The IRG meets at least once a year and reports to the COSP. In practice it has met twice a year since its creation in 2009.
The IRG oversees the UNCAC review process in order “to identify challenges and good practices and to consider technical assistance requirements in order to ensure effective implementation of the Convention”. The IRG does not discuss or adopt country review reports. It is tasked with discussing thematic implementation reports prepared by the UNODC. On the basis of its deliberations, the IRG can submit recommendations and conclusions to the COSP for its consideration and approval.
In IRG meetings, country representatives have discussed experiences in the first cycle of the UNCAC review process (2010-2015) covering Chapters III (Criminalization and law enforcement) and IV (International cooperation) of the Convention. They have also discussed the second review cycle (2016-2020), which will cover Chapter II (Preventive measures) and Chapter V (Asset recovery).
What can civil society organisations (CSOs) do at IRG meetings?
The IRG briefing for civil society organisations
Although signatory states and intergovernmental organisations are permitted to attend IRG meetings as observers, civil society organisations have so far been excluded. They were excluded following objections from a few states parties, but contrary to the Rules of Procedure. This is problematic because it is inconsistent with international human rights standards, with Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals and with transparency and participation standards in the Convention itself.
Government debates about the admission of CSOs as observers led to a temporary compromise at the COSP4 session in Marrakesh in 2011. Governments agreed on a “briefing” for CSOs “on the margins” of the IRG meetings on the outcomes of the review process, including the technical assistance needs identified. Only CSOs admitted to participate as observers in the COSP previous to the briefing can attend and make oral and written statements. Exceptions can be made for CSOs with ECOSOC consultative status.
This briefing is widely considered to be an inadequate substitute for observer status and has been a subject for CSO advocacy.
Apart from the Briefing, CSOs are permitted to make written submissions to the IRG of up to 1500 words. These submissions may not contain evaluations of country implementation of UNCAC or focus on the conduct of the review in a single country.