Mapping the Route to Doha

UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa

Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption
Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, 1 February 2008

Mr. Chairman,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to thank the Government of Indonesia for hosting us in beautiful Bali. You have set the bar very high for the Government of Qatar in 2009. My appreciation also for the Secretariat that has worked hard in preparing and supporting this meeting. As you know, I expressed my frustration with the limited success of the First Session in Amman. You have worked very hard since then. This meeting is a prototype for how future Sessions should be run.

What about the substance?

Three steps forward  

In my opening remarks I listed three main tasks for the week: self-assessment, implementation review, and technical assistance. Was the outcome of this meeting worth the time, effort, and money that were invested?

I think it is fair to say that we took three steps forward, even if they are not great leaps.    

First, as a result of the self-assessment, there is greater understanding of capacities and needs. This allows for more focused implementation. The methodology was tested and proven successful. And you have asked us to expand this approach to cover all measures of the Convention and aim for a 100% response rate. This would give us a solid basis of evidence on which to make a credible review of implementation.

Second, where do we stand with the review mechanism? From a blank canvas two years ago we now have a sketch. While I am disappointed that the mechanism has not been finalized, at least there is agreement on its guiding principles, its terms of reference are taking shape, there are a growing number of eager test pilots, and the working group has its marching orders. You can count on UNODC's support - indeed rest assured that we will continue to push for the activation of the review mechanism.  

Third, this session has showcased the range of technical assistance that is available and focused attention on where it is most urgently needed. I appreciate the support that has been expressed for the technical assistance provided by UNODC. By having an even more active presence on the ground, we can better meet your needs, and ensure that our work builds on real-life experiences. 

I am encouraged by your request to national, regional and international anti-corruption donors to use the UN anti-corruption Convention as a framework for co-ordinating donor assistance. We must work harder to make coordination a reality in the field.

Inspiration can be drawn from the StAR Initiative where UNODC and the World Bank are working in tandem. I am impressed by the level of interest and the number of countries that want to take part in the StAR Initiative. In the next twelve months, UNODC and the World Bank will focus on a hand-full of cases (maximum half a dozen) in order to put the Initiative to the test, and develop experience that can be applied more broadly. 

I would like to mirror this initiative for other anti-corruption measures like procurement and tendering, or judicial integrity. I welcome proposals for partnership.

Turning up the heat

Ladies and Gentlemen, as I said from the outset this was more than an inter-governmental meeting. The special events held here this week show that the anti-corruption alliance is strong, the number of stakeholders is growing, as is their shared sense of responsibility. What is the evidence?

·       mainstreaming of anti-corruption and criminal justice into bilateral and multilateral assistance programmes.

·       growing acceptance that the UN anti-corruption Convention is the best common framework for the effective provision of technical assistance.

·       a commitment from parliamentarians to strengthen their oversight and monitoring of government operations, particularly the implementation of UNCAC. 

·       empowered journalists from developing countries who are increasing transparency and accountability through reporting on corruption cases. I would like to say a special thanks to CNN's Jim Clancy for the energy and support that he is lending to our cause.

·       artists for integrity, through their songs, books and films are making an impact far beyond this conference centre.  

·       we have our first UNODC Goodwill Ambassador for Integrity - the lovely and talented actress Famke Janssen. 

·       and a commitment has been made to align business principles with the values of the Convention. By the Third Session there should be a mechanism in place to review companies' compliance. In Doha, I would like us to hear from some chief executives about what steps they have taken, including measures to address "facilitation payments" and protect whistle blowers.

Building integrity - a daily responsibility for everyone

Ladies and Gentlemen,

You have breathed new life into the UN Convention against Corruption. But this precious instrument needs more than bi-annual infusions to stay alive. Building integrity is a daily responsibility for everyone. Let us not wait two more years to take further steps. The road to Doha starts right here.

When you return home, I urge you to take steps to strengthen domestic legislation and institutions so that when we meet in Qatar you can report on major progress.

As a priority, I urge you to give anti-corruption agencies the resources and independence they need to get on with their work.

To make sure that the Third Session in 2009 is a success, I urge you to use inter-sessional meetings and expert consultations to improve the self-assessment process and finalize the review mechanism.

To the journalists, parliamentarians, and NGOs that have so actively taken part this week, I urge you to be vigilant and hold the public and private sector accountable to high standards - and spread the word that corruption is not a necessary evil.

To colleagues in international organizations, I call on you to intensify efforts to align financial and other public integrity rules to the principles of the Convention.

Let us widen the anti-corruption alliance even further by enlisting teachers, from primary to business schools, to teach integrity so that the next generation will automatically say "no" to corruption.  

Let us reach out to sporting clubs and associations to support their efforts to ensure that competitions are decided by fair play rather than match fixing or drugs.    

Let us share best practices and build up intellectual resources through a knowledge consortium.

I hope that when we next meet, in Doha, there will be 150 States Parties, more involvement from the private sector, and the same kind of enthusiastic participation from civil society, the media and parliamentarians that we witnessed here in Nusa Dua.

Colleagues, Bali has invigorated some of us, and exhausted others.  

Let us keep up the fight. I wish you a save journey home and continued success in your important work.