The UNCAC CoSP 9: a summary in pictures

31 January 2022 – 

The 9th session of the UNCAC Conference of States Parties attracted more than 2,100 participants from 155 countries, some 380 CSOs registered to follow in person and online – the final list of participants is yet to be published by UNODC.

As part of our series of blog posts to conclude and reflect on the 9th CoSP, we have published a summary of CoSP resolutions as well as important takeaways from the plenary discussion. This post intends to present a visual summary of major activities and events from the point of view of the UNCAC Coalition and its members.  

UNCAC Coalition staff: Vienna Hub and Regional Coordinators

Pre-CoSP civil society orientation briefing 

The day before the CoSP, UNODC and the UNCAC Coalition hosted a joint dedicated preparatory session for civil society. Following welcoming words from the Egyptian ambassador to the UN in Vienna, UNODC representatives provided an overview of the CoSP proceedings and discussed the foreseen role of CSOs during the session.

Following this introduction on the technical proceedings of the Conference, Coalition staff and civil society representatives discussed key anti-corruption aspects, such as Beneficial Ownership Transparency, Open Contracting, Civic Space and Whistleblower Protection in lightning talks. Participants then broke out into small thematic groups to discuss advocacy plans and possible action ahead of the conference. 

Opening panel during the pre-CoSP briefing for civil society:  Mohamed H. El-Molla, Permanent Representative of Egypt to the United Nations (Vienna); John Brandolino, Director, Division for Treaty Affairs, UNODC; Brigitte Strobel-Shaw, Chief, Corruption and Economic Crime Branch (CEB), UNODC; Livia Krings, Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer, CEB, UNODC; Mathias Huter, UNCAC Coalition; Moderator: Mirella Dummar Frahi, Chief, Civil Society Unit, UNODC
The Coalition’s MENA regional coordinator Karim Belhaj Aissa discussed challenges of access to information in the region

The UNCAC Coalition stand

The Coalition made 26 written submissions to the Conference, including thematic papers on civic space, strengthening the UNCAC review mechanism and follow-up to the June 2021 UNGASS against corruptionrecommendations produced by the Coalition’s Working Groups; submissions on regional civil society priorities, as well as summaries of civil society reports on UNCAC implementation in specific countries. 

We also distributed our conference newsletter “The CoSP Observer“.  At the Coalition’s stand, we engaged with country delegates, handed out and discussed civil society’s submissions to the conference.

Country delegates initiated a joint photo with civil society representatives, in support of civil society participation, following the exclusion of eight CSOs from the Conference

Our interactive activities drew a lot of attention: We invited participants to share anti-corruption best practice approaches, as well as their anti-corruption vision for 2022.

We also invited Conference participants to play UNCAC Bowling and a role game that put the player in the role of an investigator seeking to identify the individuals hiding behind a web of shell companies. 


Plenary discussions

In the CoSP plenary, States Parties delivered statements on UNCAC implementation and shared their views according to the different agenda items. CSOs also had the opportunity to address the conference in the plenary. The UNCAC Coalition and several members delivered a number of statements, including during the high-level general discussion

CoSP 9 plenary: General Discussion
Mathias Huter, Managing Director of the UNCAC Coalition, delivered a statement during the general discussion

CoSP side events 

Civil society organized, moderated, and participated in many of the 65 CoSP side events. These events  showcased civil society’s contributions to UNCAC implementation, discussed good practices and challenges, and highlighted the need for further action. Click here to watch recordings of side events, including the Coalition-led side event “Strengthening the UNCAC Implementation Review Mechanism.” 

UNCAC Coalition side event on “Strengthening the UNCAC Implementation Review Mechanism”, co-organized with Switzerland and Honduras
“Multi-sectorial partnership to advance policy reform based on the UNCAC IRM”, a side event organized by Honduras and the UNCAC Coalition
“An international overview of whistleblower laws and best practices”: a side event hosted by the Government Accountability Project (GAP), moderated by Coalition Vice-Chair Samantha Feinstein (GAP)

Daily CSO debriefings 

At the end of each day, the Coalition facilitated a debriefing with CSO representatives, providing a space to share thoughts, information about activities, and updates from the plenary and the resolutions negotiations. These wrap-up sessions were also an opportunity to coordinate further advocacy actions, largely focusing on the issue of the narrowing civic space at the conference. 

Civil society daily debriefing at the NGO lounge

Defending civic space 

One of the most controversial issues during the 9th CoSP was the unfounded and arbitrary objection of Turkey to the participation of eight prominent anti-corruption CSOs (none of them from or operating in Turkey). The Coalition together with Transparency International issued a press release and engaged extensively during the plenary discussion and with country delegations, in an attempt to get the Conference to reverse the exclusion the organizations.

Despite the support for civil society participation in the UNCAC CoSP expressed by many countries, the Conference failed to reject the objections. However, the CoSP president suggested that States Parties engage in “informal consultations” on a “mechanism” to seek a long-term solution to the ongoing issue of counties’ objections to CSOs participation. These consultations are expected to begin in the first quarter of 2022. 

During the plenary discussion, Gillian Dell from Transparency International called on States Parties to overturn the objection to CSOs and defend civic space
For a full overview of the UNCAC Coalition's CoSP 9 outputs , visit our dedicated CoSP 9 webpage