Too Big to Fail: A Concerted Push for a Stronger UNCAC

15 November 2013, by Vincent Lazatin.

Ten years after the adoption of the landmark UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), we take stock of what has been accomplished and look forward to what has yet to be achieved. A decade ago, the convention held out a great promise, that under a common legal framework, and with governments working with citizens, we could actually defeat the scourge of corruption. Indeed, around the world, using the UNCAC as the framework, countries have made fighting corruption a priority. We have seen steady, albeit slow, progress in many areas. We have seen the convention’s translation into national legislation and institutional change.

Like a super-typhoon, corruption can affect whole populations, and leave them devastated and destitute in its wake. For those people whose lives are being destroyed or diminished by large- and small-scale corruption, progress is too slow and momentum too small. With the urgency and sense of purpose that attends relief efforts to survivors of natural disasters, we, too, must move with speed to protect citizens from the debilitating effects of the man-made calamity of corruption.

The UN Convention against Corruption and efforts to counter corruption should be given the highest priority by States Parties. Unlike natural disasters, man-made ones like corruption can be averted. The convention provides all the necessary tools and preventive measures to cut down a storm before it begins. If we fail to contain corruption, all our other efforts to ensure a sustainable and equitable world will fail.

That is why the Coalition is calling on the 5th Conference of States Parties (COSP) to demonstrate the strong political resolve that is needed more than ever to fight corruption, and to adopt robust resolutions that advance international anti-corruption efforts. As they have in the last four COSPs, Coalition representatives will be attending the fifth conference in Panama City to show its resolve in being part of the solution. We are partners in the fight. We want the conference to succeed.

Happy birthday UNCAC!

About Vincent Lazatin

Vincent Lazatin is the chair of the UNCAC Coalition and the executive director of the Toward Transparency Network in the Philippines.