- January 27, 2021
- Posted by: Dejana Grbic-Velagic
- Category: RAI News
Sarajevo, Vienna, January 27, 2021 – With today’s kick-off event, the Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative (RAI) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) have officially launched the new anti-corruption programme in Southeast Europe (SEE), entitled Southeast Europe – Together Against Corruption (SEE-TAC). The Regional Programme is funded by Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC), represented by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA).
The event was attended by over 80 representatives of the public anti-corruption authorities, ministries, civil society organisations and the private sector representatives from the SEE region and beyond. Thirteen speakers from the implementing organisations, the donor and beneficiary institutions have reflected on the importance of the new Regional Programme which aims to strengthen the resilience of SEE societies to corruption.
This programme will focus on Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia, with participation of Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia. The three-year programme will operate with a total budget of 1,400,000 euros.
Michaela Flenner, Programme Manager of the Austrian Development Agency for the SEE Region said “ADA is happy to see that the idea of programmatic partnership between the RAI and the UNODC continues through the SEE-TAC Programme”.
Under the auspices of the SEE-TAC Programme, 25 public institutions, 40 business representatives and 175 civil society representatives, with the UNCAC Coalition and the WB6 Chamber Investment Forum as special partners, will be working together on the implementation of a wide range of activities.
Virginia de Abajo Marques, UNODC Anti-corruption Advisor underlined the essence of the SEE-TAC revolving around the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), the only legally binding universal anti-corruption instrument, and in particular its articles 12 and 13, which recognise the role of the private sector and civil society in combating corruption.
SEE-TAC, as a comprehensive cross-sectoral action which brings together practitioners and activists from the SEE in strengthening their capacity to fight and prevent corruption, was presented by Aneta Arnaudovska, RAI’ Senior Anti-corruption Advisor, Dejana Grbic-Velagic, RAI’s Chief Programme and Communications Officer and Viktorija Nesterovaite, UNODC Programme Officer.
The Programme pairs the operationalisation of the International Treaty on Exchange of Data for the Verification of Asset Declarations in and beyond the region with development of institutional capacities of the public bodies for implementation of the corruption-prevention mechanisms, with the focus on the most corruption-prone sectors.
The SEE-TAC Programme will follow an innovative framework to support beneficiaries in preventing corruption. More specifically, to achieve an effective implementation of UNCAC in SEE, the SEE-TAC programme will first build capacities of non-state actors alongside their governments on the Convention and, then, will support its implementation at grassroot, national and regional levels, as well as bring the voices from the region to the international UNCAC fora.
Furthermore, the innovative regional approach is reflected in reaching an agreement on the International Treaty on Exchange of Data for the Verification of Asset Declarations, during the preceding programme, also funded by ADA, and strongly supported by the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs.
In relation to this Treaty, Biljana Ivanovska, President of the SCPC North Macedonia said: “We show our deepest support to the new SEE-TAC Programme, and we are especially looking forward to signing of the International Treaty on Exchange of Data for Verification of Asset Declarations. In addition, underlining SCPS’s commitment to sign the Treaty, Ms. Ivanovska encouraged other jurisdictions in the SEE, in addition to Montenegro and Serbia, to accede to the Treaty and to join North Macedonia in a united regional cooperation in achieving concrete results in the anti-corruption efforts.
The joint approach embodied in the SEE-TAC Programme will also be exercised through joint advocacy and awareness-raising initiatives spearheaded by CSOs in cooperation with the public and the private sector and numerous capacity-building occasions on UNCAC, its review mechanism, corruption-prevention mechanisms and other anti-corruption topics.
* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.