UNCAC Coalition holds debrief for civil society on the outcomes of the UNGASS 2021 and ways forward

9 July 2021 –

On 6 July, 50 participants from civil society organisations and Vienna delegations joined the UNCAC Coalition for a virtual debrief on the recent first-ever UN Special Session Against Corruption (UNGASS) against corruption.

The meeting discussed the extent to which civil society demands are reflected in the UNGASS Political Declaration, as well as in the national high-level statements, and explored potential actions that civil society can now take to follow up on the UNGASS commitments.

It was noted that the Political Declaration – while often using vague language and lacking a proper follow-up mechanism – does strengthen some of the existing commitments of the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), particularly in the areas of prevention, criminalisation and beneficial ownership. However, the UNGASS did not initiate actions towards the establishment of any new normative frameworks or commitments.

Despite signalling very little progress in the fight against corruption, the Political Declaration nevertheless represents a new global consensus, complementing the UNCAC. Therefore, meeting participants were encouraged to build on the commitments and language of the declaration and the national statements in their future advocacy efforts to push for reforms and the implementation of commitments on the national level.

The upcoming UNCAC Conference of States Parties in December 2021 – where states will negotiate and adopt resolutions to further the UNCAC’s objectives – will be the next opportunity for civil society to hold governments accountable and urge them to implement and operationalize the commitments they made during the UNGASS.

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The UNCAC Coalition covered the UNGASS from June 2-4 through a live blog and on Twitter. We encourage national CSOs to carefully ‘fact-check’ the statement delivered by their country representative, to make sure countries are held accountable for their statements and commitments they declared. In this document, you will find the order of speakers and links to the recording of the sessions of the General debate.

In this submission the UNCAC Coalition made to the UNGASS preparatory process, you can find its key asks the Coalition was advocating for.