Governments must ensure follow-through on key anti-corruption commitments, says Transparency International
Transparency International (TI) today called on governments to give priority to the fight against corruption and to reach consensus on concrete proposals to review whether countries covered by the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) are taking sufficient action to fulfil their commitments.
“Signing up to treaties is a relatively easy step in most countries; the hard part is to ensure that words are followed by deeds. A solid review mechanism is vital if government pledges are to produce results,” said Gillian Dell, Conventions Programme Manager at Transparency International. “That means a fair, open and effective system for checking that action is taken on commitments.”
Specific proposals on the structure of the review process are included in a TI report submitted to the UNCAC Secretariat ahead of a meeting of an intergovernmental working group at the United Nations in Vienna on 29 to 31 August. The report seeks to bring governments closer to agreement on the overall structure of the review process and the assignment of powers and responsibilities in relation to it.
The recommendations for a review mechanism were compiled following wide consultations with governments, international organisations and civil society organisations over a four-month period, and call for a structure that includes a credible review body, a strong secretariat, a flexible and cost-effective system of review and an open process inclusive of civil society views.
TI’s report calls for an introductory phase for the review programme in 2008-09 involving information gathering, promotion of key articles, pilot programmes to develop methodologies for conducting reviews, technical assistance by donors to developing countries and development of procedures for cooperation with monitoring organisations for other conventions that may overlap. A successful review process also requires adequate and dependable funding and the active involvement of civil society and the private sector.
The country review process should begin in earnest in 2010, covering key points from each section of the UNCAC agreement. One aim of TI’s recommendations is to establish an inclusive roadmap to ensure that a first round of reviews covering over 140 countries is completed by the end of 2014.
The UNCAC is a landmark global treaty that obligates governments to counter corruption through prevention, criminalisation, international cooperation and technical assistance. It contains groundbreaking provisions on asset recovery. At the first meeting of signatory nations in 2006, governments agreed that monitoring was necessary and set up the expert working group that will meet next week to discuss the structure of the mechanism and its terms of reference. The working group is open to representatives of all interested signatories and parties. The proposals agreed upon at the working group level will then be presented, discussed and voted on at the second Conference of States Parties in early 2008.
The first session of the UNCAC Conference of States Parties took place in Jordan in December 2006, where governments agreed on the need for a monitoring process and established the working group that will meet next week to discuss the structure of the mechanism and its terms of reference. It also set up a working group on asset recovery that will meet in Vienna on 27 – 28 August. The two groups are tasked with preparing proposals for the second session of the Conference of States Parties in Bali, Indonesia from 28 January – 1 February 2008.
Transparency International is the global civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption.
Download the TI Recommendations for Review Mechanism for UN Convention Against Corruption in English.
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