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Building Business Integrity in Kenya: Live Session During the UN Global Compact Summit 

Private sector business leaders and academics from Kenya yesterday joined the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to share their approaches to countering corruption with a global audience during the 20th Anniversary of the UN Global Compact Leaders’ Summit.

The live session, entitled Building Business Integrity in Kenya’, was part of a 26-hour online conversation focused on rebuilding more inclusive economies and societies to set a new course for a socially just, low-carbon and climate resilient world, where no one is left behind.

This year’s virtual UN Global Compact Leaders’ Summit marked 20 years of uniting business for a better world and brought together more than 15,000 leading voices from business, government, the United Nations, civil society and academia from around the world.

The Kenya session presented the Blue Company Project, Global Integrity Education (GIE)Project and highlighted the relevance of the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC)  in the fight against corruption for the private sector. The Head of UNODC’s Anti-Corruption  Programme in Eastern Africa, Mr. David Robinson, highlighted the impact of UNCAC on  the business activities of the average company and the obligations it imposes. Mr.  Robinson highlighted that Kenya was one of the first countries to ratify the convention and  that Kenya’s private sector is a fundamental plank for the country’s economic and social development.

“The obligations UNCAC imposes on governments include a number of articles referring to private sector prevention measures and enforcement against private sector actors involved in corruption. Where governments fulfil implementation requirements, the Convention will impact upon the conduct of businesses that operate in the country” Mr. Robinson said.

“Article 12 of the Convention makes provisions for a variety of measures that State Parties should take to prevent corruption in the private sector including: promoting cooperation between law enforcement agencies and private agencies, promoting transparency in the private sector, and promoting procedures that regulate the private sector and preventing conflict of interest,“ he added.

Ms. Jennifer Githu, a Program Assistant at UNODC ROEA, highlighted the progress of the GIE Project in Kenya.To ensure local relevance in Kenya, UNODC has formed a Working Group for the project composed of key senior business managers and academics who are working with UNODC to contextualize the modules and enrich them with case studies, local reading materials, short videos and infographics of actual integrity challenges in the private sector in the country.

The Kenyan Working Group features 12 private sector members drawn from various industries and seven academicians teaching in various universities different courses. See a message from the Working group members here (Link) . Some of the Working Group Members present included: Prof. Kiarie Mwaura, the Dean, University of Nairobi School of law, Mr. Dennis Miano, who is a lecturer at Dedan Kimathi University of Technology and also serves as the WG Team Leader and Dr. George Musumba who is also a lecturer at Dedan Kimathi University of Technology.

The three-year GIE project was launched on 1 October 2019 and is funded by the Siemens Global Integrity Initiative and is implemented by UNODC in Pakistan, Kenya and Mexico.The project brings together business and academia to develop and implement an innovative integrity education programme in companies and universities.Academics and private sector practitioners work together to contextualize modules on anti-corruption, integrity and ethics that UNODC developed under the Education for Justice (E4J) initiative.

The GIE Project is premised on the fact that social norms and values such as honesty, fairness, accountability, transparency, and integrity are critical in preventing corruption and recognizes the role of young people in building a society’s culture of integrity and that education is an important tool to reach them. UNODC is the custodian of the UNCAC which is the only global, legally binding convention on corruption and currently has over 180 jurisdictions as members, or “States Parties”. Article 13 of UNCAC calls for public education programmes to foster non-tolerance of corruption and encourages countries to include the topic in school and university curricula.

The academics and practitioners in all three countries are enriching the global modules with local case studies of actual integrity challenges and corruption risks in specific industries, including the healthcare industry. Lecturers are being trained by UNODC to teach the contextualized modules, which they will teach in final-year university courses during the following academic year. Held on 15-16 June, the high-level UNCG Summit took to “chasing the sun” to allow participants to contribute during in their respective time zones. The virtual summit brought together some 15,000 business leaders to decide how business can support countries and communities around the world to recover better, recover stronger, and recover together from three global crises – health, inequality, and climate.

 

More information

For UNGC Summit Page see: https://www.unglobalcompact.org/take-action/events/1759-un-global-compact-leaders-summit-20-years-of-uniting-business

For Video recording of UNODC ROEA session see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mlc4-2Zsl-k

Read more on UNODC’s Anti-Corruption Programme: https://www.unodc.org/easternafrica/what-we-do/anti-corruption/index.html

Read more on the Blue Company here:  https://the-bluecompany.org/