The 12th International Anti-Corruption Conference in Guatemala City calls on the Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) to adopt an effective follow-up monitoring programme at its 10-14 December 2006 meeting in Amman, Jordan.
Conventions without effective implementation are just pieces of paper.
UNCAC has the unique potential to become the global framework for combating corruption, a major step beyond prior conventions. Ratification by 80 countries in less than three years shows that UNCAC has impressive momentum.
UNCAC’s unifying legal framework provides strong leverage for civil society to press for greater transparency and accountability, including public access to information on government finances, open procurement and whistleblower protection. UNCAC includes ground-breaking provisions on the recovery of stolen assets.
Transforming conventions into action programmes is a difficult challenge, requiring strong commitment and prolonged effort. This challenge is particularly difficult in view of UNCAC’s comprehensive scope and its signature by 140 countries.
Follow-up monitoring is the key to success. Adoption of a follow-up monitoring programme at the Conference of States Parties will send a clear message that the parties are committed to making UNCAC work as the world’s pre-eminent weapon against corruption. Failure to approve a monitoring programme would undermine UNCAC’s momentum.
An effective UNCAC monitoring programme will require a strong secretariat with dependable funding from the UN budget. Monitoring should be conducted transparently, with civil society involvement. Close coordination with monitoring programmes of other anti-corruption conventions will help avoid duplication of efforts.
The monitoring programme should begin in 2007 with a survey of implementation, including technical assistance needs and with pilot programmes to encourage implementation of UNCAC’s provisions on asset recovery, transparent public finance and open procurement.
Technical assistance to enable developing countries to implement the Convention must be funded by the international donor community. A working group with donor agencies should be organised to encourage adequate and coordinated funding.
Because corruption is a global threat, only a global instrument will fully address it. The UN Convention against Corruption will become that global instrument through real implementation ensured by effective monitoring.