A EUR 15 million initiative aimed at curbing corruption in Iraq and bolstering transparency and public accountability has been launched today in partnership between the European Union Delegation to Iraq, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and Iraqi federal and Kurdistan state institutions.

The project, entitled Support to justice initiatives curbing corruption and promoting commercial dispute resolution, builds on Iraq’s national efforts to improve transparency and accountability across state institutions and supports Iraq to deliver to its national and international commitments with regard to the fight against corruption. It aims to improve the country’s legislative and strategic framework for combatting corruption, supports the justice sector to better process corruption offences, and fosters the development of commercial courts and arbitration mechanisms. It will also empower Iraqi civil society to take a more active role.

Overall, this project enhances Iraq’s compliance with the United Nations Convention against Corruption, ratified in 2008, and contributes to creating a more conducive environment for attracting economic investments. Critically, the project leads to an improved citizen-state relationship, transparency and public awareness.

Activities under the project include notably support to Iraqi institutions to revise national anti-corruption laws, promoting their alignment with international standards and the provision of specialized on-demand training and mentorship opportunities for corruption investigators and integrity judges.

The project builds on a close collaboration with a number of federal and KRI state institutions, including the Higher Judicial Council and Judicial Council of the Kurdistan Region; Federal and Regional Commissions of Integrity; Council of Representatives and House of Representatives of Kurdistan Region; Federal and Regional Prime Minister Offices, as well as Iraqi civil society organizations.

The Ambassador of the European Union to Iraq, H.E. Martin Huth, stresses that ‘’the fight against corruption requires a joint and united effort, from the Iraqi government, state institutions, and an ever vigilant and watchful Iraqi society. With the launch of this important initiative, the EU offers critical support to Iraqi state institutions mandated in the integrity domain. This project helps Iraq deliver on its own national and international commitments and respond to the clear expectations of Iraqi citizens to rid Iraq of the plague of corruption. I look forward to seeing a continued strong political will, national ownership and joint steering of this initiative for the benefit of Iraq and its people.”

“The Iraqi people have taken to the streets to demand action against corruption” says Resident Representative of UNDP Iraq, Zena Ali Ahmad. Their voices are louder than ever and should no longer be ignored. By strengthening transparency and public accountability through robust anti-corruption reforms, we aim to increase access to the rule of law and restore the public’s confidence in the institutions that serve them.

“We are extremely grateful to our longstanding partner the EU, who has taken a bold commitment to supporting one of the most complex and challenging undertakings in Iraq, and to our partners across the Iraqi and Kurdish Region state institutions for entrusting UNDP to lead this effort,” she adds.

More information can be found on the project fact sheet here.

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