In a week that has seen a wide range of activities to promote International Anti-Corruption Day, ten mayors have taken the brave step of publicly signing up to official anti-corruption policies for their municipalities, affirming the principles of integrity and declaring zero tolerance for corruption.
“We applaud the mayors for their commitment in being the first to introduce full integrity systems in local government,” says UNDP’s Alessandro Fracassetti, “With this major undertaking they will not only improve the efficiency, transparency and accountability of municipal work, they will also help in preventing corruption and reducing the waste of resources needed by the people in their municipalities.”
The comprehensive anti-corruption policies signed by the mayors of Petrovec, Veles, Aerodrom, Gostivar, Strumica, Gevgelija, Kocani, Debar, Kratovo and Brvenica have been developed as part of UNDP’s project Strengthening National and Local Integrity Systems—funded by the Government of Norway and implemented in partnership with the State Commission for the Prevention of Corruption, the Ministry of Information Society and Administration, and the Association of Units of Local Self-Government.
“This is an innovative initiative with the potential to inspire and embrace many more leaders”, says Ljubinka Koraboska, the President of the State Commission for the Prevention of Corruption, “We hope and believe that it will become standard policy and practice throughout the country at all institutional levels”.
This year has also seen the introduction in the municipalities of Aerodrom and Petrovec of the first free phone-lines for citizens to report suspected cases of corruption in local government—just one of many groundbreaking initiatives being developed to support the implementation of the new anti-corruption policies.
Addressing the mayors at the signing ceremonies this week, UNDP’s Alessandro Fracassetti reminded his audience of the theme of this year’s International Anti-Corruption Day: “Act Against Corruption Today. All of us involved in development have a duty to heed this call for action and raise awareness of the ways in which corruption undermines democratic governance, hinders economic growth and fosters inequality and instability.”
As well as promoting greater integrity in local government, the ten municipalities signing anti-corruption policies this week are also helping to advance the country’s efforts to achieve EU accession. Ensuring high standards of accountability and integrity in governance is an essential part of the accession process and will further help municipalities to make the most of EU funding and other important local investment opportunities.
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