Corruption is a major threat to stability and security worldwide. It undermines the functioning of public institutions and corrodes political processes, jeopardising economic growth and development. By reducing the overall potential revenue of a country, corruption hampers the ability of governments to adequately fund services such as health care, schools, transport, or the judiciary ultimately leading to loss of trust in the government. Furthermore, corrupt practices particularly impact vulnerable communities and contribute to gender inequality.
The special session of the UN General Assembly on challenges and measures to prevent and combat corruption and strengthen international cooperation (UNGASS 2021) is held from 2 to 4 June 2021 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
UNGASS 2021 provides an opportunity to advance the fight against corruption of the international community, especially by advancing efforts of countries to implement the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), by sharing best practices and lessons learned. Based on the key principles of accountability, integrity and transparency, UNCAC is the only legally binding universal anti-corruption instrument.
In her opening speech Ms Ghada Waly, UNODC Executive Director stated “In every region of the world, corruption has compromised emergency responses, health care, education, environmental conservation, and job creation, leaving us less equipped to recover, and leaving ever more people behind.”
The UNGASS 2021 Political Declaration entitled “Our common commitment to effectively addressing challenges and implementing measures to prevent and combat corruption and strengthen international cooperation” was adopted today.
During UNGASS 2021 the new GlobE Network will be launched, offering a platform for information exchange between frontline anti-corruption law enforcement practitioners worldwide.
GIFP support to countering corruption
Illicit trade and organised crime undermine the legal economy and facilitate corruption, therefore weaken the rule of law, good governance and state institutions, particularly the judicial system. For governments and law enforcement agencies to tackle corruption effectively public support, appropriate legislation and specialist investigation tools and techniques are needed. Where legislation is weak civil society and international organisations have an important part to play by raising public awareness of corruption and improving accountability of the public and private sector.
As part of the GIFP, CRIMJUST works with judiciary and law enforcement agencies in beneficiary countries to improve transnational organised crime investigations and prosecutions. The project specifically includes anti-corruption training to provide law enforcement agencies with the necessary guidance to implement anti-corruption measures and promote a culture of accountability. SEACOP and AIRCOP are two longstanding GIFP projects that work closely with law enforcement agencies operating in port and airport environments where corruption is known to exist. CRIMJUST has delivered a series of country-specific training sessions on ethics and integrity for law enforcement to officials from AIRCOP’s Joint Airport Interdiction Task Forces (JAITFs) and SEACOP Joint Maritime Control Units (JMCUs) in West African countries. CRIMJUST also developed the Justice and Law Enforcement Accountability Dashboard, known as Justlead, aimed at making criminal justice institutions more accountable and recently published the report “Resisting corruption along drug trafficking routes An analysis of criminal justice bodies in Latin America and West Africa”.