HSE University Anti-Corruption Portal
Egypt Hosts a Regular Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the UN Convention against Corruption

From 13 to 17 December 2021, Sharm El Sheikh hosted the 9th session of the Conference of the States parties to the UN Convention against Corruption (CoSP, hereinafter, CoSP9).

Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the organizers were forced to hold the event in a hybrid format: many delegations, unable to attend in person, participated remotely in the Conference.

CoSP9 concluded with the adoption of eight resolutions centered on different aspects of the fight against corruption, including:

  • Sharm El Sheikh Declaration which is predictably focused on countering corruption in times of emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • a number of follow-up resolutions to previously adopted documents: the Political Declaration of the special session of the UN General Assembly against corruption (UNGASS), the Abu Dhabi Declaration adopted in the 8th session of the Conference in 2019 and the Marrakech Declaration on the prevention of corruption;
  • a number of resolutions on specific lines of anti-corruption action, including on such topics as international cooperation of anti-corruption law enforcement authorities; cooperation between anti-corruption bodies and supreme audit institutions; enhancing the use of beneficial ownership information to facilitate the identification, recovery and return of proceeds of crime; and anti-corruption education and awareness-raising.

CoSP9 paid particular attention to the latter of the abovementioned topics. In particular, a dedicated resolution, tabled by the Russian Federation contains the following recommendations:

  • adopt measures for raising awareness about corruption among the general public;
  • incorporate anti-corruption disciplines in curricula at all levels of education, primary, secondary and tertiary, training programmes for both anti-corruption practitioners and public officials vulnerable to corruption (for instance those who are engaged in public procurement), as well as in train the trainer programmes;
  • enhance the use of advanced technologies in anti-corruption education and awareness raising, in particular, by implementing online courses;
  • promote comprehensive interdisciplinary research on patterns and trends in corruption, including corruption risks during the COVID-19 pandemic and gender and corruption;
  • continue to exchange experience, in particular, by holding a panel discussion during the meeting of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on the Prevention of Corruption focused on challenges to and good practices in anti-corruption education and research in 2022.

Besides a dedicated resolution on anti-corruption education and awareness-raising, a number of thematic pre-CoSP and side events were held:

  • a BRICS Anti-Corruption Workshop for University Lecturers, focused on the use of information technologies in the prevention of and the fight against corruption, promotion of the principles of integrity in the public and private sectors, analysis of different approaches towards the development and implementation of anti-corruption disciplines in university curricula;
  • 3rd Anti-Corruption Academic Symposium, which is held every two years in the run up to the Conference with a view to exchanging knowledge and best practices: this year, the issues of anti-corruption teaching and research in the field of corruption measurement, gender inequalities and corruption, use of advanced technologies in the fight against corruption offences and improvement of public trust in institutions were addressed in the course of the Symposium. Furthermore, the Symposium adopted the Recommendations on supporting anti-corruption academic teaching and research by the States parties to the UN Convention against Corruption and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The Conference saw other side events on anti-corruption education: Prevention of Corruption through Education organised by the State of Palestine, and Strengthening the Role of Education and Youth in the Fight against Corruption promoted by UNODC. In the course of the latter the Global Resource for Anti-Corruption Education and Youth Empowerment (GRACE) was launched. The initiative is aimed at providing the international community with experience-based recommendations on how to engage with educators, scholars, youth and anti-corruption practitioners to foster a culture of non-tolerance of corruption in society.

This enhanced attention to anti-corruption education signals a general trend in international anti-corruption agenda over the recent years: in particular, this subject was among the priorities of the Russian BRICS Chairmanship in 2020; it will be among the main lines of G20 action under the Indonesian Presidency in 2022.

In total, CoSP9 saw 65 side events organised by governments, bodies and entities of UN member States, intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations and UNODC, and seven side events of the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR), a partnership between the World Bank and UNODC. Among other things, they were centered on such topics as the fight against corruption in the private sector, asset recovery and return, gender and corruption, and anti-corruption and the COVID-19 pandemic. Major emphasis was placed on the reporting of corruption and other related offences and the protection of whistleblowers: for instance, one of the events devoted to this topic was organised by major international organisations operating in the area of anti-corruption, including the United Nations, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Council of Europe and the Organisation of American States (OAS). Another discussion on the CoSP9 sidelines sponsored by Angola and co-sponsored by Brazil and Portugal was focused on the matters related to the subject of the UNGASS side event organised by the Russian Federation, i.e. on strengthening international cooperation in corruption cases involving administrative and civil liability.

The next session of the Conference of the States parties to the UN Convention against Corruption will be hosted by the United States in 2023.

International cooperation

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