UN laments gaps in implementing convention vs corruption

Pia Lee-Brago – The Philippine Star

November 2, 2023 | 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Gaps remain in the implementation of the world’s first and only legally binding anti-corruption instrument, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said.

The United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) enjoys near-universal adherence by governments, with 190 parties, including the Philippines.

UNCAC seeks to prevent and criminalize corruption while promoting international cooperation, the recovery and return of stolen assets, technical assistance and information exchange.

Governments, international organizations, civil society, youth and the private sector gathered in Vienna on Tuesday to mark the 20th anniversary of UNCAC.

The conference highlighted the convention’s transformation of the anti-corruption landscape over the past two decades. International cooperation has helped return $4.3 billion in corruption proceeds to the countries from which they were stolen since 2010.

Tools like the implementation review mechanism, under which each state-party to UNCAC is reviewed by two peers, have helped governments identify more than 9,000 gaps in the implementation of the convention and over 4,000 technical assistance needs.

UNODC’s Regional Anti-Corruption Platforms and Anti-Corruption Hubs have helped state parties implement UNCAC more rapidly through the sharing of good practices and challenges.

The Global Network of Anti-Corruption Law Enforcement Authorities, meanwhile, connects 172 authorities from 98 countries.

“Yet corruption persists. The anniversary event underscored where gaps remain in UNCAC’s implementation,” UNODC said. “A lack of effective preventive strategies and policies continues to weaken public institutions and perpetuates the tolerance of corruption as an accepted norm.”

United Nations data reveal that between 2015-2021, 20 percent of people worldwide who access a public service reported having paid a bribe to do so. Lower-income countries bear the burden of corruption more heavily. The prevalence of bribery was 37.6 percent in low-income countries, versus 7.2 percent in high-income countries between 2011 to 2020.

UNODC said “achieving efficient cooperation and recovery of proceeds of corruption in cases that span international borders can be complex and challenging.”

“For two decades, the UNCAC has stood as a resonant global commitment to fight corruption and as a highly effective platform to carry out that fight,” said Ghada Waly, executive director of UNODC. “As our global framework in the face of corruption, the UNCAC is vital for shared global aspirations.”

The UNODC underscored that the poor, the marginalized and the vulnerable suffer most from corruption as it urged parties to the convention to stamp out corruption to ramp up transparency and anti-corruption efforts.

Corruption, the UNODC said, weakens national institutions, breeds inefficiency and deflects resources away from essential services such as health care and education.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *