Corruption prevention to foster SME development: UNIDO joins forces with UNODC

The joint Project on “Corruption Prevention to Foster Small and Medium Sized Enterprise Development”, aims at developing a service concept and related tools to support SMEs in defending themselves against both public and private sector corruption.

This initiative carried out in cooperation with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) not only takes into account the ever-growing importance of the private sector in the global fight against corrupt practices, but is also in line with other developments at the international stage, such as the recent inclusion of an anti-corruption principle in the UN Global Compact and the entering into force of the United Nations Convention against Corruption.

In March 2006, an Expert Group Meeting was organized in Vienna, with a view of discussing the problems smaller businesses face in a generally corrupt environment, as well as possible measures to support them. The view is that SMEs are first to be most negatively impacted by corruption and that joint action and collective efforts have promising views in that field. Based on the obtained findings, the first volume of a joint publication on the topic was published in late 2007.

In a second phase, UNIDO and UNODC jointly conducted a series of project development and assessment missions to Croatia, Indonesia and Malawi with the aim of obtaining more in-depth knowledge concerning the problems small companies face when dealing with corruption in the field. Now, as these missions have been completed, Volume II of the above-mentioned publication is in preparation, focusing on tools and measures to support SMEs in their fight against corruption.

At the very moment, both Organizations are developing a joint “service concept” to support smaller businesses in that respect, and are looking for potential pilot countries to carry out such project.