Promoting business integrity: another step in Ukraine’s anti-corruption reform

Corruption remains a serious obstacle for economic growth, social cohesion, and political stability in Ukraine. While anti-corruption legislation has improved, its enforcement is rather slow and priority is given to prevention and combatting corruption involving public officials. So far, much less attention has been given to corruption involving business. Awareness about business integrity needs to be enhanced both in the public and in the private sectors.

biznes-rukopozhatie-sdelka-2789Kyiv, 25-27 January 2017 – Together with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the Business Ombudsman of Ukraine, UNDP brought together over 100 senior practitioners from 30 countries for a 2-day regional expert seminar on Business Integrity in Eastern Europe and Central Asia followed by a 1-day roundtable on Business Integrity in Ukraine.

During the event, the OECD Anti-Corruption Network for Eastern Europe and Central Asia (ACN) presented its study Business Integrity in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, with its recommendations for the region. This includes mechanisms to report corruption by companies and the role of business ombudsman offices, as well as promoting compliance programmes in state-owned enterprises, multi-national enterprises, and small and medium size enterprises.

"Pursuit of integrity in the business sector should become an integral part of the country's plan not only to fight corruption, but to enhance competitiveness and economic growth. This also indicates that by its nature, these efforts would not be successful without creating a strong coalition of government regulators, business associations, and international partners who could provide knowledge," emphasised UNDP Country Director Janthomas Hiemstra in his opening remarks.

Anti-corruption expert Borys Malyshev presented a draft typical anti-corruption compliance programme for state-owned enterprises, based on the national legislation and smart international practices. It contains a set of rules, standards, and procedures for identifying, combating, and preventing corruption in activities of a company. A draft typical compliance programme was developed with UNDP support on the request of the National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP), which is to use it as a template for state-owned enterprises to independently develop anti-corruption compliance programmes.

Back-to-back to the regional seminar, a Ukrainian round table was organised to discuss how to promote the implementation of the business integrity recommendations in the country. Ukrainian participants and their international counterparts took stock of business integrity efforts in the country, focusing namely on efforts of the NACP to integrate the concept of business integrity in the National Anti-Corruption Strategy.