Approximately 70% of countries that have completed the first cycle of the UNCAC Implementation Review Mechanism have received a recommendation to consider strengthening the implementation of Article 33 of the Convention related to the protection of reporting persons. Almost half of those countries also raised technical assistance needs to this end.

Whistleblower protection has been identified as a regional priority in all the four regional platforms created under the project.

In some countries, the in-depth legal and practical analysis of the current situation with regards to whistleblower protection revealed that the legal frameworks are often inexistent or insufficient. Regardless of the legal framework, it is the ineffective implementation of whistleblower protection regimes that poses a challenge for all involved stakeholders. This includes challenges to:

  • The handling of reports and designation of a reporting person as a whistleblower in a coherent and standardized way.
  • The application of protective measures when carrying out investigations to ensure identity protection of the whistleblower through appropriate training and the development of guidance materials.
  • The collection of corroborating evidence.
  • The collaboration or coordination between relevant agencies, in particular regulators and law enforcement agencies investigating administrative and criminal offences.
  • Dialogue with other stakeholders such as businesses, lawyers and civil society organizations.

 As such, the situation can be complex and more in-depth assistance at country levels will be required. In this regard, UNODC provides a wide range of tailored activities depending on the specific needs of the countries, such as providing legislative guidance and advice on whistleblower protection bills and regulations, developing guidance material/standards on how to develop policies and procedures related to whistleblower protection, and even in-country capacity building and assistance on the implementation of international norms, regulations and policies.

Increased importance of Whistleblower protection in the context of COVID19: the COVID-19 crisis has emphasized the importance of establishing WB protection systems.

Establishing an effective reporting system and corresponding protection mechanism has been recently recognized as one of the strongest methods to not only detect wrongdoings at an early stage but also offer the opportunity to organizations to rapidly establish mitigation measures that, for instance, prevent the reported violation from becoming a large scale corruption scandal. In the health sector, establishing such a reporting mechanism can therefore save lives.

UNODC has developed a set of activities and knowledge products in order to support countries that would wish to strengthen their whistleblower protection systems, specifically oriented towards the COVID-19 response.



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COVID-19 and Corruption

Corruption thrives in times of crisis. UNODC supports Member States to prevent and combat corruption during COVID-19 pandemic.