UN Convention against Corruption and role of society organizations in Vietnam

(CPV) – The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Government Inspectorate on December 8th organized a “Multi-Stakeholder Round table on the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) Second Review” with the participation of 60 representatives from government, businesses, training centres, embassies, international organization and media.

This event marks the 2016 International Day against Corruption (December 9th). The global campaign theme this year is “United against corruption for development, peace and security” and the message is “Everyone has the power to stand and fight against corruption. We must work together, UNITED.”

Corruption is the single greatest obstacle to socio-economic development around the world. Every year, USD1 trillion is paid in bribes, while an estimated USD2.6 trillion is stolen annually through corruption – a sum equivalent to more than 5 percent of the global GDP. The 2015 Vietnam Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index survey, supported by the UN, shows that Vietnamese people express more concern about corruption in the public sector and in public service delivery and are more worried about corruption and nepotism in public sector employment. In addition, citizens are less confident about the government’s willingness to control corruption, with only 37% saying that their local government is serious about fighting corruption.

“Putting an end to corruption requires a comprehensive approach. Only in a climate of transparency, accountability and participation by all members of society is this possible. Governments, the private sector, the media, civil society organizations and the general public need to work together to curb this crime,” said Mr. Francesco Checchi, Anti-Corruption Regional Advisor, UNODC in South East Asia and Pacific.

The UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) is the only legally binding universal anti-corruption instrument. UNCAC recognizes the role of civil society in combating impunity by calling on governments to increase transparency, improve public access to information, and to promote public contribution to government decision-making processes.

Vietnam’s ratification of the UNCAC in 2009 gave new impetus to anti-corruption efforts. Enhancing participation, transparency and accountability are crucial to help Vietnam better control corruption, while maintaining its new phase of development as a middle-income country (MIC).

“The round table conference is timely and important in the context of Vietnam preparing to construct the UNCAC Second Review Process Report, and meanwhile implement the four processes of UNCAC,” said Mr. Nguyen Huu Loc, Acting General Director of International Cooperation Department under the Government Inspectorate.

The main objective of the round table is to kick start preparations for the review of Chapter II and V of UNCAC by raising awareness of national agencies and other stakeholders on the content of the Convention and on the review process. The event offers a platform for constructive dialogue between the different governmental representatives and stakeholders on the existing gaps and priorities of the implementation of Chapter II and V of the UNCAC. In addition, the conference also identifies suggestions for enhancing the engagement of civil society in the Review of UNCAC implementation in Vietnam.

“As the custodian of the UNCAC, UNODC has been assisting States, including Vietnam, to fully implement the necessary legal framework and practical tools of the Convention. We therefore, encourage the Government to enable and strengthen meaningful participation of civil society, businesses and mass media in the UNCAC Review Process and in law enforcement strategy formulation and oversight UNODC. Moreover, The Government should provide effective protection to civil society organizations and actively consult and engage with civil society across all areas of corruption policy development, implementation, and monitoring,” said Mr. Checchi.

On the same day, UNODC, Government Inspectorate and World Bank co-host a launching ceremony of “Barriers to Asset Recovery” and “Asset Recovery Handbook”.

The publications were written by international experts to support law enforcement officers, prosecutors, investigating judges, lawyers, and other experts engaged in anti-corruption and stolen asset recovery. The first publication identifies various obstacles to asset recovery under three distinct headings of general barriers and institutional issues, legal barriers and requirements that delay assistance, and operational barriers and communication issues. The second one provides common approaches to recovering stolen assets located in foreign jurisdictions, identifies the challenges that practitioners are likely to encounter, and introduces good practices. The publications were translated into Vietnamese for use by relevant national partners./.

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