Vienna, 30 May 2013, by Preap Kol.
Cambodia signed the UNCAC in September 5th 2007 and is currently undertaking a review of the implementation of the UNCAC for the first time. Cambodia has chosen an inclusive approach for its review process which began with the Cambodian Prime Minister officially appointing a Steering Committee (SC) comprising 16 members. These members are representatives of various stakeholders including the Government’s Anti-Corruption Institution (as the Chair), the National Assembly, the Senate, the National Audit Authority, the Banking Inspectorate, the Judiciary, Academia, the Private Sector and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).
The main responsibility of the Steering Committee is to play an oversight role for the review of the implementation of UNCAC’s articles under review, provide feedback to government’s self-assessment report on the UNCAC’s articles under review and make final approval before submitting it to the Prime Minister. In practice, the self-assessment is undertaken by a group of expert members appointed by the Steering Committee to provide inputs to the review, particularly to respond to the UN Omnibus questionnaire.
This approach provides the following benefits into the review of the implementation of the UNCAC:
- The distribution of responsibilities within the sub-committee/technical team from various sector is an efficient way to speed up the self-assessment.
- The inclusion of different stakeholders provides an opportunity to cross check the inputs and information and open the floor for debates as needed.
- An opportunity to incorporate CSO perspectives and recommendations to the Government to consider adapting additional legal frameworks including but not limited to the Law on Access to Information and the Law on Whistle Blower Protection.
- It draws attention from different key stakeholders on the UNCAC which leads to greater awareness among the wider spectrum of the society on the importance of UN framework to fight against corruption which the Government has signed/ratified and have an obligation to implement.
- It helps strengthen relationship between the Government and CSOs and paves ways for constructive dialogue and engagement in the collective effort to fight against corruption in the country and beyond.
While there are a lot of benefits and advantages in choosing this approach, there is also room for improvement and key lessons to learn from this approach, which I would like to highlight as below:
- Having clear criteria including qualifications and level of knowledge for the expert members in order to ensure full and equal participation from all members of the Steering Committee.
- Having a precise work-plan and schedule as well as effective coordination to facilitate the process because the work is very intensive and time consuming.
- Ensuing that the work of the Committee is adequately resourced.
By sharing this experience, I would like to recommend the Government from other countries and states to consider this inclusive approach when they do their next round of review of the UNCAC implementation.
Thank you very much for your kind attention.
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