CoSP10 Plenary Discussion: Key Takeaways and Country Positions

16 February 2024 –  

Discussions in the plenary during the 10th Session of the Conference of the States Parties (CoSP) to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) provided insights for civil society into States Parties’ actions, domestically and internationally, their UNCAC implementation, and their stances on anti-corruption issues. 

This summary provides an overview of States Parties’ plenary statements throughout the CoSP10, including updates on delegations’ views in terms of the UNCAC Coalition’s issues of priority, country review status updates, and commitments and national developments. This summary also highlights the discussion and landmark vote of the States Parties for the first time in the UNCAC CoSP fora, about the participation of three NGOs that remained objected to by States Parties by the time of the conference (originally seven NGOs received objections to the CoSP participation). 

In light of how civil society is prohibited from participating in CoSP subsidiary bodies, including those of the UNCAC implementation review group (IRG), the CoSP plenary is the only, and thus a highly important, formal platform among the UNCAC fora for civil society to engage with States Parties. 


  • This is not a comprehensive overview of all plenary discussions and country statements. We have focused on highlighting interventions that are related to key issues of interest to civil society.
  • Generally, we have tried to list interventions chronologically, in the order they took place in the Plenary (except for updates on country reviews which are in alphabetical order, or where we have clustered government interventions focused on similar issues).
  • We have done our best to accurately capture government interventions during the plenary discussions but it is important to take into account that in some cases there were challenges due to audio problems and technical issues.


Civil Society at the CoSP10, Atlanta, USA. Photo by: UNIS Vienna 

Organizational Matters

Participation of observers: Objections to NGOs 

Following the objections to the participation of five NGOs by Türkiye and Azerbaijan, whilst all three objections by Türkiye were lifted prior to the CoSP through diplomatic negotiations,  the plenary held a landmark vote for the first time in CoSP history on the participation of the two remaining NGOs objected to by Azerbaijan. The outcome of the vote was:

  • 61 in favor of their participation, including:
    • Armenia, Australia, Cambodia, Canada, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, European Union (EU) on behalf of its members, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Japan, Lichtenstein, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mexico, Moldova, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Panama, Peru, Seychelles, Switzerland, Tonga, Tuvalu, United Kingdom (UK), United States of America (USA).
  • 63 abstentions, including:
    • Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Bangladesh, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, China, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, India,  Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Madagascar, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, Nauru, Nigeria, Oman, Palau, Paraguay, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Sudan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Venezuela and Zimbabwe.
  • 3 against participation 
    • Azerbaijan and Türkiye expressed the view that allowing the participation of the objected NGOs at the CoSP runs counter to the Vienna spirit of consensus.
    • Ghana clarified that their vote was not regarding the participation of the NGOs themselves, but rather objecting to the process of voting on such a matter, contrary to the Vienna spirit of consensus.

***Please note that the list of States Parties voting in favor of participation and those abstaining is incomplete, representing only a partial list of States Parties who voted according to our count. 

Of those voting in favor of the NGOs’ participation:

  • Armenia noted that the objections undermined the role of civil society in the fight against corruption, as recognized in the UNCAC, and thus should be considered as a threat to the CoSP. The delegation stated that the reasons listed by Azerbaijan for the objections had no relation to UNCAC provisions, and therefore invoked rules 57 and 60 of the CoSP rules of procedure, requesting the Conference to take the decision to a vote.
  • The EU and the Netherlands voiced their support for civil society participation, highlighting the key role played by NGOs in supporting the global fight against corruption, their great expertise and acute awareness of how corruption affects civil society on the ground, as well as their important role in exposing acts of corruption.

General Discussion

During the general discussion of the CoSP plenary, many States Parties announced new anti-corruption legislation and mechanisms in their respective countries relating to the UNCAC implementation. States Parties also provided updates on the Implementation Review Mechanism (IRM), highlighted the importance of asset recovery and international cooperation, and touched upon some of the UNCAC Coalition’s other key priority topics including environmental crime and corruption, gender and corruption, victims of corruption and human rights. 

Many States Parties emphasized the importance of international cooperation and legal and institutional frameworks to facilitate asset recovery, and highlighted the challenges posed by illicit financial flows. This included South Africa, Portugal, Nigeria, Yemen, Zimbabwe, Iraq, Algeria, Angola, Libya, Vietnam, Switzerland, Kenya, Guinea, Zambia and UAE, who further stressed the importance of having transparency and accountability in asset recovery. Georgia and Switzerland stressed the importance of civil society involvement in the fight against corruption in relation to asset recovery. 

The discussions also underscored global consensus on the need to enhance tracing, recovery and return mechanisms of illicitly acquired assets: 

  • South Africa called for greater international cooperation in the recovery and return of stolen assets. 
  • Portugal emphasized that international cooperation based on trust is key in asset recovery.
  • Nigeria expressed the desire for the topic of asset recovery to be at the heart of the CoSP. 
  • Uganda recognized the crucial role of various actors, including civil society, in asset recovery.
  • Algeria highlighted the need for a strong emphasis on asset recovery and a swift response, identifying asset recovery as a key objective in Algeria’s anti-corruption agenda. 
  • Pakistan called for the elimination of barriers to the return of stolen assets, and the necessity of Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA), capacity building, technical assistance and material support.

Some States Parties gave updates on the status of their UNCAC review:

  • Austria is in the final stage of the 2nd review cycle, and is in the process of finalizing the full country report.
  • Bulgaria hosted their country visit in July 2023 and is currently approving the executive summary.
  • Chile is in the final stages of the 2nd cycle review process, awaiting the final country report. 
  • Guyana submitted their self-assessment checklist in October 2023.
  • Iran recently held the country visit for the 2nd review cycle. 
  • Kyrgyzstan announced that they are nearing completion of the 2nd review cycle, and are ready to host government experts.
  • Mali and Zambia announced that their 2nd cycle review processes are underway.
  • Palau made the 2nd review cycle country report public in July 2022, and held post-review consultations on the next steps with government stakeholders, civil society and media representatives. 
  • Poland completed their review in 2022-2023.
  • The Republic of Korea recently completed the 2nd review cycle.
  • The Russian Federation is working to implement recommendations from the 2nd review cycle.
  • Singapore hosted the 2nd review cycle country visit in May 2023. 
  • Samoa’s second review cycle is in progress, with the country visit proposed for 2024.
  • Spain hosted the country review in May 2023, which included representatives from civil society.
  • Tuvalu announced the completion of the 2nd review cycle, which included civil society involvement. 

Many States Parties also stressed the importance of civil society inclusion in the CoSP and UNCAC review process, including Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal, Ghana, Cuba, North Macedonia, Uganda, Mauritania, Algeria, Finland, Bulgaria, Ethiopia, Slovenia, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, France, Botswana, Israel and Mexico. Furthermore:

  • The USA stated that one of the key goals of the U.S. CoSP presidency is to promote robust engagement from NGOs, including civil society, which would be highlighted in the Atlanta declaration. 
  • Chile called for the next phase of the review process to be transparent and inclusive of civil society.
  • Spain called for the participation of civil society in the review process, and emphasized the role of States Parties to ensure that citizens are involved in the fight against corruption.

The Netherlands, North Macedonia, Finland and Austria voiced their support for the UNCAC Coalition Transparency Pledge, and the Netherlands, the UK and Austria voiced support for the UK Joint Statement on Transparency and the Inclusion of Civil Society in the Implementation Review Mechanism

The Maldives, Colombia, Belgium and France stressed the need to counter environmental crimes and corruption, and:

  • Germany highlighted the detrimental effects of corruption on climate change, calling for the need to safeguard efforts to prevent climate action from being undermined by corruption. They called for greater transparency in climate action with strong anti-corruption measures, such as in forestry authorities. 

Some delegations emphasized the need for a gender-based approach to anti-corruption (Lebanon, North Macedonia, Portugal, India and Samoa), including a resolution co-sponsored by Ghana on gender and corruption. Other States Parties also expressed the following on the topic of gender and corruption:

  • South Africa expressed support for Ghana’s resolution to address gender inequalities in countering corruption. 
  • Canada is using its voice to champion gender responsive approaches.
  • Germany will prioritize human rights, gender, environmental and climate dimensions in their anti-corruption programming. 
  • Israel noted that it is gratifying to witness that resolutions have placed an emphasis on the involvement of different stakeholders and on important topics such as gender.

On the topic of victims of corruption, Colombia noted how corruption has caused inequality and impunity, and are therefore putting victims at the center of their anti-corruption efforts.

Guinea, the Maldives, Poland, Germany and Colombia emphasized the adverse impact of corruption on human rights. 

Review of the Implementation of the UNCAC

States Parties provided updates on the progress of their country reviews, including the involvement of civil society and other stakeholders, and the extension of the 2nd review cycle. States Parties also highlighted their follow-up efforts from review cycle recommendations, and related anti-corruption achievements .

Some delegations reported that they have either started or are in the process of the second cycle of the IRM:

  • Armenia reported that the final report for the 2nd cycle will be published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in the near future.  
  • Bangladesh recently submitted the 2nd review cycle report, and announced that they had held meetings and shared relevant documents with national NGOs. 
  • Brazil’s 2nd cycle country visit took place in May 2022, and included civil society organizations. Brazil received the executive summary in June 2023, which was submitted for comments, and is working on the translation and finalization of the summary.
  • Canada welcomed peer reviewers and non-governmental stakeholders to a country visit in October 2023, and hopes to have the report finalized by the first quarter of 2024. 
  • Colombia completed the self-assessment checklist in June 2022, and is awaiting the publication of the report and summary.
  • The Democratic Republic of the Congo anticipates the country visit to take place in the first trimester of 2024.
  • Ecuador held the country visit in November 2023, with the participation of members of civil society and academia. 
  • The European Union is nearing completion of the 1st review cycle, having held the country visit in November 2023, including civil society. It is hoping to finalize the full country report in the first half of 2024. 
  • Japan completed the 1st review cycle in September 2023, and has published the executive summary. It is currently working on the 2nd cycle self-assessment checklist.
  • Mauritius completed the 2nd cycle review in 2017 through a multi-stakeholder approach, including civil society.
  • South Africa has completed both review cycles, adopting a whole of society approach, including civil society.

Some delegations provided updates on improvements made since their 2nd cycle review:

  • Algeria launched its National Anti-Corruption strategy in July 2023, as well as an integrity indicator. It has passed a new law on public procurement, and launched an electronic procurement platform. Amendments made to the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) law in February 2023 included measures to verify the identity of customers, look into Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs), as well as staff and organizations. Algeria has implemented measures to report to the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), and ensure that real beneficiaries are uncovered. 
  • Burkina Faso established an oversight body for fighting corruption, with the status of an independent administrative authority. It reported that all IRM recommendations have been implemented, including granting 0,5% of its budget to the anti-corruption body.
  • Costa Rica reported that transnational bribery is now part of the criminal code, it has trained public sector officials on anti-corruption issues, and revoked the statute of limitations when it comes to transnational crime and bribery. 
  • Honduras has designed and created the first national transparency and anti-corruption strategy via a multistakeholder process, implemented by 18 state agencies. Its public procurement law ensures greater oversight, including internal oversight committees in all executive institutions, focal points in all units, and a hotline for corruption reporting for citizens among others. 
  • Mauritania has adopted an anti-corruption law, established institutions supporting the combating of corruption and a national entity for the recovery of assets. It has updated the national anti-corruption strategy, which included the participation of civil society.
  • Morocco has adopted and is in the process of implementing a national anti-corruption strategy. It has enhanced efforts to combat financial corruption, and strengthened its judicial system in line with recommendations. 
  • Peru has established measures to protect whistleblowers and has outlawed the use of revolving doors.  
  • The Russian Federation is implementing recommendations from its review: judges and prosecutors have been addressed in terms of conflicts of interest, and they are continuing education through a centralized training on compliance. The Russian Federation has developed a 2023-2025 strategic anti-corruption plan. 

Some delegations expressed their support to extend the 2nd cycle of the IRM (El Salvador, Japan, Colombia, Indonesia, South Africa, France, Dominican Republic and Canada), whilst still encouraging States Parties to conclude the cycle in a timely manner.  

Many delegations expressed support for strengthening the IRM process, emphasizing the importance of civil society participation for transparency and inclusivity in the fight against corruption (EU members [North Macedonia, Albania, Ukraine, Georgia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Armenia aligned], UK, USA, Australia, France, Switzerland, Algeria, Canada, Ecuador, Mauritania, Botswana and Morocco). 

Countries that expressed support for the UK joint plenary statement included France​​, Mauritius​​, Switzerland​​, Dominican Republic​​ and Canada​​.

Australia expressed its support for the UNCAC Coalition’s Transparency Pledge, which it signed in November 2023. 

Technical Assistance

States parties articulated a broad spectrum of technical assistance needs and support from UNODC:

  • Norway noted that whilst beneficial ownership reform has progressed since resolution 9/7, there is still a need to identify new technologies and innovations to ensure that data is accurate. It also noted that additional resources are imperative to ensure effective delivery, sustain systems and adopt updated legislation. 
  • France called for UNODC to create regional platforms to help countries fast track implementation. 
  • Bangladesh noted the lack of resources to investigate and follow the money from financial crimes, in light of the use of advanced technology. They highlighted the need for technical assistance in capacity building to address conflicts of interest and improve public procurement transparency. 
  • Kenya urged partners to provide technical assistance to developing countries. 
  • Burkina Faso emphasized the need for close cooperation between recipients and providers of technical assistance. It appealed to technical and financial partners to ensure sustainable funding for UNODC capacity programmes, recalling commitments made by States Parties in the UNGASS Political Declaration (PD) to promote adequate technical assistance to build states’ capacity to prevent and fight corruption. 
  • Haiti called for greater international cooperation in prevention, bolstering digital investigation capacities, and providing technical assistance for asset recovery, especially in countries where prevention, detection and law enforcement against corruption are weak. 

Some States Parties shared ways in which they are providing technical assistance in anti-corruption efforts, through various initiatives: 

  • The EU (North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, Ukraine, BiH, Georgia, Iceland, Armenia aligned)​​ has a thematic programme on strengthening civil society to strengthen accountability in 26 countries, to develop systemic change and accountability. The Open Government Partnership’s (OGP) Partnership for Accountability project aims to strengthen democracy and improve citizens’ lives. The Team Europe Initiative brings together 200 million euros from EU institutions and Member States under a common strategic framework to mitigate the expansion of transnational organized crime and illicit financial flows. The EU also announced that it is increasing support for anti-corruption initiatives. 
  • China​​ has provided capacity-building training to over 600 participants globally on asset recovery, and has held workshops on integrity for government and business officials. In the next five years it plans to assist in training 300 participants from Asia, Latin America and Africa. 
  • Norway​​ is providing technical assistance through partners: the Stolen Asset Recovery initiative (StAR), UNODC, International Center for Asset Recovery (ICAR), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Customs Organization. It has renewed its support to the UNCAC Coalition to provide assistance through its network, and is also supporting Open Contracting Partnership (OCP) to provide technical assistance. Norway further expressed its commitment to continue providing technical assistance. 
  • Colombia​​ is working on developing a manual for Colombian authorities on international cooperation; the types of cooperation each institution can provide, procedures and requirements for carrying out cooperation and focal points in each entity. 
  • France​​ established and conducted activities in West Africa and the Sahel during the summer of 2023 on whistleblower protection, judicial processing and gender focused awareness-raising. Its agenda on technical assistance also includes working with Ukraine on asset recovery, and it is engaging civil society actors in technical assistance efforts. 
  • Brazil​​’s Trilateral Cooperation Brazil-Germany programme contributed to the creation of the Paraguay integrity seal, which led to an integrity incentive system in Paraguay’s business sector. Brazil also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China, promoting public policy centered around transparency and integrity. 
  • Australia has provided funding to UNODC to support Pacific Island countries to initiate UNCAC reforms. 
  • The USA​​ dedicated 252 million USD in funding to a wide range of foreign assistance programming to counter corruption, and coordinated assistance through civil society and the private sector in preventing and combating corruption. 
  • South Africa​​ is working with UNODC, ethics officers and whistleblowers on the disclosure of financial interests. As the chair, they hosted the 2023 BRICS summit, with a focus on gender and corruption, including practitioners training. 
  • Malaysia​​: In March 2023, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) offices conducted training for officers from the Maldives Anti-Corruption Commission to share modern prevention techniques and intelligence-based investigation methods in the region. It collaborated with UNODC and the USA in a two-day workshop on safeguarding for ASEAN countries. Malaysia also organized a course for the strategic management of anti-corruption programmes, which was attended by officials from Timor Leste, Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines.


States Parties outlined their efforts in enhancing transparency, implementing educational programs, establishing legal frameworks for whistleblower protection, and utilizing technology to prevent corruption. 

  • Romania has signed MoUs with key institutions, to advance legal education from primary to university levels, and has finished transposing the EU directive on whistleblower protection. It is making full use of electronic systems to prevent conflicts of interest in public procurement, and investigate and eliminate potential conflicts of interest in electronic procurement systems without affecting ongoing procedures. 
  • Mozambique has launched a strategy for boosting corruption prevention, including the creation of anti-corruption centers in schools to raise citizen awareness. 
  • Malaysia emphasized the importance of anti-corruption education, and has implemented comprehensive measures through its Anti-Corruption Commission including providing classes on integrity at higher-level education institutions. 
  • Burkina Faso reported that a draft whistleblower protection law is in advanced stages, which would allow law enforcement to receive information on cases and facts. It has made ethics courses obligatory for public servants. 

Asset Recovery

States Parties shared how they are actively working on asset recovery through international cooperation, legal reforms and the development of specialized institutions and mechanisms: 

  • El Salvador has built up the capacity of fiscal institutions, and many cases of grand corruption by former presidents and senior officials have been brought to justice. 
  • Switzerland signed an agreement on the return of stolen assets to the population of Uzbekistan in 2022, returned through a special UN fund. The return involves an emphasis on monitoring and transparency, with the UN, Switzerland and Uzbekistan on the board, along with civil society. The first return consisted of 95 million USD to be used for Uzbek maternal health, with more to be approved. 
  • France has established a legal framework allowing for the return of state property assets that have originated from corruption, and a reform that works to ensure that damages from the loss of funds go to the most vulnerable populations. 
  • Malaysia’s public service human resource information management system empowers 1.7 million officials to transparently declare assets electronically. 
  • Colombia’s Comptroller general successfully submitted MLAs to Ecuador, Panama, Spain and Mexico. Colombia has committed to the allocation of confiscated assets to women, indigenous and young people, and rural organizations protected under the constitution. 
  • The Bank of China and courts have issued directives on asset return, and established MLA on financial secrecy. Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and Asia Pacific Group (APG) standards have been established. 
  • Russian Federation has sent 17 MLA requests; five of which were satisfied. It received four requests on conducting administrative measures related to seizing assets and bank accounts, of which one was satisfied, however two others were not carried out due to monetary funds being absent from accounts at time. 
  • Indonesia is receiving a return of stolen assets from overseas; in 2023, 33 million USD in assets were recovered. It has also recovered 45 million USD in assets thanks to technological advancements, and has returned assets to the Netherlands and other countries. 
  • Peru signed an agreement with Switzerland and Luxembourg in 2020, resulting in the repatriation of 26 million USD that was stolen in relation to the activity of a former presidential advisor.
  • Iraq’s new FIU tool allows for the tracing and recovery of stolen funds. As a result, Iraq has recovered 20 million USD. 
  • Brazil received 2153 requests for redress, signed 1415 agreements on international cooperation, and made payouts pursuant to these, with some having already been fed back into public coffers.
  • The USA confiscated over 1.7 billion USD in assets, and returned or assisted with the return of over 1.6 billion to requesting countries. They launched the Global Forum on Asset Recovery (GFAR) Action Series with France and the UK, with the priority of strengthening communication and cooperation in asset recovery law enforcement. 

Delegations also identified areas for improvement in asset recovery:

  • Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Algeria, Malaysia, Indonesia, Peru, Iraq, Guinea, Seychelles, Moldova, Tunisia, the USA, Mauritania, and Botswana identified the need for greater international cooperation in asset recovery efforts, as well as improved legal frameworks and technical solutions in tracing, freezing and return of stolen assets. 
  • The Russian Federation asked to amend FATF recommendation paragraph 48 and to include the experiences of Russia, Australia and Chile on this topic.
  • Haiti, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Botswana identified a lack of, and requested support for, human and financial resources to trace stolen assets.

International Cooperation

  • Botswana has signed MLA agreements with various countries and has requested to join the Global Operational Network of Law Enforcement Authorities (GlobE) platform to enhance their ability to cooperate with international partners.
  • Switzerland expressed support for StAR and ICAR, which it has supported since their initiation in 2005. It pointed to a case study of working with ICAR and Peru, where Switzerland ordered the handover of confiscated assets. It has held three meetings to date, linking the asset return to Kenya with UNODC.
  • France recommitted to the Sharm El Sheikh resolution.
  • South Africa reminded the plenary that the UNGASS PD states that no country can combat corruption on its own, therefore aims to work with international partners through international cooperation and an international extradition act. It is currently cooperating through bilateral agreements with France, UAE, Mexico and Brazil.
  • Australia and Honduras highlighted the cooperation of their law enforcement authorities with international partners, including with INTERPOL. 
  • Kenya cooperated with other jurisdictions through MoUs in addressing asset returns and other corruption issues in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
  • Bangladesh announced that it is a member of the South Asian Treaty on MLA in Criminal Matters (MLAT).
  • Israel co-sponsored a side event at the CoSP on joining hands across the world to fight against corruption, and called upon all other States Parties to join this approach. 
  • Indonesia announced that the ASEAN countries renewed their MoU in Cambodia with the objective of strengthening collaborative efforts to improve the institutional capacity of parties to combat corruption in the region. In 2023, an MoU was signed with anti-corruption agencies in other countries such as South Korea and China.
  • Panama, the UK and Brazil announced their participation in the GlobE network, among other forms of international cooperation

UNGASS Political Declaration Follow-Up

States Parties reiterated the importance of and reaffirmed their commitment to the UNGASS PD:

  • China praised the UNGASS PD as having led to stronger international cooperation in the fight against corruption. 
  • Ecuador noted how international cooperation has been crucial in the follow-up to UNGASS PD commitments.
  • France highlighted that the UNGASS PD represented a milestone. Noting paragraph 11 of the UNGASS PD on public procurement as a serious risk of corruption, and paragraph 10 that States Parties are committed to transparency and accountability in the management of public finances, France tabled a resolution on public procurement.  
  • Colombia raised the importance of having a roadmap to ensure PD commitments become a reality, and appealed to States Parties to actively participate in all fora identifying good practices, difficulties and challenges in implementing the PD and UNCAC itself. It hopes that international information exchange will allow States Parties to make progress on the implementation of the PD, and emphasized the importance of beneficial ownership transparency. They noted that excluded and marginalized groups are the primary victims of corruption and must be incorporated into anti-corruption efforts, calling for a gender-based approach.
  • Peru encouraged States Parties to take proactive efforts in their follow-up and implementation of the PD, as a milestone that supplements the UNCAC, and ties in with commitments to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • The USA looks forward to advancing the PD under the CoSP presidency, highlighting that the UNGASS PD is a guiding framework for anti-corruption efforts.