The Stability Pact Anti-corruption Initiative (SPAI) was adopted in Sarajevo in February 2000 to address one of the most serious threats to the recovery and development of South East European countries. Corruption, as the problem of the day, is highly detrimental to the stability of democratic institutions and considerably undermines the business climate, discourages foreign direct investments and hampers economic growth. The Initiative takes a multidisciplinary approach to fighting corruption, incorporating issues such as the adoption of international legal instruments, promotion of good governance, strengthening the rule of law, promotion of transparency and integrity in business operations and development of an active civil society. It also provides all partners in the anti-corruption field with a general framework for coordination, optimization of effort and permanent dialogue with the donor community.
Along these lines, at its September 2003 meeting in Sarajevo, the SPAI Steering Group approved the transfer of the Secretariat to the region, in order to promote regional ownership of SPAI and to further enhance local capacities to lead the fight against corruption in SEE. Initially, SPAI Secretariat’s functions were performed by the Council of Europe and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The SPAI Regional Secretariat Liaison Office (SPAI RSLO) as legal entity was established by the Agreement signed between Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Office of the Special Coordinator of the Stability Pact for SEE on September 15, 2003, receiving the status of a diplomatic mission in the hosting country. Six months later, the Secretariat became operational and it is currently the only center in SEE devoted solely to curb corruption at a regional level.
The establishment of SPAI RSLO represented a concrete and visible demonstration of the commitment of the regional states to cooperate and coordinate their fight against corruption in SEE. It was the first step towards the regional ownership of the Anti-corruption Initiative. The crucial step in achieving this goal was made with the signature of the Memorandum of Understanding by the member states on April 13, 2007 in Zagreb. By signing of MoU the signatory countries ensured the financial sustainability of the Sarajevo based Secretariat by providing certain annual grants and decided for the first time to appoint a Chairperson from the region. It was the final step towards a full regional ownership and leadership of the Anti-corruption Initiative, thus demonstrating the involvement of the SEE countries in the fight against corruption.
Since October 9, 2007, through a decision of the member countries, approved at the 11th Steering Group Meeting in Podgorica, the Stability Pact Anti-corruption Initiative was renamed as Regional Anti-corruption Initiative (RAI), in line with the transformation of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe into Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), as the Regional Secretariat Liaison Office became the Secretariat.