UNCAC Conference of States Parties
What is the UNCAC CoSP?
The Conference of the States Parties (CoSP) to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) was established by UNCAC Article 63 "to improve the capacity of and cooperation between States parties to achieve the objectives set forth in the Convention and to promote and review its implementation".
The sessions of the Conference are attended by governmental delegations, sometimes headed by government Ministers. Plenaries are open to civil society groups, as well as side meetings or special events, while governmental working sessions usually remain closed to civil society representatives.
Since UNCAC's entry into force in December 2005, four sessions of the Conference of States Parties have been held - in 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2011. The next session of the UNCAC CoSP will be held in Panama in 2013.
Highlights from the first four sessions of the UNCAC Conference of States Parties
1st CoSP, Amman (Jordan), December 2006
- States Parties acknowledge that the establishment of a review mechanism for the UNCAC is of 'paramount importance' and 'urgent'.
- Creation of intergovernmental working groups on review of implementation, asset recovery and technical assistance.
- Creation of a Pilot Review Programme, using a combined self-assessment / group / expert review method. Programme operational from mid-2007 to November 2009. Where requested by the country under review, on-site visits are conducted to assist in undertaking the self-assessments and preparing the recommendations.
2nd CoSP, Bali (Indonesia), January-February 2008
- Disagreements on the form the review mechanism should take, in particular regarding the transparency of the process and the participation of civil society, leading to postponement of a decision on this until the following session.
- Continuation of the working groups created at the first COSP and emphasis placed on the recovery of stolen assets.
- Expansion of the Pilot Review Programme for country self-assessment and peer review.
3rd CoSP, Doha (Qatar), November 2009
- A major step is taken with the adoption of an Intergovernmental Review Mechanism for the UNCAC. The purpose of the review mechanism is to evaluate and assist progress in the implementation of the Convention in each country. It begins operation in July 2010. The Mechanism includes an Implementation Review Group (IRG) to oversee the review process.
- Intergovernmental Working Group is continued on asset recovery and created on prevention issues. The working group on technical assistance is incorporated into the IRG.
4th CoSP, Marrakesh (Morocco), October 2011
- A compromise was reached that postponed a decision on the observer issue for CSOs and provided in the meantime, for a briefing and dialogue with CSOs on the margins of IRG meetings.
- The Intergovernmental Working Groups on Asset Recovery and Prevention were continued and an intergovernmental group of experts on international cooperation was established.
- A collection of CSO review reports submitted by the UNCAC Coalition were included in the official conference documentation.
Civil society in action at CoSPs
Role and actions of civil society organisations around the CoSP
A particular focus for civil society groups supporting the UNCAC are the sessions of the UNCAC Conference of States Parties (CoSP). These intergovernmental meetings represent a key opportunity for civil society to conduct advocacy and exert pressure on governments to respect their anti-corruption commitments. At the first three sessions of the UNCAC CoSP, the UNCAC Coalition focused on promoting the adoption of an effective, transparent and inclusive review mechanism for the UNCAC.
Since the first CoSP in 2006, the UNCAC Coalition has been coordinating global civil society actions around the Conference sessions. Coalition members attend the meetings as observers. They meet with government delegates, submit statements and hold press briefings, publish a newsletter, produce blogs and press releases, or undertake informative and civic actions to call for UNCAC implementation.
"Scenes from a Global Anti-Corruption Summit": four video segments
The video series Scenes from a Global Anti Corruption Summit documents civil society participation at the 2nd UNCAC Conference of States Parties held in Indonesia in 2008 and showcases interviews with civil society participants.
What is the UNCAC? What happens at an UNCAC Conference of States Parties? Why is it important for CSOs to be there? What actions does the UNCAC Coalition undertake? Why do anti-corruption activists need protection? The 4 short video segments produced by Transparency International aim to provide some answers.
The videos from Scenes from a Global Anti-Corruption Summit range from 4 to 9 minutes long and consist of:
Part 1 - Speaking of Corruption
Part 2 - UNCAC: A Global Treaty
The Global UNCAC Coalition in Action
Protecting Anti-Corruption Activists
Your feedback would be welcome! Also, help spread the word by linking to or embedding this video series on your web pages and sharing them via online communities.
To learn more about the 4th COSP and CSO involvement, check out our December 2011 Newsletter.
Resources for the 4th CoSP
UNODC official documents for CoSP 4
4th CoSP official website
UNCAC Coalition Statement on Article 13
UNCAC Coalition Statement on Promoting Asset Recovery and Countering Laundering of Corruptly Taken Assets
UNCAC Coalition's November 2010 "Call for the UNCAC Implementation Review Group UNCAC States Parties and UNODC to ensure a transparent and participatory UNCAC review mechanism"