PANAMA CITY/VIENNA, 27 November - A global community of anti-corruption experts is being created through the peer review mechanism set up by the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). The mechanism is also helping to desensitize and depoliticize the issue of corruption, enabling a frank and constructive global dialogue among regions and legal systems.
States agreed to a mechanism to monitor the Convention's implementation at the Third Session in Doha, Qatar, in 2009. The mechanism, which is the first of its kind for such a UN Convention, has already led to measurable results. UNODC has trained more than 1,400 anti-corruption practitioners from across the globe and provided assistance to 35 States to draft or amend their legislation.
As the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Yury Fedotov said in his address to the COSP: "In its brief life, now entering only its fourth year, the mechanism has produced tangible results: it functions as a platform for an honest and respectful dialogue among governments, and between governments and stakeholders in eliminating corruption."
The mechanism has a truly global reach and the country reports have become a benchmark against which progress can be measured. It is helping build up a global picture of efforts against corruption. Another of its strengths is its inclusiveness which enables least developed countries and developing countries to participate on an equal footing in the review process.
The review mechanism embodies the spirit of the UN Charter's first Article on the purposes of the UN which are to achieve international cooperation in solving international problems, be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations and develop friendly relations among nations.
While the primary purpose of the review mechanism is to conduct country reviews and analyse regional and global trends, it also identifies good practices and challenges in national anti-corruption laws and practices which enables more effective delivery of technical assistance to countries that need and request it.
A progress report on the peer review mechanism is being discussed by the Fifth Session of the Conference of the States Parties (COSP5) to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) being held in Panama City, Panama from 25-29 November 2013.
All the States parties are being reviewed in two five-year cycles, covering all chapters of the Convention, to assess how they are living up to their obligations under the Convention. The first review cycle (2010-2015) covers the chapters of the Convention on criminalization and law enforcement, and international cooperation. The second cycle (2015-2020) will cover the chapters on preventive measures and asset recovery.
Short summaries of each country review reports once finalized, are published. By the end of August 2013 44 country review reports had been completed and 51 executive summaries have been finalized. All the country reviews have started for the first review cycle except for two new States parties.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has assisted 30 States parties prior to the country reviews which had led to a more comprehensive information collected in the self-assessment part of the review. UNODC also supports countries through its network of regional anti-corruption advisers who support the development of national anti-corruption strategies taking into account the recommendations and outcomes of the country reviews.
There has been renewed momentum for States to ratify or accede to the Convention since the launch of the review mechanism with 23 new States parties joining since June 2010.
The United Nations Convention against Corruption, which was adopted ten years ago, is the only legally binding universal anti-corruption instrument. It has been ratified by 168 States, more than four fifths of the United Nations Member States. Every two years the States Parties to the Convention meet to review implementation of the Convention and discuss how States can better tackle corruption.
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For more information please contact:
David Dadge, Spokesperson, UNODC
Mobile: (+507) 6800 3353 Email: david.dadge[at]unvienna.org
Anne Thomas, Information Officer, UNIS Vienna
Mobile: (+507) 6800 2981 Email: anne.thomas[at]unvienna.org
For further information visit:
Conference website of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC):
Conference website of the Host Country: http://cospvpanama.com/eng/index-e.html
Follow @UNODC on Twitter and join the conversation using #NoToCorruption and #CoSP5.