The Sixth Session of the UNCAC Conference of States Parties (6th COSP)
St. Petersburg, Russia, 2–6 November 2015
Prep Meeting for Civil Society Organisations, 1 November 2015
Conference Documents and Outcomes
What was the 6th UNCAC COSP and why is it important?
From 2 to 6 November 2015 representatives of many of the 178 States Parties to the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) met in St Petersburg for the 6th UNCAC Conference of States Parties (6th COSP). This biennial anti-corruption gathering is the most important global event for checking progress on the UNCAC and for strengthening efforts in the fight against corruption. About 1,000 government officials attended the meeting, together with representatives of intergovernmental agencies and civil society organisations (CSOs).
The formal provisional agenda for the five-day meeting covered the review mechanism, corruption prevention, asset recovery, international cooperation and technical assistance.In addition, an item on cooperation with relevant non-governmental organisations was on the agenda for the first time – this was of crucial importance for civil society. The Russian Federation as the host country gave high priority to the role of the private sector in helping to counter corruption. One of the draft resolutions considered by the COSP was “Partnership of state and business in the prevention of and fight against corruption”.
Civil society groups organised several side events, including panels on the UNCAC Review Mechanism, civil society participation, grand corruption, social damages, procurement and climate change.
CSO representatives are allowed to attend the COSP as observers, which gives them the opportunity to attend plenaries, make oral statements and make written submissions, as well as hold side events. Guidelines for the participation of CSOs can be found here.
UNCAC Coalition statement: Making the UNCAC work
The UNCAC Coalition has prepared a statement with 20 recommendations for action by the UNCAC COSP (177 States Parties and UNODC) 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, Spanish and Russian.
UNCAC Review Transparency Pledge
The best guarantee of successful implementation of UNCAC is an effective review process. Transparency and participation are key elements needed for effectiveness. During the first review cycle between 2010 and 2015 States Parties made a good start in that direction but could have done more. Consequently, the UNCAC Coalition is inviting States Parties to sign an UNCAC Review Transparency Pledge, to commit to higher standards of transparency and inclusion of civil society in the UNCAC review process.
What the Coalition was advocating for at the 6th UNCAC COSP
- Grand corruption
States Parties should recognise that the crime grand corruption causes grave harm to human rights and development and requires international attention and action. They should adopt or reinforce measures to check grand corruption. Both Peru and Transparency International submitted papers on this subject for consideration of the conference.
- Asset recovery
Progress with asset recovery efforts remains slow. The Coalition called for the COSP to agree on steps to improve processes for the repatriation of the proceeds of corruption to the country from which they were taken or that suffered damage as a result of the commission of the underlying corruption offences. The Coalition also called for States Parties to agree on steps to ensure transparency and accountability in the return of assets. The Coalition submitted a paper on this subject for consideration of the conference.
- Civil society participation in anti-corruption efforts
In light of restrictions on civil society anti-corruption activities in an increasing number of countries, the Coalition called for the COSP to give renewed recognition to the importance of civil society participation in anti-corruption efforts and the need to create and maintain a safe and enabling environment in which civil society can operate free from hindrance and insecurity. Transparency International submitted a paper on this subject.
- Review Mechanism
The first cycle of reviews was very advanced at the time of the COSP, with 110 reviews already completed as of 21 October 2015. (There were 121 by the end of 2015.) The Coalition called for the COSP to establish a process of follow-up to the first cycle of reviews to ensure that attention is paid to the review recommendations. States Parties should also agree to proceed with the second cycle of the UNCAC review process, including country visits, civil society participation and the publication of key review information, including timetables, self-assessments and full country reports (53 full reports have been published on the UNODC website to date.). It also called for adequate funding to be provided for the review mechanism and for technical assistance requirements identified by the reviews.
- Civil society observer status in COSP subsidiary bodies
Representatives of civil society organizations have been excluded from participating as observers in COSP subsidiary bodies such as the Implementation Review Group and the Working Groups on Prevention and Asset Recovery. A separate briefing for NGOs was provided as a substitute. The Coalition called for the COSP to recognise that this practice of meeting in secrecy is counterproductive in terms of the objectives of the UNCAC and it should take steps to open up UNCAC meetings. Finland submitted a paper on this subject to assist with reaching a compromise.
6th COSP written submissions by civil society organisations
Written statements submitted by the UNCAC Coalition:
- UNCAC Coalition Statement
- UNCAC Review Transparency Pledge
- Implementation of UNCAC Chapter V Asset Recovery
- Addressing Corruption in an Era of Climate Change
Written statements submitted by Transparency International:
- Recommendations for Robust Action against Grand Corruption
- Executive Summary of Report on Civil Society Participation in Anti-corrupion Efforts
- Executive Summary of Parallel Review Report by Transparency International Turkey
6th COSP oral statements in plenary by UNCAC Coalition and member organisations
- Manzoor Hasan, Chair, UNCAC Coalition—general plenary statement
- Miklos Marschall, Deputy Managing Director, Transparency International—general plenary statement
- Christine Clough, Program Manager, Global Financial Integrity—statement in prevention plenary
- Maud Perdriel-Vaissiere, Advocacy Adviser, UNCAC Coalition—statement in asset recovery plenary
- Denis Primakov, Chief Lawyer, Transparency International-Russia—statement in asset recovery plenary (in Russian)
- Juanita Olaya, Legal Adviser, UNCAC Coalition—statement in review mechanism plenary
- Gillian Dell, Head of Conventions Unit, Transparency International—statement in review mechanism plenary
- Peter Tausz, Advocacy Adviser, UNCAC Coalition—statement in plenary on relations with IGOs and NGOs
- Elena Panfilova, Vice Chair, Transparency International—statement in plenary on relations with IGOs and NGOs (in Russian)
Resolution L.3: Promoting the use of information and communication technologies for the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption
Resolution L.4: Prevention of corruption by promoting transparent, accountable and efficient public service delivery through the application of best practices and technological innovations
- Revised draft resolution rev 1–Azerbaijan, Brazil, Cambodia, Jordan, Malaysia, Philippines, Qatar, State of Palestine, Sudan, Turkey and Viet Nam
- Revised draft resolution rev 2–Algeria, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Cambodia, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, State of Palestine, Sudan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Viet Nam.
Resolution L.6: Strengthening the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption in small island developing States
- Revised draft resolution rev 1–Mauritius
- Revised draft resolution rev 2–Fiji, Guatemala, Haiti, Mauritius and Nauru
Resolution L.8: Enhancing the use of civil and administrative proceedings against corruption, including through international cooperation, in the framework of the United Nations Convention against Corruption
- Revised draft resolution rev 1–Azerbaijan, Brazil, Chile, Guatemala and Paraguay:
- Revised draft resolution rev 2–Azerbaijan, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, Guatemala, Paraguay, Russian Federation, Sao Tome and Principe, South Africa, Timor-Leste and United Republic of Tanzania
Resolution L.9: Follow-up to the Marrakech declaration on the prevention of Corruption
- Revised draft resolution rev 1–El Salvador, Guatemala, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco*, Saudi Arabia and State of Palestine
- Revised draft resolution rev 2–Azerbaijan, Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Peru, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, State of Palestine and Sudan
Resolution L.10: Continuation of the review of implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption
- Revised draft resolution rev 1–Switzerland
Resolution L.11: St. Petersburg statement on promoting public-private partnership in the prevention of and fight against corruption