Quito (Ecuador), 24 February 2020 - The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) convened civil society organisations (CSOs) from across South America and Mexico in Quito on 20 February to report on work undertaken and design initiatives for collaboration to fast-track the United Nations Convention against Corruption's (UNCAC) implementation in the region.
Thirty-one participants from ten countries used the opportunity to report on their projects across three anti-corruption priority areas related to integrity systems, asset declaration and conflict of interest, liability of legal persons and whistle-blower protection, and brainstorm on cross-border CSO initiatives in the future.
The CSO roundtable was a follow-up meeting to the Regional Conference in May 2019 that took place in Cartagena, Colombia. In Cartagena, stakeholders from government, with inputs from civil society and the private sector, discussed and focused on four thematical areas and agreed on 25 proposed actions to move the Fast-tracking project forward.
For its part, the CSO roundtable in Quito aimed at strengthening the networking of civil society organisations in the Latin American region, sharing knowledge of the CSOs across three of the priority themes from the Cartagena meeting, and served as a bridge towards supporting civil society's anti-corruption efforts in 2020 and beyond. The majority of speakers and content of the roundtable was CSO- led, and the space created allowed for a full and frank discussion on often challenging topics.
The newly appointed Secretary of the Ecuadorian Anti-Corruption Secretariat, Jose De la Gasca, praised the attendance of so many dynamic and diversified civil society participants, acknowledging that they were the "soldiers against corruption". He emphasized that his Government was working to purify operations and broker transparency, and that it would coordinate with UNODC on implementing the "Cartagena" initiatives and others in the future.
The roundtable concluded with sessions on the way forward in the region, reflecting on 13 priorities and initiatives where CSOs could play a stronger role in the future. The roundtable was organised jointly by UNODC Civil Society Team and the Country Offices of Peru and Ecuador.This event is part of the fast- tracking project undertaken by UNODC with the support of the U.K. prosperity fund.