Fifth COSP

The Fifth Session of the UNCAC Conference of States Parties

Panama City, 25-29 November 2013.

A Time to Act

Image: Creative Commons, Flickr / theclyde

5th COSP Statements and Press Releases

5th COSP Newsletters

What Is the 5th UNCAC COSP and Why Is It Important?

Representatives from 167 States Parties to the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) will convene in Panama City from 25 to 29 November 2013 for the Fifth UNCAC Conference of States Parties (5th COSP). This biennial anti-corruption summit is the most important global event for checking progress on the UNCAC and for strengthening all efforts in the fight against corruption. This year, which marks the 10th anniversary adoption of the convention, more than a thousand government officials are expected to attend the summit, together with representatives of intergovernmental agencies and civil society organisations (CSOs). The secretariat for the UNCAC COSP is the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The agenda for the five-day meeting covers the prevention and criminalisation of corruption as well as enforcement, international cooperation, asset recovery and technical assistance. Numerous special events are planned alongside the COSP, organised by international institutions, and several reports and initiatives will also be launched.

UNCAC Coalition Statement

The UNCAC Coalition has prepared a statement with 18 recommendations for action by the UNCAC COSP to ensure that the UNCAC will have a stronger impact worldwide. The statement is available in the six official UN languages:

Arabic Chinese English French Russian Spanish

Coalition letter to UN GA President Ashe: MDGs will fail unless corruption is addressed

Image: Transparency International

To highlight the importance of the upcoming UNCAC summit, the UNCAC Coalition sent a letter to UN General Assembly President John Ashe on Wednesday, 25 November, 2013. In that letter, the Coalition outlined 18 recommendations for governments to take to strengthen their follow-up work on the UNCAC and its review process. The letter was sent to coincide with the General Assembly’s special events on the status of the current Millennium Development Goals as well as the post-2015 MDGs. In the letter, the Coalition’s Chair, Vincent Lazatin, pointed out:

“Corruption is no ordinary crime. It diminishes and often destroys the lives of millions of people around the world. It causes damage to people’s health, education, housing and environment. It undermines economic development and produces inequality and injustice. It runs counter to human rights and human dignity.”

What Needs to Happen at the 5th UNCAC COSP?

The UNCAC Coalition has also provided 18 recommendations to the UNCAC COSP. These call on States Parties to:

  • End secrecy practices that shield the corrupt
    The UNCAC emphasises the importance of transparency in the fight against corruption. However, many countries are far from providing the public access to information that is necessary to help this fight. Countries should introduce and pass legislation that provides full access to information and create public registers that document the real owners of companies.
  • Fix weaknesses in criminal law enforcement that result in leniency for acts of graft

    Image: Creative Commons, Flickr / 60 in 3

    Gaps in laws and numerous institutional and practical problems hinder law enforcement action against those who engage in corruption. Often these gaps occur because of a lack of political will to deal seriously with corruption. Stronger measures are needed in the fight against graft, from stricter rules to ensure sanctions that deter such behaviour to stronger guarantees for independent and well-resourced law enforcement authorities and judges.

  • Remove barriers that prevent national treasuries from recovering stolen assets abroad
    Despite the UNCAC’s comprehensive coverage of asset recovery, numerous barriers remain, slowing or blocking international asset recovery efforts. These range from procedural obstacles to concerns about whether returned assets will disappear again. These barriers can be reduced within the UNCAC framework through measures taken by “requesting” and “requested” countries.
  • Improve the review process to reduce delays, to require follow-up and to make it more transparent and inclusive
    The UNCAC process for reviewing country implementation of the convention is a major initiative that has progressed steadily since it started in 2010. Yet it is still lagging behind schedule and is conducted largely in a black box—with little public information available about when country reviews take place and who is involved. A country’s self-assessment and a full final report are not published unless the country authorises it, and so far, most countries have not taken those steps. Only executive summaries of the reports are published. In addition, no arrangements for a follow-up process have been made so far. Moreover, at international level, civil society organisations are excluded from UN discussions about the UNCAC, despite UNCAC language and Rules of Procedure that state they should be invited. All these deficiencies need to be addressed.

Image: Creative Commons, Flickr / The Malaysian Society for Transparency and Integrity

What Civil Society Organisations and the Public Can Do

  • Write to your government officials to ask these questions and send us their response:

    • Will they support the UNCAC Coalition’s recommendations? Which ones?
    • What are their goals for the 5th UNCAC Conference of States Parties; and what advances in anti-corruption efforts do they hope to achieve there?
    • What are they doing to implement their UNCAC obligations?
  • Post your views on anti-corruption and the UNCAC through social media outlets and contribute posts to the UNCAC Coalition blog.

Find out more

A global civil society network promoting the implementation and monitoring of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC)