Western Balkans Jurisdictions Discuss Priorities for Effective Investigation of Corruption and Asset Recovery

12-13 October 2023, Dubrovnik, Croatia: UNODC, in cooperation with the Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative (RAI), gathered over 40 anti-corruption practitioners from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo[1] to discuss the implementation of the regional Anti-Corruption and Illicit Finance (ACIF) Roadmap.

The event aimed to explore progress made on the implementation of Goal 3 under the ACIF Roadmap, which focuses on enhancing criminal justice responses to corruption and economic crime through the creation of a regional network of specialized prosecutors, law enforcement and financial intelligence units in the Western Balkan Jurisdictions.

The participating delegations from the Western Balkan jurisdictions underlined the importance of effective international cooperation in investigating corruption and promoting effective asset recovery. They acknowledged the recently established regional component of the Global Operational Network of Anti-Corruption Law Enforcement Authorities (GlobE Network) as an innovative platform for information exchange between frontline anti-corruption law enforcement practitioners in the Western Balkans. GLOBE is a one-stop hub that provides the knowledge, resources and tools needed to track, investigate and prosecute cross-border corruption cases, including a decision tree and secure communications channels.

Participants emphasized the importance of effective implementation of measures to investigate and prosecute corruption at the local and regional levels. They shared information on their progress in implementing the Roadmap’s targets and provided a strategic overview of developments in the asset recovery area.

The Roadmap meeting also served to assess current local and regional needs and priorities and identify future priorities in terms of tackling corruption and illicit financial flows in the region. The meeting was the second of this nature this year, following a similar policy dialogue held in September to review the implementation of measures to prevent corruption in public procurement and promoting good practices in the verification of asset declarations and conflict of interest management under the ACIF Roadmap.

Endorsed in 2021, the regional ACIF Roadmap brings together Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo in a common regional platform to support the implementation of the UN Convention against Corruption.

Ongoing UNODC engagement in the Western Balkans within the framework of the ACIF Roadmap includes the development and implementation of ethics and integrity standards in law enforcement and public administration, rolling out fast action response guides on asset recovery processes and dialogue on coordination in the investigation of corruption cases as part of the new regional component of UNODC’s GlobE Network, launched in September 2023.

As a result of the meeting, jurisdictional reports on Roadmap implementation and regional summary will be developed, based on the indicators provided in the ACIF Roadmap. UNODC’s work as Secretariat of the ACIF Roadmap is embedded in the UNODC Regional Programme for South-Eastern Europe and funded by the UK Government.

[1] 1 All references to Kosovo should be understood in the context of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999).