Bringing governments and civil society together to better fight corruption in Asia

The role of civil society in the fight against corruption does not only consist in denouncing acts of corruption, but is increasingly becoming a joint effort to identify concrete ways to combat it together with national governments and the private sector.

CSO representatives working with government officials

From 24 to 27 February 2014, UNODC together with the UNCAC Coalition hosted a multi-stakeholder workshop for civil society organisations and government officials on the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and its review mechanism. The workshop, largely funded by the UK Department for International Development (DfID), took place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and was attended by some 60 participants and experts, representing 14 countries across Asia.

The event brought together a range of anti-corruption practitioners from countries such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Mr. Karunanithy Subbiah from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission noted that "the workshop has clarified a number of issues in the review process and most definitely 'broke the ice' between governments and CSOs. UNODC's explanations has created an atmosphere of trust between the two parties"

Building on a recommendation from an independent evaluation of previous related activities this workshop brought together for the first time civil society and governmental experts. It created a platform for participants to discuss, share, and learn from the collective wealth of experience and expertise on anti-corruption matters. Discussions and practical exercises focussed on the methodology of country reviews under UNCAC, including the various tools and steps to participate constructively in the UNCAC review process.

"The workshop was complete in all aspect. It gave an insight into the working of UNCAC and clearly explained all the chapters and articles along with the role of country (government focal points) and civil society", noted Ms. Anuradha Singhai from the Indo-European Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

Participants also learnt on how to approach the media and the private sector in their respective countries to contribute to implementation of the Convention at local, national, regional and global levels.

Mr. Vincent Lazatin, representing the UNCAC Coalition, an umbrella organization of over 350 members in over 100 countries, believes that this "multi-stakeholder workshop on the UNCAC and its review mechanism in Kuala Lumpur has proven that this is the right approach.  The interactions witnessed between members of civil society with their respective government counterparts are very encouraging and future multi-stakeholder workshops will reinforce the notion that constructive dialog is the default mode of engagement."

The UN Convention against Corruption is the only legally binding universal anti-corruption instrument and its Article 13 states that civil society should play an active role in combating corruption. To date, over 175 CSOs from across the world have been trained under the UNODC Civil Society Programme and equipped with the necessary tools to work constructively with governments and the private sector on UNCAC implementation. 

Participants, experts and trainers

Further information:

Regional Office of Southeast Asia and Pacific

The UNCAC Coalition