6 November 2023 –
With the 10th Conference of the States Parties to the UNCAC (CoSP10) less than two months away at the time, civil society organizations from Latin America and the Caribbean came together virtually in October to speak about the CoSP, the messages that the UNCAC Coalition members from the region will be sending to the States Parties, and to come up with innovative ideas to increase our impact at this large, high-level anti-corruption meeting.
CoSP10 and what it means to Latin America and the Caribbean
This year, the CoSP is in Latin America’s backyard: the proximity of the venue to the region makes it possible for many CSOs and States Parties to participate. The participation of governments from Central America and the Caribbean in UNODC-led UNCAC fast-tracking platforms has created some groundwork for intergovernmental participation in Atlanta. Furthermore, some Latin American countries are intending to present proposals for CoSP resolutions on issues that affect the region.
The CoSP is happening at the backdrop of turbulent times for Latin American and Caribbean democracies: as mentioned in previous regional meetings, civic space in the region is under threat in several countries, illustrated for instance by the exclusion of civil society from key anti-corruption fora and spaces, as well as serious attacks on the security and integrity of CSOs and anti-corruption activists. This year, elections in Paraguay, Ecuador, and Argentina, among others, have elevated electoral integrity and human rights abuses central to electoral debates, leaving many organizations rowing against the current when advocating for a participative and inclusive anti-corruption agenda.
At the 12th Regional Meeting, we took the time to analyze and discuss the messages that we intend to send to delegates from our region at CoSP10. Drawing from a draft written submission the Coalition put together in a first round of consultations with members and affiliates of the region, participants were invited to debate on the important messages within the submission. A few organizations presented their arguments for certain issues and an interesting discussion emerged whereby CSOs collaboratively edited and refined the submission.
Important points were made about the need to include calls for greater environmental policy transparency, a deeper understanding of the impact of corruption on vulnerable minorities, and the importance of developing proactive protection of whistleblowers and activists.
The activity aimed to promote discussion on highly debated issues, such as the role that rewards should play in whistleblowing policy, as well as the language that the anti-corruption community in the region should use to better raise awareness about the scourge of corruption. The final product of the submission will be presented to CoSP10 and will be published on the UNCAC Coalition’s website.
Deepening our impact ahead of the CoSP
Danella Newman, UNCAC Coalition Project Manager expressed that “We want people to know that this is the most important event for anti-corruption in the world,” a message which resonated with all the participants present. A portion of the regional meeting was dedicated to how to make a greater impact at the CoSP, opening the floor to a series of lightning talks to propose cooperative, sustainable actions ahead of and during CoSP10.
While many important ideas came out during the lightning talks, it is important to highlight that two major themes were, how to get governments to hear and internalize CSO messages and how to get average citizens to engage more with the outcomes of the CoSP. Ideas to address these challenges ranged from creating concerted civil society messages for social media and traditional media organizations, to meeting with delegations and press organizations previous to the CoSP to share advocacy points.
Two months to prepare
The 12th Regional Meeting reinvigorated the drive of many civil society organizations to make CoSP10 a space for dialogue and discussion with governments.. Overwhelmingly, participants attending the meeting showed enthusiasm for the CoSP, regardless of whether they would be traveling to Atlanta. The UNCAC Coalition in Latin America and the Caribbean is an active community, and this meeting once again put into practice the cooperative spirit that drives the UNCAC Coalition’s actions.