21 July 2003

UN Convention against Corruption: Final Round of Negotiations Begins in Vienna

Ad Hoc Committee for the Negotiation of a Convention against Corruption Begins Sixth Session, 21 July-8 August 2003

VIENNA, 21 July (UN Information Service) -- The final round of negotiations on the United Nations Convention against Corruption, the first such global instrument, resumed here this morning.

The sixth session of the Ad Hoc Committee for the Negotiation of a Convention against Corruption (21 July - 8 August), which will be attended by over 110 Member States, is expected to finalize and approve the text of the Convention.

Member States will focus on areas where divergence still exists. This includes assets recovery; the search for a definition of corruption; the question of whether to sanction only public, or also private, corruption; prevention and monitoring mechanisms.

Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, has called for every effort to be made so that a consensus is found in order to complete the negotiations. He said: "The text being finalized over the next three weeks in Vienna has been compiled from proposals submitted by 26 countries from all regions of the world. That by itself reflects the global nature of the problem. The effective fight against corruption is a condition for good governance and rule of law. These in turn are foundations of financial stability and sustainable development. Above all, the world needs an anticorruption instrument with teeth, namely able to have an impact."

  The need to finalize the text during this session is also underscored in a letter from the Ad Hoc Committee Chairman, Ambassador Hector Charry Samper of Colombia, addressed to Member States, requesting them to "redouble their efforts to identify priorities, explore innovative solutions to outstanding matters and -- above all -- be ready to compromise" during the final round of negotiations. This would allow the new instrument to be submitted to the General Assembly at its 58th session and to the High-level Signing Conference scheduled to take place in Merida, Mexico from 9-11 December 2003.

At its fifth session (10-21 March 2003), the Ad Hoc Committee commenced the third, final reading of the draft United Nations Convention against Corruption. It closed a significant number of articles thus narrowing down areas of disagreement considerably, and reached a consensus on definitions of "international cooperation," "technical cooperation," and on most of the provisions regarding sanctions and other measures which accompany criminalization.

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