Note to Correspondents

Note No. 231
27 January 2003


(issued as received from CICP)

On the invitation of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) 15 international organisations involved in curbing corruption, including non-governmental organizations (NGO's) and 4 major donors as observers1) came together in Vienna to:

  1. Review development of a database on anti-corruption technical assistance projects and outline the next steps to be taken;
  2. Discuss an initiative by the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) to strengthen and mainstream integrity within the United Nations;
  3. Take stock of current and planned anti-corruption efforts of participating organisations;
  4. Define the terms of reference, including objectives, strategy, membership, structure and funding of an International Group for Anti-Corruption Coordination (IGAC);
  5. Review the preparations and inputs for upcoming international anti corruption fora, such the Global Forum 3 and the 11th International Anti-Corruption Conference.

UNODC’s Centre for International Crime Prevention (CICP) presented a new database on interagency anti-corruption coordination. The database design was approved by the participating agencies and CICP was encouraged to draft a preliminary project and budget proposal for the further expansion of the database.

OIOS made a presentation on the Organisational Integrity Initiative, a multi-agency effort to build a comprehensive ethics infrastructure and corruption controls within the United Nations under the umbrella of the Interagency Anti-Corruption Coordination Process. Participants agreed that interagency anti-corruption co-ordination had to be made a top priority to eliminate waste and increase impact and visibility in the fight against corruption. The meeting renewed its support for the mainstreaming of integrity throughout the various participating organisations and encouraged OIOS to implement its Organisational Integrity Initiative in order to manage the various risks (reputational, operational and financial) associated with corruption.

All participating organisations made brief presentations about their anti-corruption programmes and the challenges they faced.

The Special Advisor to the Royal Norwegian Government on Anti-Corruption, Mrs. Eva Joly also made a presentation to the Group. Mrs. Joly was selected by a number of European newspapers as "Person of the Year" in 2001, for her courageous work as an examining judge in France. Madam Joly's investigations resulted in several high-ranking officials being prosecuted for corruption and other financial crimes. In her remarks, Madame Joly emphasised the importance of functional management information systems and the sharing of information across national and international jurisdictions in corruption investigations.

Mr. Dimitri Vlassis, Secretary of the Ad Hoc Committee for the Negotiation of a Convention against Corruption, briefed the participants on the work completed at the most recent session of the Ad Hoc Committee. He reported that considerable progress was made and the second reading of the draft text was completed. Plans for the signing of the convention in Mexico in December 2003 were on track and a confirmation of the schedule was expected shortly. Issues such as rights to asset recovery and private sector corruption were the subject of a very rich discussion among delegates. Mr.Vlassis highlighted the overall very positive atmosphere in the sessions of the Ad Hoc Committee and expressed his optimism that final agreement would be reached on all matters.

The participants discussed and agreed upon a framework for the future work of the Group. The following draft terms of reference were recommended for review and approval by the membership.

Draft Terms of Reference

  • The International Group for Anti-Corruption Coordination is dedicated to strengthening international anti-corruption coordination and collaboration in order to avoid undue duplication and to ensure effective and efficient use of existing resources, using systems already in place at the regional and national level.
  • It provides a platform for exchange of views, information, experiences, best practices on anti-corruption activities for the purpose of enhancing the impact of these activities, including support for the UN Convention against Corruption.
  • It is uniquely composed of organizations, including NGO’s, active internationally in anti-corruption policy, advocacy and enforcement. Members shall actively participate in, and support, the work of the Committee.
  • IGAC is managed by a Steering Committee elected from, and by, the Members of the Group. The Steering Committee comprises six members representing the three areas of expertise, namely policy, advocacy and enforcement. The Steering Committee is responsible for the strategic direction and resources necessary to support the work of IGAC.
  • IGAC’s secretariat in CICP supports the work of the Group, which includes the development and maintenance of an electronic database and website on international anti-corruption activities and the production of an annual report and regular meetings.
  • The activities of IGAC will be reviewed by the Steering Committee in an annual report. After five years an independent overall evaluation on the work of the Group will be conducted for a decision on the extension of its Terms of Reference.

Next Steps

  1. CICP is to present the interagency anti-corruption coordination process and the respective database at the Global Forum III and the 11th IACC in Seoul and at the signing ceremony for the UN Convention against Corruption in Mexico in December 2003;

  2. The Group agreed that in order to enhance the validity of the database, efforts should be undertaken to collect as much information as possible from the other key organisations active in the field of anti-corruption - not represented at this meeting - in particular the World Bank.

  3. CICP is requested to explore the extent to which other anti-corruption coordination mechanisms already in place, such as the Washington based Latin America and Caribbean Anti-Corruption Donor Coordination Network, the OECD's Anti-Corruption Network for Transition Economies, and the Utstein Group, can complement the coordination activities of the group.

  4. The next meeting of the Group could possibly be held concurrently with Global Forum III and the 11th International Anti-Corruption Conference, in Seoul in May 2003, depending on how many members of the Group will attend those conferences.

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1 United Nations Agencies and Departments: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Department of Public Information (DPI). Other international organizations: Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), the European Commission (EC), Council of Europe (CoE), Commonwealth Secretariat, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the World Customs Organisation (WCO), Transparency International (TI) and the Ethics Resource Centre (ERC).