What happened at CoSP4?

The UN anti-corruption conference CoSP4 was the largest of its kind to date. The results were disappointing, writes Gillian Dell, Global Programmes Manager at Transparency International.

The fourth session of the UNCAC Conference of States Parties that met in Marrakech in October 2011 (CoSP4) was the biggest ever – with over 1500 delegates from 125 countries, including over 200 representatives from civil society organisations, most of them part of the UNCAC Coalition. Unfortunately, it was a missed opportunity.

UNCAC coalition members. Image Andrea Figari

No major initiatives were taken to advance the global anti-corruption agenda. Nor was there a real exchange of views on any substantive issues. Despite growing public outrage at how corruption is damaging our societies, world leaders and the international press showed little interest in the meeting.

Divided into thematic sessions (Review of the implementation of the UNCAC, Technical assistance, Prevention and Asset recovery), the plenaries showcased government statements that included strong support for civil society participation in anti-corruption efforts. The main action was in informal discussions closed to civil society observers. These reportedly saw some heated disagreements about how to provide technical assistance to implement UNCAC and about proposals to increase funding for the UNCAC review mechanism. The outcomes on these issues were reflected in a resolution adopted on the review mechanism, proposed by the Chair of the Implementation Review Group (IRG). This appeared to tighten IRG oversight of the budget.

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