HH the Deputy Amir Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Thani met Monday at the Sheraton Hotel in Doha with Chairman of Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC) Dr Fadli Zon, President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union Gabriela Barron, and their excellencies parliamentarians on the occasion of their participation in the 7th Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption Conference that is hosted by Doha from December 9 to December 10.
The conference coincided with award ceremony for the winners of HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani's International Anti-Corruption Excellence Award in Rwandan capital Kigali today.
Addressing the opening of the Conference, HE Speaker of Shura Council Ahmed bin Abdullah bin Zaid Al Mahmoud welcomed all the participants, noting the State of Qatar's hosting of this conference which coincides with the International Anti-Corruption Day, which also coincides with the announcement of the winners of HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani's International Anti-Corruption Excellence Award in the Rwandan capital Kigali today.
HE affirmed that Qatar's hosting of the Conference is a confirmation of the determination and sincere efforts made by the State of Qatar under the leadership of HH the Amir in order to combat corruption, given the devastating effects of this phenomenon on countries and their peoples.
HE pointed out that corruption is a major obstacle to sustainable development, and that if it remains outside the control, freedoms will not be allowed to expand and justice will not be allowed to prevail, pointing that many countries today are witnessing a popular mobility that calls for reform and the fight against corruption, and that these calls are still expanding day by day, which gives this conference great importance.
In his speech, HE Shura Council's Speaker noting the pioneering contribution of the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC) since its establishment in 2002, as it plays a vital role in the global campaign against corruption by establishing a global alliance of parliamentarians who work to combat corruption and avoid its economic and political impacts as well as its social cost.
In this context, His Excellency stressed that the State of Qatar strongly supports all international efforts to combat corruption, and stands with all its capabilities with GOPAC and its programs aimed at eliminating corruption or reducing its effects.
HE added that supporting the organization comes in line with convictions in the State of Qatar that parliaments, with their oversight and legislative powers, can play a fundamental role in the fight against corruption, as they are the institutions that make governments accountable to their people, stressing that since parliamentarians represent peoples, they are required to be role models in the performance of their duties and in their moral values for their societies as well as to adhere to the highest standards of integrity.
HE also explained that humanity has realized throughout the ages that corruption is pure evil and the scourge of every age, as with its existence, civilizations fall and disappear and in by its absence civilizations flourish and countries grow.
In this regard, he warned that states, governments and regional and international organizations have sensed the seriousness of corruption and have called for uniting efforts to develop plans and strategies to combat all its forms and types, by establishing mechanisms to prevent it.
From this standpoint, HE said, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) intent on strengthening and supporting the efforts of parliaments and parliamentarians through cooperation and coordination with the United Nations bodies concerned with fighting corruption.
HE Speaker Al Mahmoud stressed in his speech that the State of Qatar has taken advanced steps to combat corruption, including contribution to the international efforts adopted by the United Nations, noting in this regard the country's accession to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, which is considered one of the most important international conventions that have been agreed on at the global level, given that corruption is a scourge that can only be eliminated through international cooperation. Qatar has also signed the Arab Convention against Corruption, and has been observing the International Day against Corruption, which falls on December 9 every year, in order to raise awareness of the issue of corruption, he added.
HE continued to say that due to the importance of national institutions in the efforts to combat corruption, HH the Amir issued a decision to establish an Administrative Control and Transparency Authority directly affiliated with His Highness, as a body specialized in enhancing integrity with the aim of achieving control and integrity of the public work and preventing the occurrence of crimes affecting public money or the public work. A number of legislations and administrative measures that focus more on prevention and contribute to achieving the highest indicators of integrity and transparency have been also issued. HE also referred to the role played by the Audit Bureau.
In cooperation with the United Nations, Qatar established the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Centre (ROLACC), HE said, adding that the Centre organized a number of regional and international courses to build capacities in the area of anti-corruption and bribery.
He noted that with the agreement of the center, and with the support of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the initiative of Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani International Anti-Corruption Excellence Award was launched to coincide with the celebrations of the International Anti-Corruption Day.
His Excellency the Speaker of the Shura Council pointed out that this award was launched by the State of Qatar as an appreciation and honor for organizations, individuals and groups who make valuable contributions in preventing and combating corruption, noting that the first edition of the award was organized in 2016 in Vienna, Austria, the second in in 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland, the third in 2018 in Kuala Lumpur, the Kingdom of Malaysia, while the fourth edition will be organized today in Kigali, the Republic of Rwanda, at 04:00 p.m. Doha time.
His Excellency also stressed in his speech that the State of Qatar has assumed an advanced place in the regional environment in its war against corruption, referring to the Arab Monetary Fund which indicated in its last report that Qatar ranked first among the Arab States in combating administrative corruption, according to the Competitiveness of Arab Economies Report.
He emphasized that the competitiveness index reflects the role of the State in the justice of the courts, the policies it exercises towards citizens and the extent of their effectiveness to address favoritism, as well as the role of the judiciary in addressing administrative corruption and bribery, cleansing the business sector of corruption and providing a high degree of safety and trust to foreign companies.
At the end of his speech, Speaker of Shura Council extended his thanks and appreciation to HE the Chairman of Global Organisation of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC) Dr Fadli Zon for his wise management of the organization and to the Organisation's General Secretariat for its efforts in preparing for this conference, wishing it to achieve the desired success. HE also thanked and appreciated all participants for their efforts in the field of fighting corruption, expressing aspiration for their contributions to the deliberations of this conference with ideas and plans to confront corruption and its repercussions, hoping that they will have a good stay in their country Qatar and find the time to see the features of the renaissance witnessed by the State of Qatar in all fields.
For his part, HE the Chairman of Global Organisation of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC) Dr Fadli Zon stressed in his speech the importance of cooperation and partnership between all organizations that tackle corruption in the world, pointing out that corruption represents additional threats to the rule of law and societies, reduces the value of local organizations, increases social instability, harms the countries' legitimacy and affects the reform campaigns.
Dr. Fadli Zon stated that corruption also hinders equality, reduces confidence in local organizations, constitutes a roadblock to of sustainable development, squanders the opportunities that people benefit from to improve their lives and affects prosperity and security.
He also affirmed the need to face this challenge, increase accountability and spread integrity to build strong institutions that address corruption.
He expressed his belief that achieving integrity and ensuring the success of follow-up measures to combat corruption need several things, including: stakeholder contributions, political will and the desire to fight corruption through asset control and accountability, and through social participation in all reform processes, which will only happen through the participation of worker union federations, civil society, religious scholars, and others.
HE Dr. Fadli Zoun emphasised the role of parliamentarians in combating corruption, achieving integrity, adhering to the codes of conduct and creating more strict rules to combat corruption, noting that public integrity comes as a strategic and national response to fighting corruption and makes inclusive economies and the public sector more effective and productive.
The GOPAC Chairman called on global leaders to play the required moral role and help parliamentarians in their campaigns to achieve integrity, highlighting the role that his organization has played in fighting corruption since its establishment by its participation in a number of networks to fight corruption and its work in 62 regions in the world to implement law and good governance, issue a number of publications and develop a special guidebook that will guide parliamentarians on how to work with each other and with partners to achieve sustainable development.
For her part, President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Gabriela Cuevas Barron enumerated, in her speech, the harmful effects of corruption that spreads in society, threatens human well-being, happiness and access to education and basic and public services, impedes people's lives and prevents them from exercising their national and human rights.
She added that parliamentarians have a great responsibility to reduce corruption and find legal solutions to end it in all its forms and at all levels.
Barron emphasized the role of GOPAC in facing challenges and problems, praising Qatar's role in hosting this conference and the role of HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani in combating corruption around the world at all levels. She also stressed the importance of integrity in achieving values and principles and the world we want to leave for future generations.
She explained that the IPU is concerned with the goals of sustainable development and changing the world during the next ten years as well as achieving the sustainable development goals, adding that the world needs to change policies and institutions, and to do this and reach a real good result it should build public confidence, effective institutions, conduct inclusive processes and accelerate progress in this area.
The world needs more heroes in parliaments who link combating corruption and achieving integrity, she said, stressing that this path is long, but she also believes in the political will, wisdom of leadership and the strength of parliaments and parliamentarians around the world.
The IPU President indicated that there are 46 parliamentarians from all over the world fully committed to ending corruption forever, calling on the rest of the world's parliaments to have a clear commitment to make corruption's eradication a reality through an effective society, explaining that this comes by spreading confidence between citizens, achieving sustainable development goals and spreading awareness and by parliaments' interference through legislation, budget allocation and monitoring.
She also noted the importance of the role of parliaments in signing international agreements and providing solutions for citizens, and the role of parliaments in translating those international agreements into reality, transforming them into local laws and allocating budgets for these priorities and holding governments accountable to the mechanisms for implementing these agreements.
The is a need to innovate, take steps towards the future, set new programs and goals to reach effective and positive accountability, give more interpretations, apply transparency, educate people about the importance of parliaments, and work on more comprehensive policies to win people's trust and translate commitments into local realities that improve people's lives, the IPU President stated.
She called for ending corruption forever and opening a new page to develop new policies on the world, which stimulates the political will to build better societies and to create a better world.