29 July 2015, by Manzoor Hasan.
This is the time of year when members of the UNCAC Coalition and others prepare for the upcoming Conference of the States Parties (COSP) in St. Petersburg whilst learning from the valuable insights gained during the Implementation Review Group (IRG) civil society briefing in Vienna. One of these insights is the need for continued advocacy for civil society participation in UNCAC-related bodies.
This post-Marrakesh (4th COSP) compromise on the issue of civil society participation at the IRG was meant to encourage confidence-building through dialogue with civil society organisations (CSOs), but consists of briefings on the “margins” of IRG meetings.
The UNCAC Coalition has actively participated in these briefings, and starting with the successful Town Hall meeting in June 2012 these sessions have proved to be both constructive and engaging. The UNCAC Coalition believes that the process has been participatory and has served its purpose very effectively. A number of recommendations have been put forward during these briefings, and the UNCAC Coalition is eager to play its advocacy role in order to foster a meaningful dialogue among the main stakeholders of the UNCAC.
But the UNCAC Coalition also believes that the time is right to move forward. We need greater participation of CSOs to ensure transparency and inclusiveness in the UNCAC Review Mechanism.
The UNCAC Coalition calls for civil society observers at the IRG meetings.
Article 13 and other provisions of the UNCAC state that transparency and participation of civil society are critical to the fight against corruption. The UN Office of Legal Affairs also issued a legal opinion in 2010, which reinforced the UNCAC Coalition’s position on participation.
The UNCAC Coalition strongly urges movement in this direction, and feels confident that the Coalition members will not be disappointed by decisions taken on future civil society participation. We eagerly await any change, but in the meantime will continue with the important task of raising awareness globally on the importance of the UNCAC.
About Manzoor Hasan
Manzoor Hasan is Chair of the UNCAC Coalition. In 2006, Mr Hasan became the Founding Director of the Institute of Governance Studies, BRAC University, and since 2011 IGS’ Advisor. He has been an active member of civil society in Bangladesh for over two decades.