10th -14th December 2006, Amman, Jordan
The United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) presents a unifying legal framework that provides a unique opportunity to tackle the root causes and consequences of global corruption. We (the representatives of civil society organisations from around 30 countries meeting in Jordan under the umbrella of the Coalition of Civil Society Friends of UNCAC) applaud governments for their comprehensive approach and for their efforts to prevent and punish corruption and to prevent the concealment of its illicit gains and hereby issue the following statement:
Participation of non-governmental actors and citizens
Civil society has a crucial role to play in translating the ambition contained in UNCAC into reality.
Corruption is a failure of systems that should be serving the public and safeguarding public assets.
Corruption is a violation of public and citizens' trust. Who better to act as guardians of the public interest than those citizens?
UNCAC itself recognises the central role to be played by civil society. In the words of Antonio Maria Costa of UNODC, "UNCAC belongs to the people".
Strong civil society participation at the Conference of the States Parties (CoSP) is in line with the spirit of the Convention. Governments should support maximum participation of civil society organizations (CSOs), including their critics, permit access to plenary and non-plenary meetings and allow oral and written statements.
There is evidence from all regions of the world that civil society activists have a crucial role in promoting transparency and accountability. They need to be supported and protected. We note with deep concern that in many countries activists and others who report or denounce corruption are harassed, physically attacked or prosecuted.
We welcome the commitments made under UNCAC to protect all whistleblowers.
We call on governments to incorporate protection from retaliation, for those who report corruption, under their domestic legal systems.
Access to information
The public's right to access information needs to be respected to fight effectively against corruption. It underpins all the UNCAC provisions and is essential for public participation in decision-making.
We call on governments to recognize the principle of maximum disclosure and implement effective and enforceable domestic legal instruments through which information is produced and disseminated.
Information should be pro-actively disclosed in ways that are timely, accessible and understandable.
We also call on international organizations, including UNODC, to provide greater access to information through the prompt adoption of a public information policy.
UNCAC requires states parties to provide the CoSP with their programmes, plans and legislative measures for implementing the Convention. Experience from other conventions shows early and effective follow-up monitoring to be fundamental to success.
We call on governments to support the early establishment of an effective monitoring system financed by the UN's regular budget and supported by a well-resourced secretariat:
We also urge governments to identify the body which is designated as the focal point for the UNCAC and to make this information widely available.
We applaud governments for establishing the return of assets as a fundamental principle of UNCAC.
We note that the process for returning stolen assets has to date been characterized by high costs, lengthy delays, inadequate mutual legal assistance (MLA), non-cooperative jurisdictions and in many cases political impediments. We welcome the promise this improved legal framework holds for ensuring that stolen property is returned to its rightful owner and for curbing the worldwide plunder of billions of dollars of national wealth.
We call on governments to:
We call on donor countries to commit to providing adequate support to all countries needing assistance in implementing UNCAC. Donors should recognise that corruption is a long-term problem requiring continued vigilance and that technical assistance (TA) should be an integral long-term component of UNCAC.
Technical assistance should help to fill implementation gaps and should be provided on the basis of nationally and locally owned frameworks and priorities. It should also be delivered in a way that seeks to work with and build local capacity and develop a body of comparative country knowledge and experiences that countries can draw on.
In implementing UNCAC-related TA, we urge governments to ensure close collaboration with CSOs that have the necessary technical expertise.
We call on donor countries to demonstrate their serious intent by addressing TA needs and fulfilling commitments:
Immediately, at the 2006 CoSP
We call on governments to meet their legal, political and moral obligations and show the ambition required to ensure that UNCAC has a real and lasting impact on global corruption.
UNCAC Conference of the States Parties, 13th December 2006
Argentina Asociación Civil por la Igualdad y la Justicia
Center for the Implementation of Public Policies Promoting Equity and Growth (CIPPEC)
Poder Ciudadano Foundation
Brazil Transparencia Brasil
Timor Leste Luta Hamutuk
Georgia Transnational Crime and Corruption Centre - Caucasus (TRACCC)
India Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)
Indonesia Indonesia Corruption Watch
Partnership for Governance Reform in Indonesia
Iraq Iraqi Center for Transparency and Corruption
Israel SHVIL (TI-Israel)
Jordan Islamic Relief Worldwide
Korea K-Pact Council
Liberia Centre for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia
Mongolia Zorig Foundation
Nigeria African Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ)
Gender and Development Action (GADA)
Independent Advocacy Project (IAP)
Publish What You Pay Nigeria
Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative
Zero Corruption Coalition
Palestine Arab Thought Forum - Citizen Rights Center (ATF)
Papua New Guinea TI-Papua New Guinea
Philippines Transparency and Accountability Network (TAN)
Manchester Metropolitan University
USA International Center on Nonviolent Conflict
Zimbabwe Human Rights Trust of Southern Africa (SAHRIT)
International Transparency International (TI-S)