Prevention and Fight against Corruption in International Investments projects

1-3 June 2022, Belgrade, Serbia: Corruption poses significant threats to countries around the world. It weakens institutions, erodes trust and threatens economic growth, including undermining fair competition and discouraging investment. Due to their vast financial scale, complex delivery requirements, and involvement of international players, international investment projects are constantly exposed to higher corruption risks. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular its Goal 16, includes commitments to fight corruption, increase transparency, tackle illicit financial flows and improve access to information. Additionally, , the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) as the only legally binding instrument in tackling corruption 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, including in the context of international investment. UNODC, as the guardian of UNCAC, is dedicated to supporting States parties in their effective implementation of this Convention.

In order to enhance synergies between promoting sustainable development through the implementation of UNCAC and mitigating corruption risks in relation to international investment projects under Belt and Road Initiative, 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 the capacities of relevant States. The proposed 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, Egypt. 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.

As part of the project, UNODC in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice of Serbia, organized a regional workshop for practitioners from countries participating in this Network. The workshop was attended by more than 40 practitioners from 12 countries along the Silk Road Economic Belt. The aim of the workshop was primarily focused on increasing the capacities of practitioners in preventing and combating corruption in international investment projects. Participants had the opportunity to learn various approaches to preventing corruption in international investment projects, such as corruption risk assessment and corruption proofing of legislation. The workshop also covered issues regarding the detection and investigation of corruption in such projects, including the use of forensic audit and analytics techniques.

The participants expressed strong interest in tackling corruption in international investment projects and invited UNODC to continue supporting capacity building in this area.

This activity contributes to SDG 16, particularly Target 16.5 on substantially reducing corruption and bribery.