BEIJING, 23 October 2006 (UNODC) - The head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Antonio Maria Costa, urged the world's top anti-corruption officials to hold their governments to account for the promises they have made to tackle corruption.
Addressing the newly formed International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities in Beijing, he said the creation of the body was "the latest demonstration of the world's eagerness to put kleptocratic government officials and greedy business leaders behind bars."
Mr Costa said the United Nations Convention against Corruption, which came into force in December 2005, was a powerful tool for the prevention and criminalisation of corruption if governments chose to implement it.
"It would be naive to think that we can rid the world of corruption just because the United Nations has agreed to a Convention," the UNODC Executive Director told over 500 anti-corruption officials from more than 120 countries on Sunday.
"But we can certainly reduce the impact of dishonest behaviour on governments, economies and ordinary citizens, counting on the Convention's robust legal and operational measures."
Mr Costa urged the anti-corruption practitioners to play an active part in the first meeting of parties to the Convention in Amman, Jordan in December. "I urge you to hold your Governments accountable for the promises they have made and, in Amman, to help us build a robust global anti-corruption regime," he said.
UNODC is custodian of the Convention against Corruption, which has so far been ratified by 68 countries.
Mr Costa underlined the need for all countries to adopt concrete anti-corruption measures and public sector management practices in order to prevent corruption and minimize its impact on governments, economies, and ordinary citizens. Key elements were the integrity of the judiciary, effective accounting standards, a domestic regulatory framework for financial institutions, controls on donations to political parties and financial disclosure by public officials.
Mr Costa also stressed that "there should be no safe havens for dirty money."
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