Remarks at the High-Level Special Event "Towards universal implementation of the UNCAC: The Institutional Integrity Initiative and the implementation review mechanism"

Doha, 15 April 2015, Yury Fedotov.

This post was originally published on the UNODC website.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good afternoon. I am glad we have the opportunity to meet here to discuss the key issue of strengthening implementation of the UN Convention against Corruption.

Corruption remains a pervasive threat to international development and security, and fuels organized crime. It undermines the rule of law and represents a major hindrance to sustainable economic growth.

The focus of this event is therefore of great relevance to the goals of this Congress, and is also very timely in light of the forthcoming Conference of the States Parties in St. Petersburg in November.

UNCAC entered into force in December 2005 and remains the sole global binding international instrument addressing corruption.

It is currently nearing universal ratification and has 174 Parties.

Our event today seeks to take a critical look at two separate, and yet closely related, efforts aimed advancing UNCAC from universal applicability to universal implementation.

One is the implementation review mechanism for UNCAC, which States parties have created to hold themselves and each other accountable to their commitments.

The other is an effort by the UN Organizations, Funds and Programmes, namely the Institutional Integrity Initiative, which aims to apply the principles of UNCAC to the UN system.

The Convention itself does not contain a clearly specified review mechanism.

Therefore, it was a great breakthrough that, at its third session in Doha in 2009, the Conference of the States Parties adopted resolution 3/1, creating a robust peer review mechanism, which represented the first of its kind for a UN Convention.

The review mechanism provides the means for countries to assess their performance, identify potential gaps in national anti-corruption laws and practices, and develop action plans to strengthen implementation of the Convention domestically.

Two review cycles of five years each have been agreed.

The ongoing first cycle addresses the implementation of Chapters III and IV of the Convention on criminalization and law enforcement, and on international cooperation in criminal matters.

Roughly 80 reviews have been completed, and more than 120 countries have already received a country visit, or engaged in another form of direct dialogue with their peer reviewers.

The second cycle, scheduled to be launched this year, will focus on Chapters II and V of the UNCAC, concerning preventive measures and asset recovery.

The Mechanism is achieving tangible results. We have a whole range of countries reporting on decisive actions they have taken in order to advance implementation of the Convention, following their countries’ review.

Reviews also help in identifying implementation gaps and technical assistance needs, as well as good practice examples.

This provides an opportunity to effectively engage an ever-growing community of countries in peer learning processes and technical cooperation.

Through the Mechanism and related training, we are creating an international community of anti-corruption experts, and we are both professionalising and de-politicizing the fight against corruption.

At the same time, the continuous analytical work carried out by the Secretariat allows us to identify common challenges and, together with other bilateral and multi-lateral technical assistance providers, to develop ever more targeted tools and programmes to help addressing them.

With the first cycle nearing completion, it is an opportune time to examine the successes, challenges and lessons learned.

The first panellist from the Secretariat will open a discussion on these experiences.

Recognizing the great strides taken by States in the fight against corruption, the United Nations has sought to complement this commitment through the Institutional Integrity Initiative.

Started in 2007 and led by UNODC, the Initiative aims to align the integrity rules and regulations of the UN and affiliated organizations with the principles of UNCAC.

It was endorsed by the UN Chief Executives Board, as well as by the General Assembly, the G20 and the Conference of the States Parties to UNCAC.

The Institutional Integrity Initiative report we are presenting here today is based on responses received from every one of the UN system organizations and agencies in the CEB, and highlights the efforts undertaken to enhance internal control and anti-corruption measures.

The report demonstrates our firm commitment to practicing what we preach, and I would like to take the opportunity to thank all CEB members.

I am confident that today’s event will provide further impetus to these efforts and to the implementation review mechanism as we move towards the November Conference of the States Parties in St. Petersburg.

Thank you.