Letter to the President of the United Nations General Assembly

25 September 2013.

Mr. John William Ashe
President of the UN General Assembly 68th session
United Nations
First Avenue at 46th Street
New York, NY 10017, USA

Dear UN General Assembly President Ashe,

We are writing to you on behalf of the UNCAC Coalition regarding today’s UN General Assembly “Special Event towards Achieving the Millennium Development Goals”. The UNCAC Coalition, a network of over 350 civil society organisations located in more than 100 countries, would like to take this opportunity to emphasize to you the role that corruption plays in blocking the attainment of the MDGs and the importance of strengthening implementation of the landmark UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).

As you know, corruption is no ordinary crime. It diverts an enormous flow of public funds that could be used to reduce maternal deaths and child mortality, ensure education for all, provide clean drinking water and sanitation and reduce the damaging effects of climate change. Corruption diminishes and often destroys the lives of millions of people around the world. It undermines economic development and leads to inequality and injustice. It runs counter to human rights and human dignity.

To achieve the MDGs, it is essential for states to step up their efforts to prevent and fight corruption. It is also vital that the debate on post-2015 MDGS include goals on eliminating corruption. The UNCAC, adopted by the UN General Assembly ten years ago, provides the key framework for global action against corruption. Since its adoption, it has been ratified by 167 states. The Fifth session of the Conference of States Parties to the UNCAC will meet 25 to 29 November 2013 in Panama, and should ensure strong follow-up on implementation of the convention. We urge the UN General Assembly to encourage the Panama conference to take the necessary steps to strengthen and build momentum for UNCAC effectiveness.

On behalf of the UNCAC Coalition, we are sending you the attached proposals for action at the conference that we believe will help to achieve progress within the framework of UNCAC and, ultimately, the global fight against corruption. The conference provides a forum for states to agree on action to end the secrecy practices that shield the corrupt and to devise plans on how to fix weaknesses in criminal law enforcement that lead to leniency for corruption offenders. States should also remove barriers that prevent government treasuries from recovering stolen assets held abroad.

It is essential that the Panama summit advances international anti-corruption work, including ensuring technical assistance to countries that require it. We hope that the UN General Assembly can play a leading role in promoting this outcome.

Yours sincerely,

Vincent Lazatin
UNCAC Coalition Coordination Committee

Gillian Dell
UNCAC Coalition