Doha deal creates corruption monitoring mechanism

Doha COSP November 2009 (Photo by Jayan Orma)13 November 2009 - After a week of intense negotiations, States have agreed to a mechanism to monitor implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption. According to UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa: "This agreement will not end corruption, but it will enable us to measure and fight it." The President of the Conference, Ali Al-Marri, Attorney General of Qatar, said: "The sword of justice just got sharper."

The legally binding Convention obliges 142 States to prevent and criminalize corruption, promote international cooperation, recover stolen assets, and improve technical assistance and information exchange.

Under the new mechanism, all States will be monitored every five years to see how they are living up to their obligations. Findings, based on self-assessments and peer reviews by experts, will be compiled in country review reports. The executive summary of these reports will be made public. "From now on, States will be judged by the actions that they take against corruption, not the promises they make," said Mr. Costa.

The country reports will identify gaps in national anti-corruption laws and practices. Strengths and weaknesses will also be revealed by a self-assessment checklist based on new software developed by UNODC. This analysis will enable more effective delivery of technical assistance.

"Since corruption hurts us all, we must all unite to fight it," said Mr. Costa who described the Convention against Corruption as "the people's Convention". He praised Member States for recognizing that "the promotion of a culture of integrity and the prevention of corruption are the responsibilities of all sectors of society". This theme was echoed throughout the week by parliamentarians, the media, civil society, the private sector and international organizations.

Businesses were urged to align their anti-corruption practices with the Convention. "CEOs: come around the table, and pledge not to cheat - and ensure that everyone is playing by the same rules. Governments have done it, now it's your turn," said Mr. Costa.