I thank the government/Kingdom of Morocco for hosting this fourth Conference of States Parties. I would also like to thank the UNODC for organizing this important meeting and preparing the conference documents.
Corruption threatens development, peace and security. Acceptance of corruption and corrupt practises undermines governments and the rule of law.
Acceptance of corruption and corrupt practises makes it possible for criminal groups to operate and grow.
No society, rich or poor, can afford such waste of resources.
The UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) was developed by us as a collective response. We own the convention. It must be implemented.
Norway welcomes the adoption of a Mechanism for the Review of Implementation of the Convention to assist countries in the effective implementation of the convention. Experience has shown that societies with active and critical media and a strong civil society are better placed to fight corruption. Their role should be promoted.
This Conference of Parties has to deal with the status of NGOs and other observers in the Implementation Review Group (IRG) under UNCAC. Openness is paramount in the fight against corruption. If NGOs are excluded from the Implementation Review Group, this will be a serious setback not only for the Implementation Review Mechanism, but for the strength of the Convention. It will simply send the wrong signal, not least to the brave people here in the Middle East and North Africa who took to the streets because of corrupt leaders and mismanagement.
Effective implementation of the UNCAC provisions on asset recovery and international cooperation is key to the success of the convention. There is an urgent need to continue building expertise and capacity on asset recovery globally. We support the UNODC/World Bank stolen asset recovery initiative. We recognize the complex nature of asset recovery, but are as impatient as others when it comes to concrete results of the initiative. We need to demonstrate to the international community that justice is on the side of the victims of corruption.
Corruption should not be dealt with as an isolated topic. Robust anti-corruption measures are crucial elements in any successful resource management policy, any tax or public spending policy or any development policy. This makes UNCAC relevant and crucial to most development organizations and should be promoted throughout the UN system.
An effective anti-corruption policy is not only about establishing anti corruption authorities in line with the convention. The anti corruption authorities also need a mandate and real political support. They are there to fight corruption which is one of the most difficult tasks one can undertake.
Lessons learned from Norway have been that measures to increase transparency and to identify illicit financial flows have contributed substantially in our fight against organized crime and corruption.
We welcome the UNODC-study on illicit financial flows resulting from the proceeds of drug trafficking and other transnational organized crime. Crimes may be different, but hiding proceeds may follow similar tracks. Norway also applauds the resolution on strengthening international cooperation in combating the harmful effects of illicit capital flows resulting from criminal activities, adopted by the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in April this year for submission to the General Assembly. Effective implementation of the UNCAC obligations on prevention and detection of transfers of such proceeds is essential to fight corruption.