PRESS BRIEFING BY BRENDEN VARMA, SPOKESPERSON FOR GENERAL ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT VOLKAN BOZKIR
SPECIAL SESSION ON CORRUPTION LAUNCHES WITH 3 MINISTERS PARTICIPATING IN PERSON
- This morning, the President opened the General Assembly’s special session against corruption. It will last for three days.
- The goal of the special session is to galvanize political will to advance the fight against corruption. Governments will take stock of global efforts and commitments and identify solutions to common challenges. The special session will also serve as a forum to share best practices and lessons learned.
- Speakers in the opening segment this morning included the President, Deputy Secretary-General, President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), President of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and founder of Youth against Corruption.
- According to the latest list for the special session’s general debate, 126 speakers are currently inscribed. Three Ministers are attending in person – from Albania, Germany and Honduras.
- Asked what the President hoped to achieve when “so many Heads of State who talked this morning are corrupt”, the Spokesperson said the President’s goal was always to create a forum where Member States could come together – to discuss topics that mattered to the world and share with each other ideas, best practices and lessons learned. His ultimate aim during this special session was to move forward in the global fight against corruption and see progress in that regard.
PRESIDENT CALLS FOR CONCRETE MEASURES TO PREVENT & ADDRESS CORRUPTION
- In his opening remarks, the President said the effects of corruption are detrimental to all of society. And it thrives in a crisis.
- In that regard, he noted that, as Governments rightly rushed to respond to COVID-19, new expedited processes inadvertently led to gaps in compliance, transparency, oversight and accountability, which were then exploited by corrupt actors.
- He said this special session comes at a critical moment for humanity as we work on a complex global vaccine roll-out effort. In that context, he called on policymakers to take concrete measures to prevent and address corruption. He said, “Loopholes must be closed, and safeguards put in place.”
- He said, “We will not recover from this global economic downturn without a concerted effort to end corruption. Each Member State – and indeed each individual – has a responsibility to be vigilant, to take preventative measures, and to uphold the rule of law – without exception.”
NEW POLITICAL DECLARATION ON CORRUPTION ADOPTED BY CONSENSUS
- This morning the special session adopted by consensus an action-oriented political declaration.
- It is entitled: “Our common commitment to effectively addressing challenges and implementing measures to prevent and combat corruption and strengthen international cooperation.”
PRESIDENT TO CONVENE SIDE EVENT ON ADDRESSING PANDEMIC-RELATED CORRUPTION
- Tomorrow at 1:30 p.m., the President will convene a virtual high-level supporting event on the margins of the special session. The focus will be on addressing corruption in the context of COVID-19.
- Following opening remarks from the President, there will be an interactive panel discussion featuring experts from international organizations, civil society and the private sector.
- It will be moderated by Jeffrey Sachs, Director of Columbia University’s Center for Sustainable Development.
- Panellists will include the World Health Organization’s Assistant Director-General for Access to Medicines and Health Products; the United Nations Global Compact’s Executive Director and CEO; and the Chair of Transparency International.