Special Session of the UN General Assembly against Corruption in New York

From 2 to 4 June 2021, the first UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on corruption was held with high-level participation at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The hybrid-format meeting featured the adoption of a political declaration, the general debate and various side events involving, inter alia, the BAK.

The core of the meeting was the adoption of a high-level political declaration on the first day. A draft of this declaration, which had been negotiated in Vienna over the past eight months, was already approved on 7 May 2021 at a special session of the Conference of the States Parties (CoSP) to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). Among other things, it emphasizes the importance of education and training in the field of anti-corruption. Of interest to the BAK in this context is Section 2, which had been proposed by Austria. This section invites the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to launch global public prevention campaigns focusing mainly on young people and their anti-corruption education. Furthermore, the explicit linking of the International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA), a long-standing cooperation partner of the BAK, with the work of the UN in the text of the declaration should be pointed out. This reference is the most significant mention of the IACA in a UN document to date.

In addition to the adoption of the political declaration, the second important element of the event was the general debate with its high-level statements. In his speech, Austria's Foreign Minister Schallenberg underlined the outstanding role that education plays in creating a culture of integrity. In doing so, he also referred to the IACA based in Laxenburg and invited non-members to join the Academy. He described Austria as a hub for the international fight against corruption, since besides the IACA not only UNODC (UNCAC) but also the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) are located in Austria.

In addition, various side events were organized on the margins of the meeting. As part of such an event (also in hybrid format) held at the Vienna International Centre on 3 June, the Global Operational Network of Anti-Corruption Law Enforcement Authorities (GlobE Network) was officially launched at the highest level. Delegates from States Parties to the UNCAC and anti-corruption experts came together to discuss the importance of international cooperation and the special role of the GlobE Network.
After an introductory statement by UN Secretary-General António Guterres via video message and the presentation of the network by, among others, UNODC Executive Director Ghada Fathi Waly, online statements and three interactive panels followed. In the first panel, a UNODC representative provided a rough overview of the network’s background and its core elements. This was followed by a moderated discussion on "International law enforcement cooperation in the fight against corruption." Among the panellists were, for example, one representative each of Interpol and the World Bank. The third discussion, presented by a member of the interim GlobE Secretariat provided by UNODC, dealt with the network as a "one-stop hub" and the associated "decision tree".
In general, the network aims to ensure that all countries and their independent anti-corruption authorities have the necessary contacts and tools to quickly and effectively detect, investigate and prosecute cross-border corruption. Therefore, the BAK intends to join the network once the accession procedure has been opened to interested authorities.

The participation of a high-ranking Austrian delegation in the UNGASS was of particular importance due to the Vienna and Laxenburg headquarters of the aforementioned international organizations, which is why the BAK was represented by its Acting Director and the Head of the Unit for International Cooperation. Foreign Minister Schallenberg led the Austrian deputation.


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Photo: ©  United Nations

Article #: 18739 from Dienstag, 15. Juni 2021, 07:42
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