Ninth session of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption
Saturday, December 18, 2021
Ninth session of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption
Ninth session of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption

The Arab Republic of Egypt hosts the ninth session of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, from December 13 to 17, 2021 in Sharm El Sheikh, with the participation of 144 countries around the world.

The Conference, which is held once every two years, is one of the world's largest anti-corruption gatherings and brings together people from Member States, parliaments, inter-governmental organizations, civil society and the private sector. The conference will review of the implementation of the UN Convention against Corruption, the only legally binding universal anti-corruption instrument and discuss preventing corruption, improved international cooperation to better tackle corruption and asset recovery.

This is only the second COSP taking place in Africa. Around 2,700 participants from governments, regional and intergovernmental organizations, civil society, academia, and the private sector are expected to participate in Egypt or online.

This year, 2021, has been a landmark year for global anti-corruption action. In June, the world came together at the first United Nations General Assembly special session against corruption (UNGASS), adopting a strong political declaration to step up anti-corruption action and accelerate implementation of the UN Convention against Corruption – the only legally-binding universal instrument against this crime.

Every two years, the States parties to the Convention meet to review the implementation of the Convention and to discuss how States can better tackle corruption. Among the topics to be discussed at the ninth session are prevention, asset recovery and international cooperation, as well as topical issues like beneficial ownership and how to take forward the commitments in the political declaration of the special session of the General Assembly against corruption.

Activities

The ninth session of the Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption kicked off on Monday morning 12/13/2021 in Sharm El-Sheikh, in the presence of Prime Minister Dr. Mustafa Madbouly, Chairman of the Administrative Control Authority Minister Hassan Abdel Shafi, Executive Director of the United Nations Organization against Drugs and Crime Ghada Wali, in addition to the Ministers of Justice, Planning and International Cooperation, Immigration, Local development and Solidarity, as well as governors, heads of agencies and bodies, and officials of the concerned authorities.

The conference was, also, attended by attended by 5 heads of state, who gave their speeches via video conference. This is in addition to 50 ministers, 30 of whom attended in person, 30 heads of anti-corruption bodies, , as well as 268 international civil society organizations that have consultative status at the United Nations, 257 ordinary NGOs, and 47 research centers, with a total of about 2,700 participants.

Before the beginning of the opening session, a ceremony of hoisting the flag of the United Nations and the flag of the Arab Republic of Egypt took place at the headquarters of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption in its ninth session at the International Conference Center in Sharm El Sheikh.

The flags were hoisted by Dr. Mostafa Madbouly, Prime Minister, and Dr. Ghada Wali, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

After that, the opening session of the conference began with a speech by Dr. Harib Al-Amimi, President of the eighth session of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption. He spoke about the importance of the first “Special session of the General Assembly against corruption”, during which a political resolution was adopted to intensify anti-corruption measures and to accelerate the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption.

Then, Dr. Harib Al-Amimi announced the election of Major General Engineer Hassan Abdel Shafi, Chairman of the Administrative Control Authority, as the new president of the conference in its ninth session.

Afterwards, Major General Hassan Abdel Shafi, President of the Ninth Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, delivered a speech in which he expressed his welcome to all attendees at the Conference of the States Parties in the City of Peace on the dear land of Egypt, the cradle of civilization and history.

He expressed his thanks and appreciation for their trust and his election as president of the ninth session of the conference. He, also, expressed his appreciation to Dr. Harib Al-Amimi, President of the State Audit Institution of the United Arab Emirates (SAIUAE), stressing that this conference is an important platform for consultation and exchange of experiences with the aim of protecting our peoples, and striving to change our world for the better no matter how many challenges we face.

A documentary video was screened displaying Egypt's role in combating and confronting corruption, followed by the recorded speeches of the President of the United Nations General Assembly, and the Secretary-General of the United Nations Organization.

Then, Dr. Ghada Wali, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), delivered a speech in which she congratulated Major General Engineer Hassan Abdel Shafi, Chairman of the Administrative Control Authority, on his election as President of the ninth session of the Conference of States Parties. She also thanked Dr. Harib Al-Amimi, President of the State Audit Institution of the United Arab Emirates (SAIUAE), for his efforts during his presidency of the eighth session of the conference, pointing to the great importance of the Conference of the States Parties.

Then, Prime Minister Dr. Mostafa Madbouly, delivered a speech. At the outset of his speech, Madbouly welcoming the heads of delegations of the states party to the United Nations Convention against Corruption.

Dr. Mostafa Madbouly indicated that corruption constitutes one of the obstacles against achieving sustainable development. He, also, noted that the 2014 Constitution of the Arab Republic of Egypt includes articles in which the state obligates its agencies to fight corruption.

The Prime Minister also indicated that over the past years, the Egyptian state has worked hard to enhance social protection, which is clearly embodied in Takaful and Karama (Solidarity and Dignity) program, which the number of beneficiaries reached about 3.8 million families in 2021.

Dr. Mostafa Madbouly concluded his speech by expressing his sincere wishes for the success of the ninth session of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption.

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, also, inspected the Administrative Control Authority pavilion located at the International Conference Center in Sharm El Sheikh, on the sidelines of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, accompanied by a number of ministers, the Governor of South Sinai, the Chairman of the Administrative Control Authority, and a number of officials of the concerned authorities.

Major General Amr Adel, Deputy Chairman of the Administrative Control Authority, delivered a speech in the plenary session in his capacity as head of the Egyptian delegation, in which he stressed that Egypt has been keen, since its accession to the United Nations Convention against Corruption in 2005, to adopt a consistent approach based on the continuous development of its efforts and support for international action to keep pace with the Convention. He pointed out that this was confirmed by the first and second periodic review reports.

Statement by GRECO President Marin Mrčela

This 9th Session of the Conference of State Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption is a unique opportunity to take forward the UNGASS 2021 Political Declaration against Corruption. 

The adoption of the Political Declaration, in June this year, marks a major milestone, at a time when reaffirming global action against corruption is crucial. The covid-19 pandemic has shown us all how important it is to uphold to the highest standards of integrity, transparency and accountability, both during a state of emergency and in the subsequent recovery process. It also showed, unfortunately, that the risks of corruption are particularly pronounced during such exceptional periods, and that criminals have seized on that with no delay or hesitation. 

GRECO’s long experience confirms the relevance of international follow-up in making sure that commitments are actually met and that momentum in the anti-corruption struggle is kept high on the political agenda. Indeed, in GRECO we see our role not only as a benchmark of the anti-corruption efforts of our 50 member States, but also as a supportive mechanism for them to bring about and capitalise on change. 

GRECO stands ready to offer its long-standing experience and expertise to support effective implementation of the UNGASS 2021 Political Declaration, including through close cooperation with our partner peer-review mechanisms, so as to maximise our effectiveness. In this connection, we will showcase some of our work in the course of this week, notably through the organisation of a side event on whistleblowing protection - a most topical issue for all regions of the world. 

On the sidelines of the conference, Hassan Abdel Shafi Ahmed, Chairman of the Administrative Control Authority, met with Charles Deuchene, Head of the French Anti-Corruption Authority.

The meeting discussed ways of future cooperation between the two sides concerning issues of common interest, preventing and combating corruption, raising awareness of its dangers, in addition to exchanging experts and expertise between the two sides. It, also, discussed ways of cooperation in the field of training, particularly on the use of the latest means of detecting and investigating corruption crimes

The two sides, also, agreed that the National Anti-Corruption Academy affiliated to the Administrative Control Authority would seek the assistance of French experts to train cadres in counterpart bodies in the African continent.

First Deputy Mr. Khalid Abdul Rahman, Assistant to the Chairman of the Administrative Control Authority for National Anti-Corruption Academy Affairs and International Cooperation met with Mr. Tan Sri AzamBaki, Chairman of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

The meeting discussed ways of cooperation between the two sides in the fields of preventing and combating corruption, raising awareness of its dangers, exchanging expertise between the two sides, and exchanging information in the field of combating corruption crimes within the framework of cooperation between the Administrative Control Authority and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), which extends for many years in all aspects of the fight against corruption. In this respect, the cooperation agreement between the two sides will be renewed during the coming period.

The National Sub-Coordinating Committee for Preventing and Combating Corruption organized a special session entitled "National Anti-Corruption Strategy: Successful Practices and Challenges", in the presence of Minister Hassan Abdel Shafi Ahmed, Chairman of the Administrative Control Authority, President of the Ninth Session of the Conference of States Parties, and Counselor Ahmed Saeed Khalil, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of   the Egyptian Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Combating Unit (EMLCU), and a number of Egyptian and international senior officials.

The session included an explanation of the Egyptian state’s keenness to implement the provisions of the United Nations Convention against Corruption by adopting a number of institutional and legislative frameworks, in accordance with Article 5 of the Convention that stipulates on setting and consolidating effective and coordinated anti-corruption policies. The National Anti-Corruption Strategy represents the general framework regulating the fight against corruption in Egypt. In this respect, Egypt launched two phases of the national anti-corruption strategy: Phase 1 (2014-2018) and Phase 2 (2019-2022).

During the session, the Egyptian expertise in the field of preventing and combating corruption and the progress made in implementing the executive plan of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy 2019-2022 was presented, in the presence of members of the Technical Secretariat of the National Coordinating Committee, representatives of the Administrative Control Authority as well as the Ministry of Justice, and the President of the General Federation of NGOs.

The meeting reviewed the practices achieved concerning each of the nine objectives of the strategy, which can be generalized in any of the party-states.

Mr. Ahmed Nour, Deputy head of the Administrative Control Authority, and members of the technical secretariat of the National Coordinating Committee reviewed the measures of the national strategy in addition to the most prominent goals that have been achieved in the fields of “developing an efficient and effective administrative authority, providing high-quality public services, activating transparency and integrity mechanisms in government units, enhancing the legislative structure supporting anti-corruption, upgrading judicial procedures to achieve prompt justice, supporting law enforcement agencies to prevent and combat corruption, raising societal awareness of the importance of preventing corruption, and activating international and regional cooperation in preventing and combating corruption.”

The efforts of the Administrative Control Authority were presented in the field of launching societal awareness campaigns on the dangers of corruption, as well as setting a national indicator for detecting and combating corruption.

Dr. Talaat Abdel Qawi, President of the General Federation of NGOs reviewed the most prominent practices achieved with respect to the ninth goal related to the participation of civil society organizations and the private sector in preventing and combating corruption.

First Deputy Mr. Khalid Abdul Rahman, Assistant to the Chairman of the Administrative Control Authority for National Anti-Corruption Academy Affairs and International Cooperation met with James A. Walsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary of U.S Department of State via videoconference.

The meeting discussed ways of cooperation between the two sides in the fields of preventing and combating corruption, raising awareness of its risks, as well as detecting and investigating corruption crimes.

Egypt reviewed on Wednesday its mechanism to enforce the provisions of the UN Convention against Corruption.

Addressing the 9th session of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption in Sharm El Sheikh, a representative of the Administrative Control Authority (ACA) reviewed precautionary measures included in the Constitution to activate the role of monitoring bodies and ensure their independence.

In his report, the ACA representative shed light on Egypt's launching of the second phase of the national anti-corruption strategy in 2019, which achieved a success rate of more than 85%.

He added that the state also implemented media campaigns to spread awareness among citizens about the importance of combating corruption.

The report emphasized Egypt’s keenness to comply with international conventions, casting light on legislation passed to regulate the work of NGOs and government contracts, as well as combating money laundering and profiteering.

Minister Hassan Abdel Shafi Ahmed, Chairman of the Administrative Control Authority, met with Dr. Muhannad Hijazi, Chairman of the Jordanian Integrity and Anti-Corruption Commission.

The meeting discussed ways of future cooperation between the two sides concerning issues of common interest, in addition to preventing and combating corruption, raising awareness of its dangers, as well as exchanging experts and expertise, in addition to ways of cooperation in the field of training, particularly on the use of the latest means of detecting and investigating corruption crimes, in cooperation with the National Anti-Corruption Academy affiliated to the Administrative Control Authority.

At the end of the meeting, the two sides signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cooperation in preventing and combating corruption.

Minister Hassan Abdel Shafi Ahmed, Chairman of the Administrative Control Authority, met with Mr. Abdul Aziz Abdul Latif Al Ibrahim, President of the Board of Trustees of Kuwait Anticorruption Authority (Nazaha).

The meeting discussed ways of future cooperation between the two sides concerning issues of common interest, in addition to preventing and combating corruption, raising awareness of its dangers, as well as exchanging experts and expertise between the two sides. It, also, discussed ways of cooperation in the field of training, particularly on the use of the latest means of detecting and investigating corruption crimes.

Minister Hassan Abdel Shafi Ahmed, Chairman of the Administrative Control Authority, met with Mr. Raed Radwan, Head of the Palestinian Anti-Corruption Authority.

The meeting discussed ways of future cooperation between the two sides concerning issues of common interest, in addition to preventing and combating corruption, raising awareness of its dangers, as well as exchanging experts and expertise between the two sides. It, also, discussed ways of cooperation in the field of training, particularly on the use of the latest means of detecting and investigating corruption crimes.

Sharm El Sheikh Declaration

The Sharm El Sheikh declaration, issued during the closing session of the 9th session of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (CoSP) in Sharm El-Sheikh, warned against the increasing dangers of corruption on the economic spending and health relief.

The declaration adopted eight resolutions supporting international efforts to counter corruption in the next years.

The declaration on fighting corruption underlined the necessity of recovering from coronavirus pandemic, as well as supporting States parties' readiness to deal with future emergencies in line with the forward-looking commitments related to crisis response and recovery outlined in the UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS) political declaration.

It also agreed that the US will host the 10th session of the conference in 2023.