Empowering CSOs to better fight corruption through the UNCAC  

40 NGO representatives and the training team

A fourth training to strengthen civil society capacity on the United Nation Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) and its review mechanism took place from 18-21 June 2013 in Dakar, Senegal. During the four day training, 40 CSO representatives from 34 countries across the world attended training sessions aiming at enhancing their knowledge and skills on the UNCAC and its review mechanism.

Experts from UNODC, Transparency International and the UNCAC Coalition provided participants with the requisite substantive expertise on UNCAC provisions in order for them to contribute to the review alongside their governments. Through interactive exercises in small groups, CSO representatives also developed their capacity to prepare self-assessment and country reports. Above all, they realized the importance of sharing experiences, good practices and cooperating with all actors involved in the fight against corruption, beyond sectoral and national boundaries.

As Ms. Bintou Djibo, the UN Resident Coordinator in Senegal, said in her opening statement, "crimes involving corruption such as bribery, embezzlement, misappropriation of property, illicit enrichment, to cite only a few, can no longer be excused as 'cultural' behavior." She also called on participants "to engage with and help their governments to raise awareness and educate the public about the costs of corruption, as the fight against corruption takes place at any level."

A participant during a group exercise

In addition, CSOs have been equipped on different approaches to implement a communication strategy on UNCAC and increase their outreach with the private sector. In the coming months, an opportunity to apply for small grants, supported by the Austrian Development Agency, will be made available to CSOs with the aim of developing innovative ways to approach small and medium size businesses on anti-corruption activities.

The UNCAC 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. With two trainings at the International Anti-Corruption Academy in Laxenburg, one in Johannesburg and this last one in Dakar, 146 NGOS have now been trained and equipped with the necessary tools to foster the implementation of the UNCAC and the review mechanism of their own country.