While The Gambia is a party to the United Nations Convention against Corruption since 2015, its legal framework has yet to conform to international standards. In line with the new government's commitment to ensure adherence to treaty obligations, the Ministry of Justice has been working on a draft Anti-Corruption Bill, providing for the establishment of an Anti-Corruption Commission. Moreover, the Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure has planned to develop a Freedom of Information Bill.
Further to requests for assistance formulated by these Ministries, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is committed to support the Gambian efforts to draft and adopt anti-corruption and freedom of information legislation in line with international standards and best practices. From 7 to 9 August 2017, the Ministry of Justice, in partnership with UNODC, convened national stakeholders to review the draft Anti-Corruption Bill. This workshop aimed to support the Gambian effort to improve its legislative anti-corruption framework, including the establishment of a specialised, independent, and efficient Anti-Corruption Commission. During these three days of intensive discussions, about 45 Gambian and international participants, including representatives of the anti-corruption institutions in Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, had the opportunity to: a) share experiences and lessons learned from other countries within the region; b) identify strengths and weaknesses of the current draft Anti-Corruption Bill; c) suggest possible improvements to the draft Anti-Corruption Bill. Following extensive deliberations, the participants recommended a set of revisions and additions to the draft Anti-Corruption Bill. From 10 to 11 August 2017, the Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure, in partnership with UNODC and ARTICLE 19, convened national stakeholders to discuss a Freedom of Information Bill for The Gambia. The meeting brought together about 35 representatives from the Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure, the Ministry of Justice, the Office of the President, the Gambia Press Union, Civil Society and the media. Furthermore, international experts took part in the proceedings, notably representatives from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the Liberian Independent Information Commission. The participants assessed experiences and lessons learned from other countries from within and outside the region, and analysed strengths and weaknesses of freedom of information legislation. Following two days of intensive discussions, the participants adopted a set of recommendations to guide the drafting of the Freedom of Information Bill, and encouraged the Government of The Gambia to promote further broad-based consultations on the Bill, informed by these principles. This activity was funded by the Global Anti-Corruption Programme through to the support of the Untied States. For further details, please read the outcome documents of these workshops, available below.