16 March 2011, Gillian Dell.
There are 26 first year country reviews under way in the UNCAC review process, with country visits having taken place or expected in numerous countries including Finland, Togo, Mongolia, USA and many in the Americas. The review reports are expected be finalised before May 2011. So far three countries – Brazil, Rwanda and the United States – have agreed to have their self-assessment responses published on the UNODC website and are to be commended for this (the US responses were due to be placed online as this newsletter went to press). The Coalition is calling on all governments reviewed to follow this good example and to agree to country visits with opportunities for civil society representatives to meet review teams. The Coalition is also calling for the UNODC to publish information about the review process, including the schedule for country visits by review teams – to our knowledge this information is not so far published online.
The second session of the Implementation Review Group (IRG), which has oversight of the UNCAC review process, will take place on 30 May–3 June 2011, in Vienna. The body is composed of representatives of States Parties. Additionally, signatory states and intergovernmental organisations are permitted to attend as observers. At its May/ June meeting, the IRG is expected to discuss the experiences and results of the first year reviews. The meeting will also oversee the drawing of lots to select peer reviewers for the second year country reviews. Civil society organisations will be excluded from that IRG meeting pending a decision on CSO participation expected at the 4th Conference of States Parties (COSP) in Marrakesh in October 2011. It is crucial that CSOs be permitted to send a group of representatives to the IRG to officially present their findings about the review process and about national UNCAC implementation. The Coalition has called for governments to allow CSO participation at IRG meetings and will continue its advocacy ahead of the 4th COSP.