The following is an unofficial translation of the speech of HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani inaugurating the 6th Global Forum for Fighting Corruption and Safeguarding of Integrity held at the Sheraton Doha Hotel yesterday.
“Ladies and gentlemen,
“It is a pleasure to welcome you all in Doha to the 6th Global Forum for Fighting Corruption and Safeguarding of Integrity.
Delegates attending the conference in Doha yesterday
“Undoubtedly the high level of participation in such a forum reflects the global concern for the topics raised for discussion at the forum and the importance of the role the previous global forums have played at the national and international levels in fighting corruption.
“These forums have achieved a lot since the first global forum was held in Washington in 1999 despite several challenges.
“These forums embody the importance of international co-operation to combat such a dangerous phenomenon whose scope has extended worldwide, as it affects the rich, poor, developed and underdeveloped nations.
“Ladies and gentlemen,
“The topics you will discuss and which are tabled on the forum’s agenda deal with several issues related to fighting corruption inter-alia for example separation of powers, independence of judiciary, enhancing culture of integrity and safeguarding it, partnership between the public and private sectors in building institutions for fighting corruption.
“Undoubtedly such an agenda reveals the various aspects of the problem and its complexity, since corruption has several dimensions - namely social, economic, moral, educational, cultural, religious and political.
“Thus fighting corruption is not confined to one side, but it is an integrated mechanism which should surround all those elements and find appropriate solutions to all of them. Otherwise our efforts will remain insufficient to deal effectively with this phenomenon.
“Once the political, social and economic systems of the states fail to provide political rights, social welfare and care and the adequate standard of generous living to their citizens, any talk about fighting corruption would be a sort of luxury which would find deaf ears.
“This is an alarming cycle. Corruption in itself hinders development as it impairs criteria upon which institutions are based and substitutes integrity and efficiency with nepotism, replaces public interest upon which public projects are based with private interests that lead to adopting decisions harming public interest.
“The growing risk of corruption at the international and local levels of the United Nations has led to establishing the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) in 2003 with a view to co-ordinating international efforts related to fighting corruption and consolidating the related national systems.
“We in Qatar have adopted several important steps to respond to the international endeavours in this respect and we initiated to endorse the aforesaid UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), and adopted lots of steps to put such a convention into operation.
“First of these steps was the establishment of the National Committee for Integrity and Transparency (NCIT). We have provided it with all potentials which enable it to funcion with complete objectivity and independence.
“The State of Qatar has occupied an advanced position among nations in fighting corruption as per the 2007 and 2008 classification of the Transparency International (TI) and has come in the first position at the Arab level as well”.
Underscoring the religious, cultural and moral aspects of the problem of corruption, the Emir said, “Unless we act to build the open-minded and productive man armed with religious and moral values and perceived the duties of citizenship and its rights, our efforts would remain short of realising its cherished targets and the corruption fighting process would remain a mere criminal operation linked to the ability and force of the judiciary and the prosecution to arrest the culprits.
“It is the nature of the Qatari society and its adherence to the moral values and principles of Islam which reassures the taboo and sanctity of the public money or fund and the unexploitation of public job for personal interests, the matter which was among the key factors that made Qatar occupy such an advanced position as per the TI classification”.
“This is in addition to the role of the educational institutions in upbringing the coming generations with these values, traditions and principles”.
The Emir voiced confidence that the results and recommendations the forum would adopt would help bring about appropriate solutions to such a scourge.
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