Major UN conference underscores universal stake in ending corruption

No country, region or community is immune to corruption, a serious crime that can undermine social and economic development in all societie. Photo: UNODC

30 November 2013 – The rule of law, governance, profits and livelihoods all suffer from corruption's corrosive effects, a senior United Nations official said at the conclusion of the world's largest biennial anti-corruption gathering, which this year took place in Panama City.

“We all have a stake in ending corruption," a declared John Sandage, Director of the Division for Treaty Affairs of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), underscoring that the resolutions passed during the Fifth Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption would help lay the groundwork for strengthening partnerships to prevent and combat the scourge.

Six resolutions and three decisions were passed during the conference, which wrapped up late yesterday in the Panamanian capital, including on the private sector, education, and enhancing international cooperation.

Highlighting the role of young people in this effort, saying they were a "valuable resource and potential source for change," he added: "The importance of the next generation in fostering a change of values, and ensuring that respect for the rule of law and integrity can flourish, was acknowledged by the resolution on promoting the participation of young people and children in efforts to prevent corruption."

Participants at the five day-meeting included representatives of Member States, civil society, private sector academia and the media, who will discuss best practices and successes in the fight against corruption under the umbrella of the Convention.

An entire chapter of the treaty is dedicated to preventing corruption with measures directed at both the public and private sectors, including model preventive policies, such as the establishment of anti-corruption bodies and enhanced transparency in the financing of election campaigns and political parties.

Corruption has a devastating impact across the globe. The World Bank estimates that every year between $20 billion to $40 billion are lost from developing countries due to corruption and bribery.

On the issue of match-fixing, Mr. Sandage said: "Recent allegations of match-fixing in football highlight the need for us to use [the Convention] to help build a culture of integrity, while also confronting this issue as a transnational crime. The illegal sports betting, which is helping to fuel this crime must also be strongly opposed."

The anti-corruption Convention is driven by a Review Mechanism that, in its first four years, has trained 1,400 anti-corruption experts; helped 35 States amend their legislation; and is leading a unique global discussion promoting good governance, transparency and accountability.

In 2015, the Conference of States Parties to the Convention will launch the second review cycle at the 6th Session of the Conference, to be held in Russia.


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