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Deadlock in Vienna talks imperils UN anti-corruption convention

Seven days of government negotiations in Vienna have failed to resolve differences over the establishment of an implementation review mechanism for the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). Failure of the Vienna talks is a major setback as it casts serious doubt over the possibility of an effective mechanism to review the implementation of anti-corruption commitments at the summit meeting of the 137 parties to the Convention to be held in November.

“Government leaders must resolve the present deadlock that derails efforts to implement international anti-corruption programmes, including attempts to regain stolen assets and achieve justice for victims of corruption,” said Cobus de Swardt, Managing Director at Transparency International (TI).

The credibility of UNCAC would be badly impaired because a review mechanism is essential to promote country implementation of the Convention's requirements. These include the criminalisation of a wide range of acts including bribery, embezzlement of public funds, money-laundering and obstruction of justice. If appropriate legislation is passed and monitored, these acts are criminalised and the essential building blocks for more accountable states are set.

Signatory states recognise that a mechanism to review country implementation is necessary to make UNCAC successful. A large majority of governments supports an effective review mechanism, but a minority has blocked agreement on key features of the review process including civil society participation and transparency through publication of country reports.

TI, in cooperation with a broad international coalition of civil society organisations, will closely follow developments and present constructive proposals in coming weeks.

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Gypsy Guillén Kaiser
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