United Nations


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

12 December 1996


                                                   82nd plenary meeting
                                                   12 December 1996
                     51/59. Action against corruption
      The General Assembly,
      Concerned at the seriousness of problems posed by corruption, which may
endanger the stability and security of societies, undermine the values of
democracy and morality and jeopardize social, economic and political
      Also concerned about the links between corruption and other forms of
crime, in particular organized crime and economic crime, including money-
      Convinced that, since corruption is a phenomenon that currently crosses
national borders and affects all societies and economies, international
cooperation to prevent and control it is essential,
      Convinced also of the need to provide, upon request, technical
assistance designed to improve public management systems and to enhance
accountability and transparency,
      Recalling the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, adopted by
the Organization of American States at the Specialized Conference for
Consideration of the Draft Inter-American Convention against Corruption, held
at Caracas from 27 to 29 March 1996,
      Recalling also its resolutions 45/121 of 14 December 1990 and 46/152 of
18 December 1991, and Economic and Social Council resolutions 1992/22 of 30
July 1992, 1993/32 of 27 July 1993 and 1994/19 of 25 July 1994,
      Recalling in particular its resolution 50/225 of 19 April 1996, adopted
at its resumed session, on public administration and development,
      Recalling Economic and Social Council resolution 1995/14 of 24 July 1995
on action against corruption,
      Recalling also the work carried out by other international and regional
organizations in this field, including the activities of the Council of
Europe, the European Union, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and
Development and the Organization of American States,
      1.    Takes note of the report of the Secretary-General on action
against corruption submitted to the Commission on Crime Prevention and
Criminal Justice at its fifth session;
      2.    Adopts the International Code of Conduct for Public Officials
annexed to the present resolution, and recommends it to Member States as a
tool to guide their efforts against corruption;
      3.    Requests the Secretary-General to distribute the International
Code of Conduct to all States and to include it in the manual on practical
measures against corruption, to be revised and expanded pursuant to Economic
and Social Council resolution 1995/14, with a view to offering both those
tools to States in the context of advisory services, training and other
technical assistance activities;
      4.    Also requests the Secretary-General to continue to collect
information and legislative and regulatory texts from States and relevant
intergovernmental organizations, in the context of his continuing study of the
problem of corruption;
      5.    Further requests the Secretary-General, in consultation with
States, relevant intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, as well
as in cooperation with the institutes comprising the United Nations Crime
Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme network, to elaborate an
implementation plan and submit it to the Commission on Crime Prevention and
Criminal Justice at its sixth session, in conjunction with his report to be
submitted pursuant to Economic and Social Council resolution 1995/14;
      6.    Urges States, relevant intergovernmental and non-governmental
organizations, as well as the institutes comprising the United Nations Crime
Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme network, to extend to the Secretary-
General their full support in elaborating the implementation plan and in
implementing paragraph 4 above;
      7.    Urges Member States carefully to consider the problems posed by
the international aspects of corrupt practices, especially as regards
international economic activities carried out by corporate entities, and to
study appropriate legislative and regulatory measures to ensure the
transparency and integrity of financial systems and transactions carried out
by such corporate entities;
      8.    Requests the Secretary-General to intensify his efforts to closely
cooperate with other entities of the United Nations system and other relevant
international organizations and to more effectively coordinate activities
undertaken in this area;
      9.    Also requests the Secretary-General, subject to the availability
of extrabudgetary resources, to provide increased advisory services and
technical assistance to Member States, at their request, in particular in the
elaboration of national strategies, the elaboration or improvement of
legislative and regulatory measures, the establishment or strengthening of
national capacities to prevent and control corruption, as well as in training
and upgrading skills of relevant personnel;
      10.   Calls upon States, relevant international organizations and
financing institutions to extend to the Secretary-General their full support
and assistance in the implementation of the present resolution;
      11.   Requests the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice
to keep the issue of action against corruption under regular review.
                International Code of Conduct for Public Officials
                              I.  GENERAL PRINCIPLES
1.    A public office, as defined by national law, is a position of trust,
implying a duty to act in the public interest.  Therefore, the ultimate
loyalty of public officials shall be to the public interests of their country
as expressed through the democratic institutions of government.
2.    Public officials shall ensure that they perform their duties and
functions efficiently, effectively and with integrity, in accordance with laws
or administrative policies.  They shall at all times seek to ensure that
public resources for which they are responsible are administered in the most
effective and efficient manner.
3.    Public officials shall be attentive, fair and impartial in the
performance of their functions and, in particular, in their relations with the
public.  They shall at no time afford any undue preferential treatment to any
group or individual or improperly discriminate against any group or
individual, or otherwise abuse the power and authority vested in them.
4.    Public officials shall not use their official authority for the improper
advancement of their own or their family's personal or financial interest.
They shall not engage in any transaction, acquire any position or function or
have any financial, commercial or other comparable interest that is
incompatible with their office, functions and duties or the discharge thereof.
5.    Public officials, to the extent required by their position, shall, in
accordance with laws or administrative policies, declare business, commercial
and financial interests or activities undertaken for financial gain that may
raise a possible conflict of interest.  In situations of possible or perceived
conflict of interest between the duties and private interests of public
officials, they shall comply with the measures established to reduce or
eliminate such conflict of interest.
6.    Public officials shall at no time improperly use public moneys,
property, services or information that is acquired in the performance of, or
as a result of, their official duties for activities not related to their
official work.
7.    Public officials shall comply with measures established by law or by
administrative policies in order that after leaving their official positions
they will not take improper advantage of their previous office.
                            III.  DISCLOSURE OF ASSETS
8.    Public officials shall, in accord with their position and as permitted
or required by law and administrative policies, comply with requirements to
declare or to disclose personal assets and liabilities, as well as, if
possible, those of their spouses and/or dependants.
9.    Public officials shall not solicit or receive directly or indirectly any
gift or other favour that may influence the exercise of their functions, the
performance of their duties or their judgement.
                           V.  CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION
10.   Matters of a confidential nature in the possession of public officials
shall be kept confidential unless national legislation, the performance of
duty or the needs of justice strictly require otherwise.  Such restrictions
shall also apply after separation from service.
                              VI.  POLITICAL ACTIVITY
11.   The political or other activity of public officials outside the scope of
their office shall, in accordance with laws and administrative policies, not
be such as to impair public confidence in the impartial performance of their
functions and duties.