Final round of negotiations in Vienna next week will be critical to ensure an effective global instrument against corruption
"The clearest way governments can prove their commitment to fighting corruption is by drafting and signing up to a strong global anti-corruption instrument," says Transparency International (TI), the leading global non-governmental organisation engaged in the fight against corruption.
"Governments have an historic opportunity to secure a UN Convention with teeth and global reach," said TI, ahead of the sixth and final drafting session of the United Nations Anti-Corruption Convention beginning in Vienna on 21 July. "The final stages of the drafting process will be crucial to determining whether the Convention is merely a marginal improvement in international co-operation, or represents a real breakthrough in harmonising anti-corruption laws and practices worldwide," said David Nussbaum, Managing Director of TI's International Secretariat.
Transparency International, which has been actively participating in the drafting process, urges governments to ensure that the Convention significantly enhances levels of international legal assistance, in order to facilitate the recovery and repatriation of stolen assets and the extradition of public officials who face corruption charges.
TI stresses that the Convention must address private sector bribery, since tolerance of corruption in this sector undermines public confidence in the private sector and can thwart sustainable development. On political corruption, TI urges governments to support and strengthen Article 10 of the Convention, requiring declarations of all significant financial donations to political parties, and argues that this article should be extended to include candidates as well as parties. TI also points to a need for the Convention to recognise the role of civil society in fighting corruption - both in the preamble and in the chapter on preventative measures.
TI argues for mandatory prevention measures to be included in the Convention. Such legally binding provisions are key to reducing levels of corruption and should address independent anti-corruption bodies; recruitment; hiring and promotion of civil servants; codes of conduct for public officials; public procurement and public financial management; and funding of political parties.
To ensure that the Convention's legally-binding provisions are fully implemented and that problems relating to interpretation are minimised, TI argues for effective monitoring mechanisms, including monitoring by civil society, to be included in the Convention.
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.
For TI's proposals to the negotiation sessions, see http://www.transparency.org/
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