Notes from the Implementation Review Group Meeting

30 November 2010, by Gillian Dell

Now here I sit in pristine white hallway of the IAEA building in front of the room where IRG delegates hold their meetings. (UNODC conference facilities are undergoing renovation thus the use of the International Atomic Energy Agency.) For most of the morning, many delegates were mingling about because “informals” (informal negotiations) were under way concerning a GRULAC Non Paper (unpublished paper) which was the main order of business at yesterday and today’s meetings. GRULAC is the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States.

The GRULAC Non paper was based on an Argentinian proposal and was entitled “Towards an appropriate role for technical assistance in the Implementation Review Mechanism.” It was about the centralisation of the UNCAC-related technical assistance process. It seems the proposal called for developing countries to be able to apply for UNCAC-related technical assistance at a central UNCAC facility. But the EU had concerns about centralisation of technical assistance decisions and development of a new bureaucracy. The latest news is that a compromise has been reached between a centralised and a decentralised approach-with a little of each.

Apart from that there is much discussion in the hallways about the UNCAC review process with some information “leaking out” as follows:

  • About 12 first-year countries (out of 28) have now submitted their self-assessment checklist responses. Brazil, Dominican Republic and Zambia have not yet completed theirs. Reportedly the Bangladesh Government has not been communicating in the process so far.
  • Most of these countries have reportedly agreed to publish their self-assessments – but no-one in UNODC can so far provide any detailed information about this.
  • Most countries have agreed to country visits and most of these are likely to take place in February or March 2011 (the first visit took place in Mongolia in November and was scheduled early because of considerations of weather.)
  • About 26 trilateral meetings are taking place here in Vienna alongside this IRG meeting to get the reviewers and reviewed countries acquainted with one another.

IRG discussion of the question of NGO observer status in the IRG is expected for tomorrow. One Nordic delegate said that the next IRG meeting (in May 2011) is required to be open to NGOs but it is uncertain whether this will be permitted. But anti-corruption goes hand-in-hand with transparency and civil society participation. And it’s important for UN treaty bodies to retain some credibility through consistency of word and deed, of law and practice.