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UNIS/CP/730
26 November 2013

Safeguarding major public events from corruption stressed at anti-corruption conference in Panama

Given the huge amounts of money involved in major public events, a successful event often hinges on maintaining the reputation and credibility of the organizer

PANAMA CITY/VIENNA, 26 November (UN Information Service) - Across the world, major public events attract huge audiences and cost billions of dollars.  The international Olympic Committee, for example, is reputed to have earned well over US$1 billion dollars from the sale of the television rights alone for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games, while 219.4 million Americans watched the 2012 London Olympics.

Examples of major public events include the FIFA World Cup, the Olympic Games, golf's Ryder Cup, cycling's Tour de France, as well as international political events such as the G20 Summits.

Attending a special event 'Safeguarding against corruption in the context of sporting and other major public events', held on the margins of the main anti-corruption conference in Panama City, Panama, speakers from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Russian G20 Presidency and other organizations, today underlined the importance of safeguarding these events against corruption.

In his keynote speech at the event, UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov said: "What is needed is targeted action to help organizers identify, assess and manage the risks, consistent with established legal norms and regulations and drawing on good practices."

To raise awareness of this issue and to promote best practices, UNODC has also issued a handbook titled 'The United Nations Convention against Corruption: A Strategy for Safeguarding against Corruption in Major Public Events'.  The publication uses the UN Convention against Corruption as the foundation for promoting accountability and transparency at major public events.

Policies and practices that are relevant include, among others, the adoption of special legislation to support the event; the creation of specialized agencies responsible for anti-corruption oversight; and the need to monitor closely the flow of funds, particularly where new constructions, infrastructure development or security operations are concerned.

Successful examples include the June 2010 G8 and G20 Summits, where Canada established the Summits Management Office to manage the organization, infrastructure, and logistics of all events.  In 2008, at the Beijing Olympic games an accountability system was set up, a tracking system created and individuals in management were expected to play a leadership role in demonstrating integrity.

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For further information please contact:

David Dadge, Spokesperson, UNODC
Mobile: (+507) 6800 3353 Email: david.dadge[at]unvienna.org
or
Anne Thomas, Information Officer, UNIS Vienna
Mobile: (+507) 6800 2981 Email: anne.thomas[at]unvienna.org

For further information visit:
http://www.unis.unvienna.org/unis/en/events/2013/cosp5_panama_2013.html

Conference website of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC):
http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/treaties/CAC/CAC-COSP-session5.html

Conference website of the Host Country: http://cospvpanama.com/eng/index-e.html

Follow @UNODC on Twitter and join the conversation using #NoToCorruption and #CoSP5.