UN Convention against Corruption

UN Convention against Corruption


United Nations Convention Against Corruption

About the Convention

The purposes of the Convention are to promote and strengthen measures to prevent and combat corruption more effectively; to promote, facilitate and support international co-operation and technical assistance in the prevention of and fight against corruption, including in asset recovery; and to promote integrity, accountability and proper management of public affairs and public property.

A total of 133 countries have signed the Convention so far; the United Kingdom signed on 9 December 2003. The EC will become a party as it has competence with respect to some matters covered by the Convention.

The Convention’s main features are:

obligations for countries to establish effective anti-corruption policies, practices and systems in the public and private sectors;

obligations to establish certain criminal offences, such as the bribery of public officials, embezzlement by public officials and laundering of the proceeds of crime;

obligations to ensure the existence of a competent law enforcement body or bodies;

obligations to enable the identification, tracing, freezing, seizure or confiscation of assets resulting from the proceeds of crime derived from (at least) offences covered by this Convention;

measures on international co-operation, extradition and mutual legal assistance on investigations, prosecutions and judicial proceedings;

measures on the return and disposal of confiscated property and assets;

provisions on training and technical assistance;

a mandate for the Conference of States Parties to improve the capacity of and co-operation between States Parties to achieve the Convention’s objectives and to promote and review its implementation.

The World Bank has estimated that corruption costs around 0.5% of global GDP each year. It hits the poorest people in the poorest countries hardest. The diversion of scarce resources through corruption diminishes a government’s ability to provide basic services to its citizens and encourage sustainable economic, social and political development. Moreover, it can jeopardise the health and safety of citizens through, for example, poorly designed infrastructure projects and scarce or outdated medical supplies. Most fundamentally, corruption undermines the prospects for economic investment. Responsible foreign firms do not wish to invest in societies where there is what amounts to an additional level of taxation. And using bribes to secure business undercuts legitimate economic competition, distorts economic growth and reinforces inequalities. A public suspicion that judicial systems are corrupt and that criminal acts are committed by élites undermines government legitimacy and the Rule of law .

Building on previous regional initiatives and Treaties more limited in scope, this Convention is the first truly global instrument designed to tackle corruption.



See Also

References and Further Reading

About the Author/s and Reviewer/s

Author: international

Mentioned in these Entries

Rule of law, Treaties, United Nations Convention Against Corruption.

U.N. Convention against Corruption

Embracing mainstream international law, this section on u.n. convention against corruption explores the context, history and effect of the area of the law covered here.


Further Reading

  • The entry “corruption, u.n. convention against” in the Parry and Grant Encyclopaedic Dictionary of International Law (currently, the Encyclopaedic Dictionary of International Law, 2009), Oxford University Press



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