UNCAC Coalition’s Transparency Pledge

The United States is currently undergoing its second-cycle review of the UNCAC Review Mechanism and is committed to implementing the voluntary transparency measures outlined in the UNCAC Coalition’s Transparency Pledge, including civil society participation in the review process, and publishing our self-assessment questionnaire and full report, as we did in the first cycle.

Completion Status:
Partially fulfilled

Commitment filtering:

Specific:yes

This commitment is specific because it refers to a narrow anti-corruption mechanism, the UNCAC Coalition’s Transparency Pledge (and its voluntary provisions), applied to the US second-cycle review of the UNCAC international standards.

Measurable:yes

The commitment is measurable because the UNCAC Coalition Transparency Pledge consists of very concrete actions. It is possible to monitor, as part of the US second-cycle review of the UNCAC Review Mechanism, whether the six principles of transparency included in the pledge have been implemented:

[1]

1) Publish updated review schedules for the country review.

2) Share information about the review institution or coordination (focal point).

3) Announce the completion of the country review, indicating where the report can be found.

4) Promptly post online the self-assessment and the full country report in an official UN language, together with an executive summary in local languages.

5) Organise civil society briefings and public debates about the findings of the report.

6) Publicly support the participation of civil society observers in UNCAC subsidiary bodies.

[1] United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), Transparency Pledge, https://uncaccoalition.org/uncac-review/transparency-pledge/

Share: twitter email twitter twitter print
Evaluation:

This commitment is monitored based on the six principles of the UNCAC Review Transparency Pledge and its voluntary transparency measures. The information below and the self-assessment are available on the UNCAC Civil Society Coalition webpage.[1] Progress towards the six principles is as follows:

  • Publish updated review schedules for our country review: The United States review was scheduled for 2018, but the country visit for the second-cycle review did not take place until 15-18 July 2019.
  • Share information about the review institution or coordinator (focal point): The UNCAC focal point was Mr. Kellen McClure, Anti-corruption Advisor in the US Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement.
  • Announce the completion of the country review, indicating where the report can be found: The review is ongoing and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime is still reviewing the executive summary.
  • Promptly post online the self-assessment and the country report in a UN language, together with the executive summary in local languages: The self-assessment has been published online in English.
  • Organise civil society briefings and public debates about the findings of the report: It is unknown if and which civil society stakeholders were part of the review.
  • Publicly support participation of civil society observers in the UNCAC subsidiary bodies: According to the UNCAC Review Status Tracker, “it is unknown whether the US publicly supports the participation of civil society in UNCAC subsidiary bodies, despite a statement about it as part of the G7”.[2]

Information provided by the US government for this report says the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, which serves as the UNCAC Focal Point for the United States, invited representatives from civil society and the private sector to meet with the reviewing experts who participated in the country visit for the second-cycle review. The representatives were selected based on their expertise in US anti-corruption policies and practices, from organisations including the Project on Government Oversight, Global Financial Integrity, Global Witness, the Open Contracting Partnership, the Sunlight Foundation, and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. However, no public information is available about this meeting via the UNCAC Review Status Tracker.

The commitment is only partially fulfilled because public information is missing on principles 3, 5 and 6.

 

Challenges to effective commitment implementation
The US government has not yet finalised its UNCAC second-cycle review report. The Executive Summary is currently with the UNCAC Secretariat for finalisation. Once the summary is finalised, the Secretariat plans to continue working on the report and then organise civil society briefings and public debates on the findings.[3]
 

Recommendations

  • Analyse why the report process of the second-cycle review is taking so long, given that the scheduled year for review was 2018 and four years later the review process is unfinished.
  • Strengthen the participation of civil society stakeholders in the UNCAC review process, and make it transparent by publishing who participated, when and in what form.
  • Make information publicly available on the support provided for the participation of civil society in UNCAC subsidiary bodies.

 

[1] UNCAC Civil Society Coalition, UNCAC Review Status Tracker, https://uncaccoalition.org/uncacreviewstatustracker/

[2] US Department of State (2021), G7 Ministers’ Statement on the UN General Assembly Special Session Against Corruption, https://www.state.gov/g7-ministers-statement-on-the-un-general-assembly-special-session-against-corruption/

[3] Written response to Transparency International via email, 27 July 2022.

(logged in as editor)