UNODC supports the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption in countries along the Silk Road Economic Belt

On 18-20 May 2022 UNODC together with the Anti-Corruption Agency and the Prosecutor General’s Office of Uzbekistan organized the event on “Fostering sustainable development by supporting the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption in countries along the Silk Road Economic Belt” in Samarkand.

This was the first regional workshop that brought together over 60 anti-corruption and investment expert practitioners from 13 countries Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, China, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Montenegro, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Uzbekistan to share practices and experiences in preventing and combating corruption in international investment projects.

The Uzbekistan side was represented by experts from Judiciary, Prosecutor General’s Office, the Anti-Corruption Agency, Ministry of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Investment and Foreign Trade, Center for Economic Research and Reform under the President Administration, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Representative for the Protection of the Rights and Legal Interests of Entrepreneurs.

The regional workshop focused on the practical priorities of the countries of Central Asia and South Caucasus and included main topics devoted to the aspects of preventing and investigating corruption offenses in the preparation and implementation of investment projects. 

Ms. Ashita Mittal, UNODC Regional Representative to Central Asia, thanked the Government of Uzbekistan for hosting this meeting in Samarkand and noted: “Corruption undermines development, security, and the rights of everyone. It erodes public trust in systems and institutions. The cost of corruption has been estimated at some 2.6 trillion dollars, or 5 per cent of global GDP. Lack of transparency and accountability in institutions denies people equal access to justice as well as to health, protection, and other services. Just as it breaks down resilience and exposes people to hardship, corruption also enables criminals, traffickers, and terrorists. As the custodian of the UN Convention against Corruption, UNODC supports Member States to develop strong laws, policies, and capacities against corruption.”

Mr. A.E. Burxanov, Director of the Anti-Corruption Agency of Uzbekistan, expressed gratitude to UNODC as co-organizers and good partners and emphasized: “In order to ensure high rates of economic growth, Uzbekistan is taking measures to attract 120 billion dollars’ worth of foreign investment over the next five years, including 70 billion dollars of foreign investment. To achieve these goals, unprecedented reforms and measures are being implemented in all spheres. Another important issue is the conduct of public procurement in full compliance with the principles of openness, transparency, and competition. Globalization and the establishment of multilateral cooperation with other countries require constant attention to these issues and increase the level of anti-corruption efforts in this area”

Mr. B. B. Valiyev, First Deputy-Prosecutor General of Uzbekistan, marked: “This year, during the logical course of reforms, the Development Strategy of New Uzbekistan for 2022-2026 was adopted, consisting of seven priorities developed based on the principle "From Strategy to Action - Development Strategy". The goal of our strategy is to implement the idea of ​​"For the dignity of man" in all areas and directions of our state and society”.

Mr. Ouyang Baiqing, Deputy Director-General of the International Cooperation Department of the National Commission of Supervision of China delivered his welcoming remarks, he commended the workshop organization and highlighted the important work China has been doing in the area of countering and preventing corruption including in the context of UNCAC implementation and the progress of “Clean Silk Road Initiative”.

Mr. Vladimir Kozin, UNODC ROCA Regional Anti-Corruption Advisor and Ms. Yao Deng, Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer UNODC/CEB Vienna briefed the participants about the importance and goals of the project. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular its Goal 16, provides answers to address the scourge of corruption. As the only legally binding instrument in tackling corruption, the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) has a far-reaching scope. The mandatory character of many of its provisions makes it a unique tool for developing a comprehensive response to this global problem.

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), launched by the Chinese government in 2013, has become one of the largest international cooperation platforms for economic development and international investments. To enhance synergies between promoting sustainable development through the implementation of UNCAC and mitigating corruption risks in relation to international investment projects under BRI, UNODC has launched a project entitled "Fostering sustainable development by supporting the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption in countries along the Silk Road Economic Belt." This project aims to establish and maintain a network of anti-corruption practitioners to promote international cooperation in preventing and combatting corruption in international investment projects by, inter alia, enhancing the exchange of information, good practices and knowledge and strengthening capacities of relevant States.

The network was officially launched during the pre-event of the ninth session of the Conference of States Parties to UNCAC from 11 to 12 December 2021 in Sharm-El-Sheikh. Up to date, 16 countries have joined the network, including Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, Georgia, Greece, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Montenegro, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkey and Uzbekistan.

The participants highlighted the high quality of the event and the importance to continue expert discussions and information sharing in this area. 

At the end of the meeting the parties agreed on the following recommendations:  

  1. Consider ensuring the permanent functioning of the Network of Anti-Corruption Practitioners of countries along the Silk Road Economic Belt, including the issue of creation of the Network's governing bodies;
  2. Prepare an analytical report on the results of the regional workshop, including identified examples of good practices;
  3. Continue expert discussions and the development of practical research on anti-corruption issues in implementing investment projects;
  4. Pay increased attention to the development of tools necessary for more effective countering of corruption in the implementation of investment projects, both at the national level and at the level of international organizations;
  5. Consider the possibility of training and capacity building activities with the involvement of international organizations;
  6. Continue work on establishing an online database of best practices for countering corruption in the implementation of investment projects.

The project is financed by UN DESA.