Your Excellency Mr. Mazin Ibrahim Al-Kahmous, President of Nazaha,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you all for joining us at this important event to launch the GlobE network, a powerful new global tool against corruption.
2021 is indeed a year of international action against corruption.
The UN General Assembly is holding its first-ever special session to address this threat and yesterday adopted an action-oriented political declaration to elevate the fight against corruption.
The Declaration brings into focus the debilitating effect of corruption on our efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and recognizes that integrity, transparency, and the rule of law are foundational to an inclusive, fair recovery.
It is the perfect time to bring our anti-corruption commitments into more effective action.
A robust international framework is already in place to guide global cooperation against corrupt practices and networks.
The UN Convention against Corruption is a comprehensive and effective instrument that enjoys nearly universal membership.
Last year, the UN adopted a common position on corruption for the first time, co-led by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime with our UN partners. It aims to harmonize and galvanize the UN system’s support to Member States.
We have the frameworks and tools we need. In practice, however, anti-corruption law enforcement authorities continue to face limitations in cooperating directly with counterparts to pursue cross-border corruption cases.
Mutual legal assistance processes take time, making it difficult to keep step with criminals who exploit corrupt networks and new technologies to move stolen proceeds around the world in an instant.
The cost of corruption for the global economy continues to be colossal, estimated to be trillions of US dollars every year, at a time when more resources are needed to rebuild in post-pandemic world.
In Africa alone, illicit financial flows and capital flight siphon away almost 89 billion US dollars, an amount that is close to 4 percent of the continent’s total GDP.
As long as practical obstacles persist, corruption will continue to drain public resources, facilitate illicit financial flows, enable organized crime and terrorism, and erode the rule of law.
The GlobE network we are launching today is designed precisely to address this gap, providing the first truly global platform for swift, streamlined, and effective cross-border cooperation against corruption.
Conceived during the G20’s first-ever ministerial meeting on anti-corruption in 2020, this network will put into action an important provision of the Convention: the improvement of direct cooperation between law enforcement authorities.
By facilitating direct, proactive, and informal cooperation, it will lead to more focused formal procedures, enabling authorities around the world to investigate, prosecute and convict the corrupt.
The UNGASS political declaration that States adopted by consensus recognized the GlobE network as an efficient tool and encouraged States to join.
I am confident that this trust in GlobE will drive us towards our target of attaining 30 member states by the first plenary session of the network, as well as our long-term goal of universal membership by UN member states.
UNODC serves as the guardian of the Convention against Corruption and is proud to take on the role of secretariat to the GlobE network.
The network will offer three mechanisms to bring together international efforts against corruption.
Firstly, it will establish an online ‘One-Stop Hub’ for anti-corruption cooperation. This hub will guide practitioners towards the correct counterparts, and will provide them with a secure online channel for instant communication.
The online hub will also act as a platform for exchange of experiences and good practices among a community of peers.
Parts of this hub will be accessible to the public, with the aim of educating and engaging them in efforts to counter corruption.
Secondly, GlobE will launch an operational network of anti-corruption law enforcement authorities based in Vienna, as a standing forum for dialogue.
And thirdly, the network will include an extensive knowledge and capacity development component.
We will leverage the resources available, and work extensively with academia, in order to close the capacity gap between Member States, allowing countries to better combat corruption both within and across borders.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The GlobE network is founded on the belief that we are stronger against corruption when we work together and build upon the efforts of one another.
In developing this initiative, UNODC consulted with technical experts, international organizations, and Member States.
Its success will count on our continued commitment to dialogue and communication with our partners.
We have already conducted a comprehensive mapping exercise to identify relevant networks and their memberships, and we will work with them to ensure complementarity, and avoid duplication.
GlobE will pursue active relationships with entities such as the Egmont Group, the International Anti-Corruption Coordination Centre, and the International Association of Prosecutors, as well regional and international asset recovery inter-agency networks.
Later this year, we will have the opportunity to take stock of our progress at the ninth session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Convention, to be held in Egypt in December.
I am deeply grateful to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and to His Excellency Mr. Al-Kahmous, for making the GlobE network a reality through the Riyadh Initiative, launched during the Saudi Presidency of the G20 last year, and for providing the core funding for its implementation.
I hope to continue counting on their support to combat corruption.
Building on this good practice, we will also be working with the current Italian Presidency of the G20 this year on various anti-corruption priorities, including measuring corruption, safeguarding sport from corruption, and addressing the link between corruption and organized crime.
Through GlobE, Member States can equip law enforcement authorities with the flexibility and agility needed to take on the networks of corruption that bleed our societies of wealth and opportunity.
I call on Member States to join the GlobE network, to close the gaps between us and leave no safe haven for corruption.
In closing, I would like to thank our high-level participants and panelists for today. I look forward to hearing their views and insights on how the GlobE network can best support joint action against corruption.