Towards the implementation of the UNCAC in Latin America

Date: 11 / February / 2020

Towards the Round Table against Corruption, sponsored by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in Quito, Ecuador.

Four themes:

  • Integrity systems
  • Responsibilities of legal persons
  • Whistleblower protection
  • International cooperation.

Next week, the 'Follow-up Roundtable for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) that contribute to the Acceleration of the Application of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) in Latin America' will be held in Quito, Ecuador. This forum is the follow-up to the Regional Anti-Corruption Conference for South America and Mexico that took place in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, in May 2019.

The Cartagena Conference focused on four thematic areas, which were the result of international forums such as the Lima Commitment, contributions from national governments, as well as recommendations from the UNCAC Implementation Review Mechanism. In Cartagena, with the active participation of civil society organizations in the Latin American region, recommendations were formulated on each of these four thematic axes, namely:

  • Integrity systems with a focus on conflicts of interest and income and asset declarations.
  • Liability of legal entities with emphasis on the adequacy of corporate compliance systems.
  • Reporter protection.
  • International cooperation.

The final document of the round table of civil society organizations in the framework of the Cartagena Conference included the recommendations made for the acceleration of the implementation of the UNCAC in Latin America. The document recognized the importance of taking into account the mechanisms, studies and model laws of international and regional organizations on anti-corruption matters, as well as the need to promote by national governments the implementation of the recommendations emanating from the reports of the forums of The United Nations. In addition, the declaration emphasized the imperative of promoting good international practices in matters of international cooperation to prevent and combat corruption.

At the Quito Roundtable, which will take place from February 18 to 20, the commitments of the Cartagena Conference will be followed up. Likewise, the situation of anti-corruption reforms in Latin America and the role of civil society will be reviewed, and the progress made on the four priority thematic axes will be evaluated.

The four thematic axes reflect common concerns of the Latin American region and constitute lines of action that require a practical impact to combat corruption. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) recognizes that “corruption represents a significant threat to countries around the world; weakens democratic institutions, contributes to government instability, erodes trust and threatens the economy by undermining free competition, discouraging investment […] Corruption disproportionately affects disadvantaged groups, especially the poorest, preventing social inclusion and promoting inequality” (1). Hence, the importance of the Quito forum has special emphasis on following up on practical suggestions for governments, the private sector, and civil society organizations to forge a regional alliance to combat corruption.

The fight against corruption is a requirement to promote economic growth with stability and social inclusion and for the sustainable institutional development of the countries of the region.

The Quito forum will be based on the premise that corruption, as a “global threat”, must be faced with an international cooperation approach, in a multidisciplinary way and using the best known international practices, as recognized by the Convention of the United Nations Against Corruption (UNCAC), which is a legally binding international instrument to fight corruption. The effective application of the UNCAC requires not only the implementation of anti-corruption policies by the signatory nations, but also that these be based on the cooperation of the various sectors - public, private and civil society - through international cooperation alliances. to exchange experiences and international best practices.

The Quito forum will seek to continue building these alliances and foster a strengthened regional platform to accelerate the implementation of the UNCAC in support of Sustainable Development Goal number 16 in South America with the purpose of strengthening stability, governance and development. Pacific region (2). By concentrating on the four thematic areas and following up on the recommendations made at the Cartagena Conference, civil society organizations in the region become key actors for the exchange of knowledge, data and good practices that allow deep and substantive reflections. to advance the implementation of the UNCAC and the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 16.

Surely, the Quito forum will once again express the recurring concern that, in the fight against corruption, the commitment of governments cannot be limited to declarative and discursive acts. Beyond that, policies with effective instruments, concrete measures and international best practice approaches are required, with evaluation and measurement mechanisms that allow the development of reliable metrics to record progress according to clear and relevant indicators. In addition, the emphasis on public ethics integrity systems will surely be accompanied, at the Quito forum, by discussions around corporate integrity systems in recognition that the fight against corruption requires a systemic approach for the public and private sectors by same. Finally, international concern in the protection of whistleblowers indicates a pending task for most of the countries of the region, and that, if real progress is made, it can result in an effective instrument to combat corruption.

Our participation in the Quito forum next week will be focused on the importance of compliance systems for legal entities as a preventive instrument of international stature that allows to prevent corruption. In addition, we will emphasize the need to strengthen the institutional mechanisms for the protection of whistleblowers in an effective, reliable and credible way, if we truly want to citizenship the process of the fight against corruption in all sectors and institutions.

Next week, in the following notes of this blog, we will keep you updated on the discussions and progress of the “Follow-up Roundtable for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) that contribute to the Acceleration of the Application of the United Nations Convention. United Against Corruption (UNCAC) in Latin America ”.




1. Regional Anti-Corruption Conference for South America and Mexico, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), May 2019.

2. Goal 16 - Peace, justice and strong institutions, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), 16-peace-justice-and-strong-institutions.html, accessed February 11, 2020.


Tags: Whistleblower protection , Legal person responsibilities , Integrity systems , International cooperation , Participation , Anticorruption ,

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