Director General/Executive Director
Remarks at the special event on safeguarding against corruption in the context of sporting and other major public events
Panama City, 26 November 2013
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Major public gatherings such as sporting events bring people and countries together, and are a time for joy and celebration.
Hosting the Olympic Games or the FIFA World Cup can be a great honour and an opportunity to make a mark on the world stage, leaving a lasting legacy for generations to come.
But major public events also present risks for corruption, even where well-established regulatory systems exist.
The organization of such large-scale events involves significant resources, large amounts of money and complicated logistical arrangements within very tight time frames.
Such complexity can offer opportunities for the unscrupulous to exploit.
Despite these challenges, however, holding a major public event can also provide an opportunity to demonstrate the efficacy of corruption prevention measures, and to leave a positive legacy of integrity and transparency.
The UNCAC is the sole universal, legally-binding instrument of international law on the prevention and eradication of corruption in both the public and the private sector.
The Convention also provides a comprehensive framework to mainstream anti-corruption safeguards in the high-risk environment created by the organization of a major public event.
What is needed is targeted action to help organizers identify, assess and manage the risks, consistent with established legal norms and regulations and drawing on good practices.
UNODC has therefore developed this handbook we are presenting today exactly on prevention and risk management practices in the context of major events.
The handbook features a set of practical measures designed to counter the threat of corruption and is accompanied by a detailed "Corruption Prevention Checklist", based on the relevant provisions of the UNCAC.
This checklist will enable the responsible authorities to develop a comprehensive risk mitigation strategy from the outset.
In this way organizers can confirm their preparedness and capacity to prevent, detect and respond to corruption, while ensuring the successful organization of the event.
UNODC worked closely with experts from governments, the private sector, international sports associations, intergovernmental organizations and civil society to ensure the widest possible range of expertise in developing this handbook.
We are also working with the International Olympic Committee to address a related issue, namely match-fixing and illegal betting on sports. A study on this topic will also be launched here today.
Furthermore, we are taking part in the UN Global Compact 10th Principle Sub-Working Group on "Sport Sponsoring and Sport-Related Hospitalities", which will soon publish a practical guide for companies on fighting corruption in sport sponsorship and hospitality.
A working draft of the guide will be introduced by the Global Compact at the end of this session.
I encourage Member States to make use of these resources, and to lead the way in applying the international good practices contained in the handbook.
I would also to thank the Government of the Russian Federation for its generosity in providing funding for this important project.