UNCAC second review cycle: What’s happened so far?

11 December 2016.

As we start the second review cycle of the UNCAC review process, we have been asking members in the countries participating in the first year about their experiences so far.

News from Burundi

from Ella Ndikumana of Abuco (Association Burundaise des Consommateurs-Transparency International Burundi) and Jean-Claude Ndikumwam of Observatoire de Lutte contre la Corruption et les Malversations Economiques

In the first half of October 2016, Abuco and the Observatoire contacted a government representative to enquire about the government’s progress with their self-assessment. The government advised that they were in the process of collecting the necessary information from government ministries.

In early November, Ella and Jean-Claude arranged a meeting with government representatives to clarify whether the government planned to seek civil society inputs to the self-assessment process. They were advised that the government of Burundi did not plan to consult anyone outside the government in the self-evaluation stage of the process. At the request of Ella and Jean-Claude the government representatives promised to check about providing them with a copy of the self-assessment in advance of the country visit by peer reviewers from Cameroon and Germany. The response is awaited.

The two organisations plan to inform other civil society organisations about the UNCAC and its review process in order to conduct joint advocacy. They are also looking for funding to support their advocacy work.

News from Indonesia

from Adnan Topan Husodo of Indonesia Corruption Watch

Certain second cycle issues have been included in Indonesia’s national legislation programme for 2014–2019. Also, the Centre for Reporting and Analysis of Financial Transaction (PPATK), the government department coordinating the prevention and eradication of money laundering, issued an initial Asset Forfeiture Draft, but there have not been any other steps to improve the process so far.

Under the Jokowi administration, it is likely that the draft will be further deliberated, since the anti-corruption issue has become a priority and anti-corruption civil society organisations in Indonesia have a wider space to communicate the subject.

Indonesia Corruption Watch plan to contribute to the second review cycle, including by presenting an independent evaluation of UNCAC implementation in Indonesia. They are especially interested in private sector bribery and corruption involving corporations, and they will be actively involved in advocacy on new legislation.

News from Mexico

from Isabel Arzoz Canalizo of Mexicanos Contra la Corrupcion y la Impunidad (MCCI)

On 24 November 2016, the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs invited Mexican civil society organisations working on corruption to a meeting where they updated them on the anti-corruption progress being made, as well as on the upcoming activities of different multilateral organisations.

Regarding UNCAC, the government gave an update on the second review cycle, which started this year and will cover chapters II and V. They expressed their willingness to work alongside civil society to ensure transparency during the process in order to contribute towards creating a more comprehensive, inclusive and extensive review. This is in line with Mexico’s endorsement of the UNCAC Review Transparency Pledge.

The country visit by the review team (Sao Tome and Principe and Guatemala) will take place during the first half of 2017 and the Ministry committed to inviting civil society to participate in the meetings and, when necessary, provide inputs or information.

MCCI intend to actively participate in all the activities that take place during the second review cycle (meetings, dialogue opportunities, country visits, reviewing documents, etc.) to ensure that the process is conducted in a transparent and coherent manner, as well as to ensure that the report considers and includes all relevant information and facts.

Once the country report is released, MCCI are committed to conducting the necessary advocacy activities that will ensure that Mexico takes into account and introduces the necessary reforms in line with the recommendations issued by the review team.

News from Nigeria

from Timothy Adewale of Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and David Ugolor of Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ)

SERAP reports that the Attorney General and Minister of Justice Mr Abubakar Malami has inaugurated a Country Expert Review Committee for the second cycle of the review of implementation of the UNCAC. This Review Committee (also called an Inter-Agency Task Team) is chaired by the head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and composed of government agencies, but the participation of civil society in the process is unclear. The government has designated a contact person for the second review cycle in the Ministry of Justice.

ANEEJ recently attended a meeting in the Ministry of Justice with the desk officer for the second review cycle and was informed that the government is currently in the process of compiling the self-assessment and that there would be opportunities for civil society engagement and input.

With regard to plans for contributing to the second review cycle, ANEEJ plan to prepare a shadow report with input from as many stakeholders as possible; ensuring that the civil society response is coordinated and representative. They already have some funding from the UNDP and the EU for their activities. They plan to contact and coordinate all the relevant organisations, including those that participated in the first review cycle. For this they are conducting a research mapping exercise on stakeholders from civil society and the private sector.

SERAP also plan to prepare written input to the second review cycle, and conduct media advocacy on their intervention. They see the government’s commitment to the Open Government Partnership (OGP) and its principles as an added advantage that will provide an impetus for UNCAC work.

News from Sri Lanka

from Ósk Sturludóttir of Transparency International Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s self-assessment was due on 5 November 2016. The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) led the process and included opportunities for civil society organisations to provide feedback. As the final document has not been published yet, it is not clear how much of the feedback was incorporated.

In a surprise turn of events the director general of CIABOC resigned in mid-October 2016. Throughout the transition TI Sri Lanka have maintained a good working relationship with CIABOC and expect this to continue under its new leadership.

Once the new director general is in office TI Sri Lanka will approach CIABOC for a meeting and use this opportunity to push the government to sign up to the Transparency Pledge.