Anti-corruption experts visited Laos for UNCAC implementation review
Mr. Bounpone Sangsomsak, Vice-President of GIAA (centre) answering questions from the reviewing experts
Vientiane, 14 November 2012 - Anti-corruption experts from Luxembourg, Mongolia and UNODC Headquarters met officials fighting corruption and representatives of civil society to review the Lao PDR's implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).
As one of least-developed countries (LDCs), Lao PDR is forced to fight corruption with limited resources. The latest Corruption Perception Index released by the Transparency International in December 2011 ranked Lao PDR as a 154 th among 182 countries and regions in the world. Despite all these perceived difficulties, the country places fight against corruption among its national priorities. The Government Inspection and Anti-Corruption Authority (GIAA) of Lao PDR, which was established as early as in 1982, has been leading the country's anti-corruption efforts.
The reviewing experts discussing with an official from the Bank of the Lao PDR the country's responses to money laundering.
Lao PDR ratified the UNCAC in 2009. Since the Third Conference of the UNCAC States Parties in November 2009 in Doha decided to commence the Implementation Review, a peer review to assure States Parties' compliance to the Convention, Lao PDR has been a very active participant in the Review. Lao PDR was one of the reviewing States Parties for Croatia from 2010 to 2011. Right after completing the review of Croatia, Lao PDR started its own review by Luxembourg and Mongolia.
UNODC, through its global GLOT58 Project "Towards an effective Global Regime against corruption", has been assisting Lao PDR's active participation in the Implementation Review. GLOT58 Project has a country component for Lao PDR, which is funded by Japan, since 2011. Through the GLOT58 project UNODC experts from the Lao PDR Country Office, the Regional Centre in Bangkok and the Headquarters closely worked with the designated Lao national experts and helped them enhance their understanding of what the Convention requires and complete the Self-Assessment Checklist. Review of every State Party starts with response to the Self-Assessment Checklist by the State Party under review. Lao PDR submitted the initial response to the Checklist in March 2012. The Lao national experts once again worked on the Checklist after questions and comments from the reviewing experts on the initial response were returned.
The reviewing experts studied the Self-Assessment Checklist in advance and asked questions on specific issues concerning anti-corruption law and practices in Lao PDR.
Having identified significant issues through exchanges between the reviewing experts and the Lao experts on the Checklist, the review proceeded to the country visit by the reviewing experts. From 29 October to 2 November 2012, a group of six reviewing experts from Luxembourg, Mongolia and the UNODC Headquarters visited Vientiane. During their visit, the reviewing experts met Government authorities combating corruption - GIAA, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Justice, the Office of the Supreme People's Prosecutor, the People's Supreme Court, and the Bank of the Lao PDR - as well as professional or business organizations supporting fight against corruption - the Lao Bar Association, the Lao Journalist Association, and the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The reviewing experts were impressed with very cooperative attitudes of all the authorities and organizations they met. The experts appreciated the Government's commitment to and leadership in fight against corruption, which was proven by the national stakeholders' cooperation. A UNODC expert, who visited Laos last year to assist in completing the Self-Assessment Checklist, attested to rapid increase in understanding among Government officials of UNCAC provisions and issues arising from review of national law and practices against the Convention.
Wrapping-up discussion between the Lao national experts and the reviewing experts chaired by Mr. Singpheth Bounsavatthiphanh, Vice-President of GIAA
Following the Terms of Reference of the Implementation Review mechanism, the reviewing experts will prepare a draft country report and an executive summary of the report within a few month based on the Self-Assessment Checklist, results of the country visit and supplementary information the Government agreed to provide. The report will identify successes, good practices, challenges, observations and technical assistance needs. The report and the executive summary will be finalized upon agreement between Lao PDR and the two reviewing States Parties. The executive summary will be translated into the six UN official languages and made public. While it is the general rule to keep the review report confidential, States Parties under review, including Lao PDR, may choose to publish it.