he ninth session of the Conference of the State Parties to the UN Convention against corruption kicked off on Monday in the coastal city of Sharm El-Sheikh. The conference, due to last until 17 December, is the largest event in combating corruption in the world. It will set the international anti-corruption agenda for the 10th session.
The conference is an important global milestone for improving international cooperation against corruption, helping the world recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, and ensuring economic and political stability.
The conference, held every two years, brings together representatives of governments, parliaments, international, regional and non-governmental organisations, civil society, and the private sector. Roughly 2,700 participants are attending this year’s edition, half of whom, including heads of state, will communicate virtually due to the pandemic, said Ghada Wali, the executive director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.
The conference will review the implementation of the UN Convention against Corruption, the only legally binding anti-corruption tool.
The first session of the Conference of State Parties took place in Amman in 2006 after the UN General Assembly adopted the convention against corruption. The convention came into force in December 2005. Signed by 189 countries, the convention comprises eight chapters and 71 articles. It covers five main areas: preventive measures, criminalisation and law enforcement, international cooperation, asset recovery and technical assistance and information exchange, besides covering various forms of corruption. Egypt joined the convention in 2006.
Among the topics scheduled to be addressed are preventing corruption through education, the role of women in promoting integrity and an initiative to recover stolen assets and funds. It also discusses anti-corruption efforts in Africa, the challenges and opportunities offered by ICT and digitalisation to combat corruption and the global initiative to make cities resistant to corruption.
In addition to hosting the conference, Egypt celebrated International Anti-Corruption Day on 9 December. External facades of Cairo’s Salaheddin Citadel and Alexandria’s Citadel of Qaitbay had the words “International Anti-Corruption Day” in neon lights.
The Administrative Control Authority (ACA), the body responsible for uncovering corruption, held an event at Cairo Stadium with the participation of distinguished university students, sports stars and celebrities.
The Egyptian mission to the UN also held an event in cooperation with the missions of the United Arab Emirates, Colombia, Peru and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. The Egyptian permanent representative to the United Nations Ambassador Osama Abdel-Khalek stressed that International Anti-Corruption Day was an opportunity to affirm the participants’ commitments towards preventing and combating corruption at all levels in order to achieve sustainable development goals.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 16 December, 2021 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.