2 October 2007- (Vienna) - With Portugal's ratification of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) on Friday 28 September, 100 UN Member States have now agreed to put into practice the world's first legally binding international anti-corruption instrument.
The head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Antonio Maria Costa, hailed the fast pace of accession. "The fact that, in less than two years, more than half of all countries in the world have committed themselves to implement this landmark Convention shows that governments are getting serious about tackling corruption", said Mr Costa.
The UN Convention against Corruption, brokered by UNODC, entered into force in December 2005. It includes measures to prevent corruption, make corruption a crime, strengthen anti-corruption law enforcement and international cooperation, and help States recover stolen assets.
"There are signs that the tide is turning against corruption", said Mr Costa. Governments are being elected on the basis of anti-corruption programmes. There is increased transparency in the banking sector, and a stronger emphasis on integrity in the public sector. In September 2007, the World Bank and UNODC launched a Stolen Asset Recovery (StAR) Initiative to help developing countries recover assets stolen by corrupt leaders, help invest them in effective development programs, and eliminate safe havens.
States that are Parties to the UN anti-corruption Convention will meet in Bali, Indonesia, from 28 January to 1 February 2008. Mr. Costa urged them to build on the anti-corruption momentum: "Let's make sure that we live up to the world's rising expectations to fight corruption".