member States; as well as officials from the United Nations and from Somali civil society. The conference was facilitated by the Puntland Bureau of Good Governance and Anti-Corruption (PBGGAC), and was supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with funding from the European Union, United Kingdom, Nowway and Sweden.
In 2016, the Transparency International Index ranked Somalia as having one of highest levels of corruption worldwide. Corruption undermines human development by impeding access to public services and hindering economic development through diversions of public resources for private gain, and results in resources and opportunities being taken away from the most vulnerable.
The aim of the Garowe conference was to create the space for dialogue on policy and protocol best practice. It is one of a number of initiatives by the Federal Government of Somalia and Federal Members States to tackle corruption in the country. Such initiatives include the establishment of a ‘National Integrity System’, and the roll out of a Federal law to fight corruption which is currently under parliamentary review. The Federal government is also working together with Federal Member States to establish a National Anti-Corruption Commission, and strengthen the judiciary system and Attorney General functions.
Speaking at the conference, H.E. Hassan Haji, Minister of Justice of Federal Government of Somalia, said fighting corruption is a top priority of the Government, and expressed his appreciation for the awareness raising and education work of the PBGGAC. “This conference itself is a form of awareness raising - it is important to publicly portray corruption as an inappropriate act which violates both Islamic teaching and national laws” he added.
H.E. Eng Abdulhakem, the Vice President of Puntland, thanked the PGGACB and all who had supported the successful organization of this event. “The government will continue to put in place mechanisms to address corruption,” he said, adding, “The Bureau is making progress on corruption and we urge all stakeholders to continue to support them.”
Mr. Sayed Sahibzada, Head of UNDP Somalia Puntland Area Office, congratulated the Good Governance and Anti-Corruption Bureau for successfully organizing the conference. “By tackling corruption, we are moving towards providing essential services needed by the citizens to achieve a decent life,” he said.
As a next step participants agreed to hold a further National Conference to continue the exchange of ideas and dialogue on corruption, and to move towards adopting the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).
Musa Duale Aden, Support to Institutions Project, UNDP Somalia. E: email@example.com
Keelin FitzGerald, Communications Specialist, UNDP Somalia. E: firstname.lastname@example.org