The first meeting for Ministers of Interior and Security was held in London, on July 9th, 2018 as the follow-up to the Berlin Process, where the ministers concluded that corruption, money laundering, and financial offences represent security threats throughout the region and committed to boosting regional cooperation and strengthening the collective response and that the Security Commitments Steering Group (SCSG) would be established to drive the delivery of security commitments agreed upon through the Berlin Process.
The SCSG at its third meeting on 31 January 2020 in Sofia agreed to create and deliver an Anti-corruption and Illicit Finance Roadmap (hereafter the Roadmap) to foster the existing illicit finance and anti-corruption measures in three shared priority areas (i.e. preventing and countering corruption in public procurement; strengthening conflict of interest and asset declaration system; creation of a regional network of specialized prosecutors, LEAs and FIUs). Following this meeting, the Regional Anti-Corruption Initiative (RAI) and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) launched in October 2020 the preparatory work for a new regional anticorruption platform aimed at developing the Western Balkans 6 jurisdictions’ Anticorruption and Illicit Finance Roadmap.
The Regional Roadmap:
The Regional Roadmap on Anticorruption and Illicit Finance Flows was adopted in Ohrid, North Macedonia on June 25th, 2021 by the High-level government representatives of Western Balkans jurisdictions who attended with the aim to ensure the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) implementation in support of the Sustainable Development Goal 16 achievement in the region – a platform built in the context of Berlin Process.
The Roadmap’s three main priorities were materialized in three goals of specific thematic areas where the jurisdictions jointly agreed:
1) to ensure transparency throughout the whole public procurement cycle and to oversight the government procurement system;
2) to strengthen their efforts in preventing, identifying and managing conflicts of interest, including through transparent asset and personal interest declarations disclosure systems, by using electronic means of declaring and verification in accordance with the International Treaty on Exchange of Data for Verification of Asset Declarations provisions which recognized the role technologies can play in public procurement and with regard to asset and conflict of interest declarations;
3) to enhance regional cooperation in the framework of conducting criminal investigations and prosecutions of corruption offences, by fostering an inter-agency approach among law enforcement agencies, prosecutorial and judicial authorities, financial intelligence units to better use international, regional and cross-regional law enforcement and judicial cooperation networks, including the recently launched Global Operational Network of Anticorruption Law Enforcement Authorities (GlobE) as an efficient tool for combating cross-border corruption offences and strengthening communication exchange and peer learning.
The Roadmap outcome represents the delivery of tangible improvements to the implementation of existing national anti-corruption/anti-illicit finance measures, and international standards and recommendations, including those arising from the European Commission’s annual reports with regard to the EU enlargement process of all Western Balkan 6 jurisdictions, pursuant to the three shared priority areas that were identified following regional consultations that took place in Ohrid, North Macedonia, from 21 to 23 June 2021, where representatives from the Ministries of Interior, Ministries of Justice, Financial Intelligence Units, Procurement Agencies, Prosecutors, specialized Police, Anti-corruption Agencies, and Sports experts agreed on the Roadmap at the technical level.
The Roadmap project:
RAI is partnering with the UNODC SEE in the implementation of the Roadmap through a regional project, conducted within the framework of the UNODC Regional Programme for South Eastern Europe and funded by the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. A project cooperation agreement was concluded in this regard on May 10th, 2022.
RAI related activities to the Roadmap:
RAI delegation led by the Head of Secretariat participated in the opening of UNCAC COSP ISM as well as in a coordination meeting with UNODC, UK Home Office, and GI-TOC on synchronizing anti-corruption activities of UNODC/RAI/GI-TOC in relation to the Berlin Process, Ohrid ACIF Roadmap, London Summit (Anti-Corruption Pledges) and Sibenik conference, Vienna September 5-6th, 2022;
Anti-corruption Expert participated in the Regional workshop “Towards implementation of the Ohrid Roadmap: Strengthening regional cooperation through the Camden Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network (CARIN) and UNODC GlobE operational network” held in Split, Croatia on September 20-22nd, 2022;
RAI delegation led by the Head of Secretariat participated in the regional meeting on Regional Anti-corruption and Illicit Finance Roadmap for Western Balkans jurisdictions held in Dubrovnik, Croatia, on October 11-13th, 2022. During the event, Western Balkans’ representatives outlined the updated state of achievement of the Anticorruption and Illicit Finance Roadmap 3 goals, including the activities defined on the regional level, and discussed its implementation on the regional level;
RAI Senior Anti-corruption advisor and RAI Anti-corruption expert participated in the Regional technical level meeting on overview of the implementation at the regional level of the Regional Anti-corruption and Illicit Finance Roadmap for the Western Balkans (follow up on the Dubrovnik technical meeting), held in Vienna, on October 7-8th, 2022 and discussed potential priority future actions.