Put UN Convention against Corruption into action
A senior UN official has urged the countries to put the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) into action and take measures to enforce it strictly.
At the same time, he emphasised that everyone has a role to play -- not only the governments, but also parliamentarians, business, civil society, the media and the citizens.
"Corruption hurts us all, therefore fighting it is a shared responsibility -- we all have a duty and the power to say 'no' to corruption," said Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), at a press conference on UN Anti-Corruption Conference at Bali International Convention Centre yesterday.
He also highlighted the areas where UNODC and others can provide technical assistance -- for example recovery of assets, a key feature in the anti-corruption convention.
But Costa warned that despite political will and good intentions, efforts to recover assets, for example through the World Bank/UNODC Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative, are running into resistance from "middle-level bureaucrats with connections, knowledge and entrenched interests who have a lot to lose."
"Efforts to recover stolen national assets are being hindered in many countries by politicians and bureaucrats who have an entrenched interest in maintaining the status quo," he added.
In addition, Costa called on private businesses to take an active role in fighting institutionalised corruption, saying that in the past too many had encouraged or profited from government graft.
Costa proposed a Corporate Integrity Charter to promote businesses' conformity to the UNCAC, as well as a body to review corporate compliance.
He also urged the delegates participating in the conference "to neutralise these black holes in your administrations."
The UN official said the countries need to explain what they have done to fight corruption and implement the anti-corruption convention while finding out what further tools and skills they need to build integrity.
He added that they should also develop a device to measure their progress in addressing corruption.
He stressed that it is time for business to be more part of the solution and less part of the problem.
He also called on multilateral organisations to lead by example. Their rules should meet the same high standards that governments are being asked to meet, he said.