9 November 2009 - Over 1,000 delegates from 125 countries are meeting this week in Doha to review implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption. The delegates represent countries that have signed the United Nations anti-corruption treaty. This is the third session of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, which came into force in December 2005.
The session was officially opened today by the Attorney General of Qatar, Dr. Ali Al-Marri, in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Tamin Bin Hamad Al-Thani, Heir Apparent of the State of Qatar. Dr. Al-Marri described the session as "the inter-governmental forum par excellence to fight corruption".
In his speech to the forum, UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa called corruption "the cause and consequence" of the financial crisis. He criticized Governments for having allowed the system to get out of control, and financiers and corporate tycoons for turning their dealings into a free-for-all game.
He urged all States to recognize a silver lining to the crisis by using the Convention as "a blueprint for restoring confidence in markets, businesses, and governments".
Mr. Costa stressed that "corruption is preventable, not a fact of life, or part of business." The Convention contains preventive measures that apply to the public and private sectors. Their implementation is being reviewed in Doha.
One of the main issues under discussion at Doha is the creation of a mechanism to review implementation of the treaty. "At the moment, corruption is in the eye of the beholder - there is no way to measure it", said Mr. Costa.
A review mechanism would, for the first time, enable States to see how effectively they are fighting corruption and identify where more progress is needed. The intention is to create a mechanism that is transparent, non-intrusive, inclusive and fair. "It must be a technical intergovernmental review to measure progress, not a game of name and shame", said Mr. Costa. The head of UNODC urged Member States to "seal the deal" on the review mechanism by the conclusion of the meeting on Friday.
The third session of the Conference of the States Parties is also being attended by representatives of civil society, international organizations, parliaments, the media and the private sector.