From 19 – 21 September 2023, in Becici, Montenegro, a three-day workshop was organized by the UNODC Civil Society Unit in collaboration with the Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative (RAI) and with the support of the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC). This event brought together more than 50 stakeholders, including representatives from public authorities, civil society, the private sector, as well as partner organizations like the UNCAC Coalition and the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime. The primary objective of the workshop was to deeply explore the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), with a specific emphasis on Chapter II, which pertains to preventive measures, and Chapter V, which deals with asset recovery. Additionally, it served as a platform for the exchange of information and the sharing of best practices in these domains.
Mr. Nikola Naumovski, the Senior Anti-Corruption Advisor explained that RAI, primarily an intergovernmental organization, has increasingly embraced civil society organizations in its efforts to support governments in anti-corruption initiatives and international obligations. He stressed, “We find that such inclusive implementation brings stronger and more sustained impact for the Southeast European region.”
During the opening session, H.E. Michael Müller, the Ambassador of Austria in Montenegro, emphasized that workshops of this nature significantly contribute to empowering civil society and the private sector to meaningfully engage in the implementation of the Convention. He emphasized, “Efforts against corruption concern us all, hence, intensifying regional cooperation and sharing experiences is crucial.” Müller highlighted trust in governments and public administration as the “fragile link that binds society together.”
Representing the Agency for Prevention of Corruption in Montenegro, Nina Sekulovic mentioned that the country is committed to “continuous and comprehensive efforts for the implementation of the UN Convention against Corruption”. Montenegro underwent a country visit during the second cycle of the UNCAC review in March 2022. Notably, civil society organizations previously trained by UNODC through similar workshops were invited by the government to partake in the process. In 2022, Montenegro also pledged its commitment to transparency by signing the UNCAC Coalition’s Transparency Pledge, voluntarily committing to a high level of transparency during the second cycle of the UNCAC implementation review.
The workshop was conducted within the framework of the Regional Programme, “Southeast Europe – Together Against Corruption (SEE-TAC)”, which primarily focuses on strengthening multi-stakeholder collaboration and responses to the challenges presented by corruption in the SEE region.