Community efforts to eliminate corruption the focus of UN-backed radio series
KANDAHAR - To eliminate corruption from Afghanistan, every individual must play an active role, said community leaders featured in a UN-backed radio series that aired in the southern region during the past several weeks.
The radio series, supported by the Kandahar regional office of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), was designed to encourage transparency initiatives and help better define the responsibilities of communities, individuals and government officials in the fight against corruption.
The programmes, which included a social media component to increase audience participation, were broadcast across Afghanistan’s southern region by local media outlets in Kandahar, Uruzgan, Zabul and Helmand, reaching an audience estimated at more than one million people.
Khyber Sultani, the head of Afghanistan’s anti-corruption office for the southern region, participated in one of the broadcasts to outline how his office is addressing corruption through dedicated telephone lines, social media and complaint boxes so people can make their voices heard.
“Our department receives complaints from a variety of sources, and we are working to address them,” he said.
According to independent research, Afghanistan is one of the most corrupt countries in the world, affecting every segment of Afghan society, including business practices, government services, rule of law and justice. A UNAMA report, released earlier this year, found that Afghan authorities have made progress in the fight against corruption, but indicated that challenges remain.
“For the sake of the country’s future, corruption in Afghanistan must be addressed and eliminated,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, in launching the report called ‘Afghanistan’s Fight Against Corruption: The Other Battlefield.’
“The United Nations welcomes the progress already made, and fully supports the government’s ongoing efforts to fight corruption in the interest of ending impunity, ensuring accountability and transparency, and restoring integrity to the management of public services, finances and natural resources,” the UN envoy said.
UNAMA has been supporting radio and television production in the southern region, and in other areas of the country, through a combination of technical assistance and outreach events to engage communities and raise awareness about different issues that impact the lives of Afghans.
UNAMA is mandated to support the Afghan Government and the people of Afghanistan as a political mission that provides 'good offices' among other key services. 'Good offices' are diplomatic steps UN takes publicly and in private, drawing on its independence, impartiality and integrity, to prevent international disputes from arising, escalating or spreading.
UNAMA also promotes coherent development support by the international community; assists the process of peace and reconciliation; monitors and promotes human rights and the protection of civilians in armed conflict; promotes good governance; and encourages regional cooperation.