Second review cycle: Nine months in

11 April 2017

Nine months into the second review cycle of the UNCAC review process, we have been asking members in the countries participating about their experiences so far.

News from Albania

from Sotiraq Hroni, Institute for Democracy and Mediation

There was little civil society engagement in the first cycle of the UNCAC review process in Albania, with the exception of a UNDP supported event. The Institute for Democracy and Mediation (IDM) was not involved in that review, which produced a report on Albania in 2013.

In the last three to four years anti-corruption and integrity-building efforts at the national and local level have developed, but the Office of the National Coordinator against Corruption is under staffed and lacks minimum resources. In a whitepaper (delivered to OSCE in January 2017 to be shared with the government of Albania) IDM argued and proposed that a National Agency against Corruption approved by parliament should be established.

Regarding the second cycle review, there is scarcity of information on government plans for the review process and for UNCAC implementation. To our knowledge, the self-assessment report has not yet been produced, and there is no information on the timetable when it will be published or for the review process as a whole.

There is not yet a functional synergy between government and civil society organisations on the UNCAC review. The importance of civil society participation should be emphasised and the absence of civil society from UNCAC monitoring should be addressed. The role of civil society might become more visible after the publication of the country’s self-assessment report and the report of the review team.

The UNCAC has not received much attention from civil society or the public, despite the fact that Albania faces many corruption issues. There is much work to be done and civil society organisations need to:

  1. Better scrutinise UNCAC and the process of national implementation.
  2. Cooperate with each other at the local and state levels for better monitoring the implementation at all levels.

News from Mauritius

from Rajen Bablee, Transparency Mauritius

Mauritius submitted its self-assessment report for the second cycle of the UNCAC review process in October 2016, and the country focal point has received comments from the UNODC Secretariat and from the two countries, Panama and Mauritania, which are evaluating the country. Discussions between stakeholders on the UNCAC review started early last year and continued at a meeting on Monday 10 April 2017 through an initiative led by the Independent Commission against Corruption (ICAC). These further discussions follow comments made by the reviewers, which are starting their country visit and will be interviewing stakeholders from 17-21 April 2017.

Earlier in 2017, Transparency Mauritius (TM) collaborated with the ICAC in a workshop aiming to sensitise and harmonise the strategy of civil society organisations in the fight against corruption. Around 50 people attended the workshop. The collaboration between the ICAC and TM is a continuing process and follows a joint event for Anti-Corruption Day on 9 December 2016. In the presence of the President of the Republic and the representative of the UNDP in Mauritius, ICAC and TM launched a series of posters, which are part of a national sensitisation campaign.

News from Sri Lanka

from Ósk Sturludóttir, Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL)

The first cycle of the UNCAC review process in Sri Lanka took place under the previous government, which was wary of civil society organisations and as a consequence there was very limited, if any, civil society participation at the time.

The current government is more open to civil society input, which was reflected in a small way in the second review cycle. The government identified the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) to act as the lead agency on the UNCAC review and to coordinate and oversee the country self-assessment. CIABOC is an independent commission with a mandate that covers three pieces of legislation: the Bribery Act, the CIABOC Act and the Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Act.

Sri Lanka submitted its self-assessment in November 2016. Before submission, several civil society organisations, including TISL, were consulted and invited to make comments. However, although TISL made comments to the self-assessment in writing, such comments appear not to have been incorporated into the self-assessment that was submitted on behalf of the Sri Lankan government by CIABOC.

Subsequently, in March 2017, the UNCAC review team’s on-site visit took place, conducted by experts from the reviewing countries Brunei and Palau. One session was dedicated to consulting civil society on the level of their consultation and participation.

TISL is considering the possibility of submitting a shadow report on UNCAC implementation, based on our observations and the data gleaned from our interactions with the state through the application of the Right to Information Act and the Open Government Partnership initiative, among others. A comprehensive study of UNCAC and its implications, as well as how it can be a useful advocacy point in terms of certain legal reforms, would be a useful tool for civil society organisations involved.