ABU DHABI, 16 December 2019 - The world's primary anti-corruption conference began in Abu Dhabi today with a call to advance efforts to prevent and combat corruption to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
"You meet at a critical moment. As we enter the Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals, we must unite against corruption to stop the drain on resources caused by illicit financial flows," said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres in his message to the eighth session of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption.
"Corruption threatens the well-being of our societies, the future of our children and the health of our planet. It must be fought by all, for all."
The Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Yury Fedotov, emphasized corruption's role in facilitating crime, and other threats, calling corruption "the sinister enabler of some of the worst problems we face".
He said: "By preventing and curbing corruption, we can nip corruption's contribution to instability in the bud. We can stop corruption from prolonging conflict and spoiling peace. We can check illicit financial flows and return resources to where they are needed. By stopping the abuse of public trust for private gain, we can restore a much-needed trust and invest in our future."
The Convention against Corruption, with 186 parties, is the only legally binding universal anti-corruption instrument. Every two years, the States parties to the Convention meet to review the implementation of the Convention and to discuss how States can better tackle corruption.
The week-long meeting brings together more than 1,300 participants from countries around the world. Some 15 draft resolutions will be considered. Among the topics to be discussed at the eighth session are prevention, asset recovery and international cooperation, as well as the preparations for the special session of the General Assembly against corruption, to be held in 2021.
"The work we begin in Abu Dhabi will keep the international spotlight on corruption through next year and beyond, preparing for the first-ever General Assembly Special Session against corruption in 2021," said UNODC Executive Director Fedotov. "This offers a genuine chance to agree new approaches and seek innovative solutions to corruption threats facing all our countries."