Final Communiqué of the Ministerial Conference on strengthening the Rule of Law and the fight Against Corruption in Africa, from 2 to 4 June 2015 in Dakar (Senegal)

Jun 4, 2015

The Ministerial Conference on "Strengthening the rule of law and the fight against corruption in Africa"  held in Dakar from 2 to 4 June 2015, under high patronage of H.E. Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal.

The Conference was jointly organized by the Government of the Republic of Senegal, the State of Qatar and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 18 African delegations at ministerial and experts level (Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Chad, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, Tunisia) as well as Qatar participated in this Conference. Participants were also drawn from international organizations, including the United Nations, private sector and civil society.

The Ministers of Justice and the Conference participants conducted an in-depth analysis of the situation of frameworks and institutions  designed  to guarantee the rule of law and fight against corruption in their respective countries. The Ministerial Conference:

Aware of our respective commitments to the principles of the rule of law and Anti-corruption embedded in international, regional and national frameworks and the UN Charter. 
Recognize that the rule of law is critical to maintaining peace and stability, upholding human rights, protecting civil liberties, and  ensuring sustainable development. The rule of law underpins economic recovery and development.

Considering that corruption and illicit financial flows have become a plague that negatively impact the living conditions of the population and the functioning of public services
Reaffirming its support to the African Common Position on the post-2015 Development Goals on Good governance, Democracy and the Rule of Law that reflects the aspirations of the African people in the development and consolidation of good governance;
Recognize the need for political will  to effect  the necessary policy changes,  as reflected in the theme of the conference, on strengthening the rule of law and the fight against corruption we resolved to:
The Rule of law:
The Conference reaffirmed adherence to the principles and values of the rule of law, as a prerequisite of good governance.
The Conference reaffirmed the commitment to collaborate at the regional and global levels, to address together the challenges detrimental to the efficiency and strengthening the rule of law.
The Conference undertook the endeavor to create space for extensive consultations with civil society and to pursue regional and international partnerships to develop and promote joint initiatives to strengthen the rule of law.
Now therefore, recognizing the individual and collective responsibility to strengthen the rule of law, justice and fairness, the Conference resolved to:
Strengthen and promote effective and independent judicial institutions that build the trust between governments and their people, to ensure greater legitimacy of the institutions;
Collaborate in the fight against transnational threats, including against the proliferation and illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons that undermine the national and regional security of our states. To this end, States shall ensure that the national strategies and programs include measures to prevent and fight against the illicit proliferation of small arms and light weapons. In doing so, States shall ensure compliance with the principles and rules of human rights and to fulfill their international obligations in this area;
Work to ensure that criminal justice and security institutions are accessible, that legal aid representation are institutionalized and operational through the development of appropriate legal frameworks and implementation mechanisms; ensure that the courts and police provide effective justice and security for the population, particularly vulnerable groups and people living in extreme poverty;
Strengthen the capacity of state institutions, justice and law enforcement professionals and promote the values of integrity, transparency and leadership in line with the interests of the peoples; make the necessary efforts to ensure equal access to justice and seek partnerships at bilateral, regional and global levels to promote and strengthen the rule of law. Ensure that the existing judicial institutions are properly equipped and functioning appropriately to better meet the needs of citizens and address emerging challenges;
Strengthen the performance of prosecution services, police, criminal courts and other institutions that are responsible for security and surveillance, including institutions for prevention and fight against corruption;
Take measures and adequate legal and institutional safeguards to protect girls and women against gender based violence and ensure their access to justice. To this end, States continue to develop their institutional responsiveness on gender, to review existing policies in order to better integrate the gender dimension, to continue the capacity-building efforts to strengthen the legal protection of women and girls;
Strengthen measures to ensure greater independence of the judiciary and transparency of judicial institutions. In this regard, the States recognize the important need for continued strengthening of institutional capacity and the professional training of magistrates (judges),  prosecutors, lawyers and police personnel to increase their skills and sustainably improve national capacities. The States shall make the necessary efforts to increase the moral awareness in society, training of paralegals and develop awareness of justice programs.

Fight against corruption:
The Conference recognized that many efforts are made to fight against corruption in the public, private sectors and civil society. Also noted that political considerations, ethnic, tribal and other interests often relegate the fight against corruption, justice and equity.  
The Conference agreed to explore a new approach and identify concrete actions to positively reposition the fight against corruption, to create a just and equitable society that adheres to the respect for the rule of law and fundamental human rights principles.
In furtherance therefore, recognizing the individual and collective responsibility to strengthen the fight against corruption the Conference resolved to:
Enhance and strengthen the capacity of institutions responsible for the prevention, detection and repression of corruption; to develop enforcement mechanisms and clear and transparent criminalization, in accordance with regional and international standards;
Decentralize the fight against corruption at the national and sub-national levels and enhance the responsibilities and capabilities in this area by enhancing skills and providing the necessary and appropriate financial resources to the fight against corruption within their jurisdiction;
Reforming and simplifying a transparent budgeting system, in collaboration with private sector representatives and stakeholders, tax procedures and systems in areas where corruption is considered widespread, including tax charges, municipal taxes, customs duties, fines and police offenses;
Work on international issues of corruption, money laundering, capital flight, illicit financial flows and related economic crimes with the development of exploration activities and exploitation of natural resources.
Enhance national and regional collaboration and coordination mechanisms to improve intelligence sharing amongst relevant stakeholders in the fight against corruption and asset recovery.
The Conference welcomes Qatar’s initiative to fund the establishment of a regional training center in Dakar-Senegal for rule of law and anticorruption practitioners in Africa.  
Taking into account all these parameters, States undertake to promote and build a culture of integrity, justice and fairness at all levels of society to ensure their citizens the necessary space to express their optimal capacities and contribute to relevant changes to their economic growth.
The Conference agreed to strengthen the partnership with UNDP and other UN agencies to promote and strengthen the rule of law and the fight against corruption at the national and regional level for the sustainable development of the participating countries and the eradication of poverty. And to develop a regional capacity building programme.
The Conference expressed its deep gratitude to the Government and people of Senegal for the warm reception and hospitality accorded to participants and for the support and the necessary facilities available to them which largely contributed to the success of the Conference.
The Participants are also grateful for the significant support of the State of Qatar and UNDP which led to the success of the meeting and for their commitment to support joint initiatives and programs to be implemented by States.

Written in Dakar, Senegal 4 June, 2015

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