The United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 31 October 2003. Since then, adherence to the world’s first and only legally-binding, anti-corruption instrument has become near-universal, with 189 States now party to the Convention.
UNCAC is a truly unique tool. It looks to prevent and criminalize corruption, define specific acts of this crime, and promote international cooperation, the recovery and return of stolen assets, technical assistance, and information exchange.
In 2023, as UNCAC reaches its twentieth year of existence, it offers us all a period to reflect on what the Convention has meant for global efforts to tackle corruption and, crucially, what remains to be done to fully implement this important tool.
The Convention is the only legally binding universal anti-corruption instrument and a unique tool for developing a comprehensive response to a global problem. It covers a range of areas and many different forms of corruption, such as bribery, trading in influence, abuse of functions, and various acts of corruption in the private sector.
An entire chapter of the Convention is dedicated to preventative measures directed at the public and private sectors.
The Convention requires countries to establish criminal and other offences to cover a wide range of acts of corruption.
Countries are bound to render specific forms of mutual legal assistance in sharing evidence for use in court, to extradite offenders.