Director General/Executive Director
Remarks at the opening of the Sixth Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption
St. Petersburg, 2 November 2015
Your Excellency Mr. Ivanov,
Your Excellency Ms. Maytin Justiani,
Ladies and gentlemen,
We meet here in St. Petersburg just one month after the world, united in common purpose, agreed a universal, integrated and transformative development agenda for the next 15 years.
Agenda 2030 and its 17 goals provide a detailed blueprint that will guide us as we seek to end global poverty.
Goal 16 recognizes that access to justice and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions are essential to attaining sustainable development outcomes.
Crucially, goal 16 is cross-cutting in its scope and impact.
Achieving its targets to promote the rule of law; reduce corruption and bribery; enhance effective recovery of stolen assets; and tackle organized crime, trafficking, terrorism and violence, is fundamental to realizing the whole of the post-2015 development agenda.
Corruption begets still more corruption, and creates a breeding ground for violence, conflict and radicalization.
Corruption abets criminals in exploiting poverty and disadvantage, and enables organized crime to flourish at the expense of all our societies.
Here, at the Sixth Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, we have the obligation and the opportunity to collectively take action to achieve the targets set forth by Agenda 2030.
By working towards the full and effective implementation of the Convention, we can help build accountable and transparent institutions that provide public services without discrimination, enabling people to make the most of opportunities, realize their potential and live healthy and productive lives .
We can help ensure public resources go where they are supposed to go.
The Convention provides a solid platform for engaging the private sector as a key partner in the fight against corruption and in global action to achieve sustainable development outcomes.
Through effective implementation of the Convention, we can help create positive business environments that support investment and job creation, and promote equal access to economic opportunity.
Furthermore, implementation of the Convention fosters the international cooperation we need to tackle the transnational challenges posed by corruption and organized crime, and achieve effective and expeditious asset recovery.
Such cooperative action against corruption can contribute to efforts to end human trafficking and migrant smuggling, reduce illicit flows of drugs, and build capacity to prevent violence, as well as combat terrorism and violent extremism.
These are ambitious aspirations to be sure.
But we are not starting from scratch.
The UN Convention against Corruption, the only legally binding global instrument to fight corruption, enjoys near-universal ratification with 177 Parties after just a decade since it came into force.
It remains the sole UN convention uniquely strengthened with a robust peer review mechanism, encouraging open dialogue on implementation challenges and the identification of technical assistance needs.
As we come to the conclusion of the first cycle, we are happy to report that the results achieved by the Mechanism for the Review of Implementation of the Convention have exceeded expectations.
As of today, I am proud to announce that more than 120 States parties have completed the executive summaries of their country reviews, with many more being well on the way of doing so.
We have received more than 160 completed self-assessment checklists and have conducted nearly 150 country visits and joint meetings.
More importantly, over the years, we have received numerous reports from States Parties on concrete steps they have taken to advance the implementation of the Convention as a result of their participation in the review mechanism.
The Mechanism has also sparked renewed momentum for ratification and accession to the Convention, leading to the high number of Parties we have today.
The wealth of information resulting from the country reviews under the Mechanism is available on the TRACK web portal, which has seen over 14,000 visits by over 10,000 unique visitors in 2015 alone.
This conference will take important decisions on the Implementation Review Mechanism, including on the conclusion and follow-up on the first review cycle, as well as the modalities of the second review cycle.
Your decisions will address issues including the self-assessment checklist, procedures and timelines, funding and institutional arrangements.
Draft resolutions before this conference focus on critical challenges, including:
- the need for partnership between the public and private sectors in preventing and fighting corruption;
- enhancing the use of civil and administrative proceedings;
- asset recovery;
- the use of information technology;
- and addressing the specific needs of small island developing states.
A number of high-level side events are being held, including on:
- combating corruption to stop wildlife and forest crime,
- as well as the illicit trafficking and sale of stolen cultural property;
- engaging the business sector and young people in the fight against corruption;
- countering corruption and bribery in support of Agenda 2030;
- advancing stolen asset recovery and the development of effective anti-corruption strategies;
- protecting whistle-blowers;
- and fighting corruption through open data and through education, along with a host of other important topics.
As guardian of the Convention, UNODC stands ready to support you in your efforts, and to translate the conclusions of this Conference into action on the ground.
We have a strong and well-established foundation. We need to use it.
As Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said, we are the first generation that can end extreme poverty, inequality and injustice.
We have the week before us. Let us use this time well, and do our part.
Allow me to conclude by thanking the Government of the Russian Federation for hosting this meeting in beautiful St. Petersburg.
I wish the President of the Sixth Session and the distinguished delegates all the best in their deliberations.