From grassroots demands to institutional reforms in Middle East and North Africa
Transparency International (TI) and its chapter the Lebanese Transparency Association (LTA) brought together leading politicians, civil society and academics to discuss regional reforms and anti-corruption initiatives in North Africa and the Middle East.
Entitled From grassroots demands to institutional reforms the conference reviewed the changes sweeping across the region with speakers from TI’s chapters in Lebanon, Morocco and Palestine, as well as TI’s representative in Egypt. The countries were part of the three-year TI programme to measure anti-corruption efforts and how to build effective institutions in Egypt and the Arab world.
“Governments across the regions should listen to the grassroots demands for reform. The national integrity system studies that TI has done should become a flagship for each of the Arab countries because they show the way forward,” said Gerard Zovighian, Member of the TI Board and Chairman of LTA.
Since mid-2008 TI with its chapters have conducted reviews of the key institutions in Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and Palestine as part of its National Integrity System (NIS) studies. These studies look at specific activities by governments and civil society that contribute to integrity, transparency and accountability in a society and make recommendations for strengthening efforts to fight corruption.
Dr. Azmi Shoaibi, Anti-Corruption Commissioner at AMAN, TI’s chapter in Palestine, presented a general overview on corruption in the MENA countries. “The ruling parties control different vital sectors in addition to the security forces in order to paralyze the constitutional institutions that guarantee a democratic process,” he said.
Dany Haddad, Senior Researcher at LTA, underlined the economic factors that lead to the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, stating that many countries in the MENA region adopted the reforms suggested by the international organisations and dropped those raised by their local communities. Many of the MENA countries did not apply any political reforms in parallel with their economical growth.
"Abdelatif Ngadi, Member of the National Council of Transparency Morocco, concluded that carrying out a study of the National Integrity System is not a sufficient tool in fighting corruption due to the ineffectiveness of the judiciary bodies and the lack of access to information and whistleblowers' legislations that is necessary to guarantee the principles of transparency and accountability. "
The conference, which is part of TI’s programme in the Middle East and North Africa, followed a two-day workshop in Cairo in March to discuss institution building in Egypt.
Transparency International is the global civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption.
Note to Editors:
The conference was moderated by Dr. Paul Salem, Director of Carnegie Middle East Center, with the participation of Ghassan Moukheiber, Chairman of ARPAC (Arab Region Parliamentarian Against Corruption), Gerard Zovighian, Member of Transparency International’s Board of Directors and Chairman of the Lebanese Transparency Association, Arwa Hassan, Senior Programme Coordinator, Middle East and North Africa at Transparency International, Omnia Nabil Hussien, Programme Coordinator, Middle East and North Africa at Transparency International, Dr. Azmi Shoaibi, Anti-Corruption Commissioner at AMAN - Palestine, Dr. Abdelatif Ngadi, Member of the National Council of Transparency Morocco, and Mr. Dany Haddad, Senior Researcher at the Lebanese Transparency Association.
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