UN Convention against Corruption review mechanism: a flawed step forward
At the end of a week-long meeting, the Conference of State Parties to the UN Convention against Corruption in Doha has agreed a review mechanism that falls short of effectively tackling the devastating effects of corruption.
While acknowledging the importance of adopting a review mechanism, and the efforts of the many governments who are committed to the success of this Convention, the UNCAC Civil Society Coalition (Coalition) is disappointed that this mechanism does not adequately reflect transparency, inclusiveness and effectiveness as called for by the G-20 leaders in their September statement.
The Coalition had called for an effective review mechanism, which would have ensured governments fulfilled their obligations under the treaty. More specifically, the Coalition clearly called for full publication of country reports, meaningful participation of civil society organizations, and in-country review visits.
The adopted mechanism has only made non-mandatory provisions for governments to receive input from civil society, instead of ensuring that these inputs are given to independent reviewers.
Going forward, the Coalition expects most governments will permit country visits and the publication of reports. Civil society must continue to press their governments to fulfill their obligations under the Convention. Opting out sends a strong signal of lack of transparency and accountability, and puts the spotlight on those who choose to opt out.
On the implementation review group, instead of an effective review body, it provides for a group of unlimited size which could prove unmanageable. In addition the group will not be reviewing country reports.
The Conference also adopted a weak statement on asset recovery that failed to advance key issues. It did not press signatories to comply with Convention mandates on misuse of corporate vehicles, and non-conviction based asset seizure.
The Coalition will continue to monitor the situation very closely, in order to ensure that UNCAC lives up to its potential to become a global framework for overcoming the devastating effects of corruption.