Transparency International welcomes the decision by the Convention’s ad hoc negotiating committee to include a mandatory provision ensuring civil society participation in anti-corruption efforts
"The UN's decision to make civil society participation a compulsory part of governments' anti-corruption policy is a positive first step," says Transparency International (TI), the global non-governmental organisation engaged in the fight against corruption.
The Ad Hoc Committee for the Negotiation of the UN Convention against Corruption decided yesterday on a mandatory provision in the text (Article 5) requiring State parties to "develop and implement or maintain effective, co-ordinated anti-corruption policies". The policies must enable "the participation of society, reflect the principles of the rule of law, integrity, transparency and accountability".
"It is significant that the UN draft text places a legal obligation on governments to allow for the participation of civil society in anti-corruption efforts," says Jeremy Pope, Executive Director of TI's Centre for Innovation and Research. "We were pleased by the strong statements made by a wide range of countries, including Germany, Austria, Croatia, Sudan, Syria, Morocco, Mexico, Russian Federation, Bulgaria, Nigeria, France, Netherlands, South Korea and Canada, underscoring the importance of civil society's role in fighting corruption," Pope said.
Success in passing Article 5 was achieved despite a substantial number of objections from countries opposed to including participation by civil society in the article.
TI views the participation of civil society as an essential component of any serious anti-corruption initiative. The ad hoc committee's decision on Article 5 is welcomed, but the real test will come later this week when delegates discuss Article 13, which deals with the role of civil society in depth. This article is in danger of being dramatically watered down or entirely deleted from the text of the Convention. TI urges governments not to hamstring the gains made yesterday.
For TI's proposals to the negotiation sessions, including specific proposals on Article 13 on civil society, see http://www.transparency.org/
Note to editors:
The UN Anti-Corruption Convention 6th Session takes place in Vienna on 21 July - 1 August, and the Convention launch is scheduled to take place in Mexico in December 2003.
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