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UNIS/CP/875
3 November 2015

Factsheet 2

Corruption as impediment to sustainable development to be discussed in Russia

The Sixth Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption in St. Petersburg (2-6 November 2015)

ST. PETERSBURG/VIENNA, 3 November 2015 (UN Information Service) - More than 1,000 participants are in Russia this week for the world's largest anti-corruption gathering. The Sixth Session of the Conference of the States Parties (COSP6) to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) is being held in St. Petersburg from 2-6 November 2015.

The United Nations Convention against Corruption, which was adopted twelve years ago, is the only legally binding universal anti-corruption instrument. Every two years the States Parties to the Convention meet to review implementation of the Convention and discuss how States can better tackle corruption. More than 45 Government Ministers are attending the conference, as well as representatives from inter-governmental organizations, civil society, the private sector and the media.

Among the topics being discussed are the role of the private sector in the fight against corruption, the progress achieved by the Convention's Review Mechanism as its first cycle comes to a close, and the recovery of illicit assets.

Another topic focuses on how tackling corruption is vital to achieving the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals.

The UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC)

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention. The United Nations Convention against Corruption has been ratified by 177 States, more than 90 per cent of the United Nations Member States. The legally-binding Convention obliges States to prevent and criminalize corruption; to promote international cooperation; to recover and return stolen assets; and to improve technical assistance and information exchange in both the private and public sectors.

Preventing Corruption

An entire chapter of the Convention is dedicated to preventing corruption with measures directed at both the public and private sectors. These include model preventive policies, such as the establishment of anticorruption bodies and enhanced transparency in the financing of election campaigns and political parties. States must ensure that their public services are subject to safeguards that promote efficient, transparent recruitment based on merit. Public servants once recruited should be subject to codes of conduct, requirements for financial and other disclosures and appropriate disciplinary measures. Transparency and accountability in matters of public finance must also be promoted and specific requirements are set up for preventing corruption in critical areas of the public sector such as the judiciary and public procurement. Preventing corruption also requires the involvement of civil society including non-governmental and community-based organizations.

Criminalization of corruption

The Convention requires countries to establish criminal and other offences to cover a wide range of acts of corruption, if these are not already crimes under domestic law. The Convention goes beyond previous instruments of this kind, criminalizing not only basic forms of corruption such as bribery and the embezzlement of public funds, but also trading in influence and the concealment and laundering of the proceeds of corruption. Private sector corruption is also covered as are money-laundering and obstructing justice.

International cooperation

Countries agreed to cooperate with one another in every aspect of the fight against corruption, including prevention, investigation and the prosecution of offenders. Countries are bound by the Convention to render specific forms of mutual legal assistance in gathering and transferring evidence for use in court, and to extradite offenders. Countries are also required to undertake measures which will support the tracing, freezing, seizure and confiscation of the proceeds of corruption.

Asset recovery

Asset recovery is a fundamental principle of the Convention. This is a particularly important issue for many developing countries where high-level corruption has plundered the national wealth and where resources are badly needed for reconstruction and the rehabilitation of societies.

In the case of the embezzlement of public funds, the confiscated property would be returned to the State requesting it; in the case of proceeds of any other offence covered by the Convention, the property would be returned providing the proof of ownership or recognition of the damage caused to a requesting States; in all other cases, priority consideration would be given to the return of the confiscated property to the requesting State, to the return of such property to the prior legitimate owners or to compensation of the victims.

Implementation Review Mechanism

UNCAC has gone further than any other UN Convention by being endowed with the landmark Implementation Review Mechanism, which is now reaching the end of its first cycle. So far more than 120 States parties have been reviewed and a study has been carried out which identifies and describes trends and patterns in the implementation of those two chapters reviewed (criminalization and law enforcement, and international cooperation), highlights good practices as well as the substantial remaining challenges.

Other events in St. Petersburg

There are various special events taking place in St. Petersburg on a range of topics including public-private partnership in anti-corruption, protection of business from corruption practices; the nexus between illegal wildlife and forest trades and corruption; countering corruption in the implementation of Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals; recovery of stolen assets; addressing corruption challenges in an era of climate change; integrity and legacy of sport; corruption challenges to the looting, trafficking and sale of cultural heritage; corruption and human rights.

UNODC's action against corruption

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) supports States in the implementation of the Convention and provides technical assistance and training. UNODC has a web-based anti-corruption portal known as TRACK (Tools and Resources for Anti-Corruption Knowledge) which includes an electronic database of relevant legislation and jurisprudence. It has established a partnership with the World Bank Group under the joint Stolen Assets Recovery (StAR) Initiative which aims to facilitate systematic and timely recovery of assets stolen through acts of corruption. UNODC also actively contributes to the implementation of the 10th principle of the United Nations Global Compact, which states that "Business should work against corruption in any form, including bribery and extortion".

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Conference website of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC):
http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/treaties/CAC/CAC-COSP-session6.html

Conference website of the Host Country: http://www.uncorruption.ru/en/

For further information for the media go to:
http://www.unis.unvienna.org/unis/en/events/2015/cosp6_2015.html

For further information contact:
Martin Nesirky
Spokesperson for the 6 th Session of the Conference of the States Parties
to the UN Convention against Corruption
Telephone: +43-699-1459-5676
Email: martin.nesirky[at]unvienna.org
or
David Dadge
Spokesperson, UNODC
Phone: (+43 1) 26060-5629
Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-5629
Email: david.dadge[at]unvienna.org

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