27 June 2014, by Marie Terracol.
In 2009, States Parties of the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) adopted a review mechanism to check countries’ implementation of the Convention. Reviews of the provisions on criminalisation and international cooperation (UNCAC chapters III and IV) started in 2010.
To date, 70 countries have been reviewed and have received recommendations on how to improve their compliance with the UNCAC and on how to further their anti-corruption efforts. These reviews have proved useful in identifying weaknesses and gaps in national legislation and enforcement systems, but the question remains: what do countries do with those recommendations?
Countries agree to the recommendations made by the review before they are published: the review report is a product of negotiation between the country under review and the reviewers, resulting in a consensus on the recommendations put forward. From this perspective then, countries should have no problem with following up on the recommendations proposed.
Some civil society organisations have encouraged their government to follow-up on the UNCAC review recommendations.
In June 2013, Transparency International Bangladesh (TI-Bangladesh) organised a round-table with experts and government officials on “the progress made by Bangladesh in implementing the UNCAC” since 2011, using as a basis for discussion the findings of the “official” review and TI-Bangladesh’s parallel review.
Transparency International Bulgaria also conducted an UNCAC parallel review of compliance with the UNCAC in 2011 and decided to issue a follow-up report in 2014 to evaluate the progress made. The findings of this report were discussed at a round table with experts from all relevant institutions and academia.
Following up on the review recommendations is essential to reduce corruption and increase accountability. Without follow-up, the efforts put into the review itself will be lost.
In its 2013 UNCAC Progress Report, Transparency International recommended that governments prepare action plans within six months after country reviews to respond to those recommendations. Some countries have reportedly already done so. Other countries should follow their example.
Marie Terracol, UNCAC Coalition secretariat
- Note by the Secretariat on technical assistance in support of the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption, UNODC, CAC/COSP/IRG/2014/2, para 35.