The UNCAC Coalition is seeking sign-up by States Parties to the Transparency Pledge for the second UNCAC review cycle. The Pledge embodies a voluntary commitment to meet minimum standards of transparency and civil society participation in the UNCAC review mechanism.
Complementary to the Pledge, we have developed a Guide to Transparency and Participation in the UNCAC Implementation Review Mechanism.
Why the Pledge?
In the negotiations for the UNCAC review mechanism, a small group of influential countries blocked the inclusion of key provisions for transparency and participation of civil society. Consequently, the terms of reference of the implementation review mechanism adopted by the UNCAC Conference of States Parties (CoSP) in 2009 leave it at the discretion of each State Party to decide on the extent of civil society participation and transparency in their country review. Then, after adoption of the review mechanism, the same small group of countries blocked society representatives from attending meetings of the UNCAC Implementation Review Group, which oversees the review process. This has remained the state of play up to the present.
This outcome is inconsistent with international human rights standards and with the provisions of UNCAC itself. The UNCAC prevention chapter contains numerous references to transparency and recognises the importance of civil society participation in anti-corruption efforts.
Despite the weak framework, most countries voluntarily facilitated some civil society involvement, including meetings with review teams, in the first cycle of the UNCAC review process (2010-2015) which covered criminalisation, enforcement and international cooperation. Many also agreed to more transparency than is provided for in the terms of reference. As of October 2017, seventy-five countries, out of the 160 countries with completed reviews, had agreed to publish their full review reports on UNODC’s Country Profiles web page.
The second review cycle
The second review cycle began at the end of June 2016 and is due to continue for five years. About 40 countries each year will be reviewed on their implementation of the UNCAC chapters on prevention and asset recovery.
This second cycle provides a critical opportunity for governments to demonstrate their commitment to transparency and civil society participation, by including these features in the in-country UNCAC review process and in international discussions.
In order to promote best practice and highlight those countries leading by example in promoting transparency and civil society participation, we are asking governments to endorse the following Pledge with six principles. The focus of the principles is on issues other than review team meetings with civil society representatives during country visits because such meetings were established as the standard practice in the first review cycle.
As UNCAC States Parties, we hereby reaffirm the importance of transparency and public consultation in addressing corruption. We believe civil society can play a crucial role in preventing and combatting corruption in our country. We believe civil society can contribute to successful implementation of UNCAC provisions, therefore we commit ourselves to follow the six Principles of Transparency during the second cycle of the UNCAC review process.
Principles of Transparency
- We will publish updated review schedules for our country review
- We will share information about the review institution or the coordinator (focal point)
- We will announce the completion of the country review indicating where the report can be found
- We will promptly post online the self-assessment and the full country report in a UN language, together with the executive summary in local languages
- We will organise civil society briefings and public debates about the findings of the report
- We will publicly support participation of civil society observers in UNCAC subsidiary bodies
Signatories (as of 15 October 2017)
- United Kingdom
- United States
What you can do
We are convinced that it is impossible to fight corruption from behind closed doors. If you agree, please join with us and encourage your government to sign the Pledge.