Multi-Stakeholder Workshop on the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and its Review Mechanism

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Multi-Stakeholder Workshop on the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and its Review Mechanism

September 20 - September 22

People in Southeast Europe see corruption as the biggest problem in their countries after unemployment and poverty, saying it hinders economic and social development as well as their country’s European Union accession process.

To answer the calls for strengthening the resilience of societies to corruption in Southeast Europe, UNODC and RAI have launched the joint programme “Southeast Europe – Together Against Corruption (SEE-TAC)” (2020-2023), which is funded by the Austrian Development Cooperation, represented by the Austrian Development Agency.

Under the auspices of the SEE-TAC, the in-person workshop on anti-corruption was organised in Belgrade, Serbia, September 20-22. The workshop brought together 28 civil society, private sector,  government representatives from the Western Balkans and Moldova, as well as experts from the UNCAC Coalition and the Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative.

During the workshop, participants were given the opportunity to discuss how Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) can be better involved in the implementation of the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), the only legally binding universal anti-corruption instrument that promotes the active participation of civil society in the prevention and fight against corruption.

Experts also presented ways for CSOs to actively participate in the UNCAC Implementation Review Mechanism (IRM), which assists States parties to effectively implement the Convention. The workshop also included presentations on corruption-prevention mechanisms and their application in practice, including the presentation of the new regional cooperation instrument – the International Treaty on Exchange of Data for the Verification of Asset Declarations.

Another exceptional characteristic of this workshop is the fact it brings together representatives of the public, civil and private sectors together, providing them with a unique opportunity to establish connections and recognize potential areas of joint action. The means and support for establishing cross-sectoral partnerships in implementing the anti-corruption awareness raining initiatives are also available under the SEE-TAC programme through an active call for applications.

Non-governmental actors can be involved in the UNCAC review process if invited by their government. Workshops such as this one are instrumental in encouraging this participation by building knowledge on UNCAC and creating a platform where participants can engage in a constructive dialogue on its implementation in their respective jurisdictions, share good practices and lessons learned. Through this workshop, the participants had the opportunity to build capacity for reproducing workshop sessions at the national/regional levels and acquired additional expertise in UNCAC provisions required to undergo and perform reviews as well as to address the observations emanating from the reviews.

Katarina Nikolic from the Ministry of Justice Serbia was pleased that the workshop is held in Belgrade for the second time. She highlighted the need for cooperation and raising public awareness that builds a culture where laws are upheld. ‘We stand strong against corruption and together we can defeat it’ – stressed Nikolic.

Françoise Jacob, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Serbia, emphasized that when anti-corruption measures are implemented and monitored, when these processes involve different stakeholders, and they turn into preventive action, we make progress as a society. ‘I found such workshops as of the most powerful tools to exchange information and come to compromises’ – stressed Jacob.

His excellency Ambassador of Austria to Serbia, Nikolaus Lutterotti addressed the audience: ‘we are fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, but corruption is another pandemic’ – noting the ongoing corrosive effects of corruption to societies. He further added – ‘we need to ensure that corruption does not go unpunished. But we also know Prevention is better than cure. Training and education are fundamental parts of prevention that’s why the Austrian government, in particular, supports such trainings.’

Desislava Gotskova, Head of RAI Secretariat underlined the importance of regional and cross-sectoral cooperation and joining efforts in implementing anti-corruption activities in the region by saying ‘We find that inclusive implementation brings stronger and more sustained impact for the Southeast European region.’ She also expressed the conviction that regional efforts and activities have an added value in strengthening the national anti-corruption efforts, policies, and strategies, enhancing information exchange, and dissemination of good practices among the peers.

Mirella Dummar-Frahi, Chief of UNODC Civil Society Unit recalled the fact this was the fourth multi-stakeholder event on UNCAC in the SEE region, taking place after a three-year break. ‘This Multi-stakeholder Workshop aims at increasing participants’ understanding on the UN Convention against Corruption and how to effectively contribute to its review process, while also building confidence between the government and civil society to work together in the review.’

Details

Start:
September 20
End:
September 22

Venue

Hotel Moskva
Balkanska 1
Belgrade, 11000 Serbia
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