Regional Conference Advances Implementation of United Nations Convention Against Corruption in Central Asia

On November 2, 2023, during  the 20th anniversary of UNCAC, the heads and experts of the anti-corruption bodies of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan gatheredin Tashkent for the Conference on Fast Tracking the Implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption organized by UNODC ROCA. The intense negotiations led to the launch of the Regional Platform for Fast-Tracking the UNCAC Implementation in Central Asia.

The conference commencedwith opening remarks from Ashita Mittal, UNODC Regional Representative, and was facilitated by Vladimir Kozin, Regional Anti-Corruption Adviser, UNODC ROCA. Tim Steele, Chief of the Field Support Section, CEB/UNODC, highlighted the advantages of a regional approach to promote the implementation of the UNCAC.

Success stories from other regions were also shared, including the Platform for South America and Mexico presented by Ing. Carlos Alberto Riofrío González, the Comptroller General of Ecuador, and the Platform for the Western Balkans presented by Rovena Pregja, Director of the Directorate of Programs and Projects in Anti-Corruption, Ministry of Justice, Albania.

In the opening session Vladimir Kozin presented the Platform, its thematic areas, goals, objectives, functions, and expected outcomes. The discussion that followed was attended by the high-level representatives of the region's anti-corruption agencies: Mr. Askhat Zhumagaliuly, Chairman of the Anti-Corruption Agency of Kazakhstan, Ms. Umutkan Konkubaeva, Deputy General Prosecutor of Kyrgyzstan, Mr. Sulaimon Sultonzoda, Director of the Agency for State Financial Control and Combating Corruption of Tajikistan, Mr. Begench Gurbangulyev, Deputy General Prosecutor of Turkmenistan, Mr. Akmal Burkhanov, Director of the Anti-Corruption Agency of Uzbekistan, and Ms. Svetlana Ortiqova, Deputy General Prosecutor of Uzbekistan. All speakers highly appreciated the idea of creating the Platform, expressed their readiness to be actively involved in its work and shared their views on what the Platform should be dedicated to and how its activities should be organized.

During the second - closed - session, representatives of regional anti-corruption agencies and UNODC experts Alexey Konov and Pavel Sashcheko facilitated the discussion and the drafting of the fundamental documents of the Platform: Basic Principles of the Regional Platform Organization and Functioning, Roadmap 2024-2026, and Action Plan 2024-2025.

It was agreed that the Platform would focus on several thematic areas:

Furthermore, significant attention will be given to the sharing of best practices in specific areas offered by Member States, such as integrity checks or countering the corrupt misuse of cryptocurrency and other virtual assets.

A range of activities is planned within each thematic area,  including managing conflicts of interest, promoting standards of conduct, asset disclosure, illicit enrichment and beneficial ownership, corporate liability for corruption, empowering victims of corruption, asset recovery, among others.

The Platform will deliver various products, such as analytical materials and model laws, online courses and educational programs, a supporting website and specific IT solutions. Strong emphasis will be placed on practical relevance for the participating countries and consideration of the regional context.

The Platform also aims to enhance interaction and coordination both among the Member Countries and among international donors working in the region. Steps toward achieving this were initiated during the Сonference, with ten bilateral meetings conducted on the sidelines.

The Platform will be strategically managed by the Member Countries, with key decisions to be taken during the Annual Conference. The role of the Platform Secretariat will be performed by the UNODC.

The drafted documents were unanimously adopted by the representatives of the Member States. The Platform was officially launched the following day at the beginning of the Tashkent Anti-Corruption Forum co-organized by UNODC together with the Anti-Corruption Agency of Uzbekistan, INL, Regional Dialogue NGO and the GIZ.

During the Anti-Corruption Forum UNODC also organized an expert workshop on corruption proving of legislation and a panel on technical assistance in the area of anti-corruption in the region, where the representatives of Switzerland, the United States, the OECD Anti-Corruption Network, the Council of Europe, UNDP, IMF, the World Bank and the GIZ participated.