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G20 Anti-corruption

UNICRI Statement at the Third Meeting of the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group -


Summary and outlook on the global anti-corruption issues, national anti-corruption initiatives and updates


Delivered by Alessandra Liquori, Liaison Officer, Programme Officer of UNICRI

"Honorable Chairs, Members of the ACWG, distinguished colleagues, ladies and gentlemen

I am pleased today to represent the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) at the third Meeting of the Anti-Corruption Working Group, under the Presidency of Italy. I would like to thank the Chairs and organizers for the kind invitation and for the opportunity to share the floor with so many distinguished colleagues from the international arena.

UNICRI is one of the six United Nations Research and Training Institutes and it is mandated to promote research and capacity building in the administration of criminal justice and in security governance. UNICRI delivers its mandate through applied research on emerging and traditional crimes, capacity building on innovations for criminal justice personnel and through establishing innovative practices in the governance of security, including CBRN risks mitigation.

UNICRI is very keen to provide its contribution to the strategic priorities that the G20 ACWG has been identifying before and during the Italian Presidency: to name a few, transparency and integrity in sport, preventing and combating corruption in emergencies, particularly health emergencies, monitoring illicit financial flows and asset recovery, measuring corruption, promoting accountability and integrity of public and private spaces and processes.

Corruption can produce disruptive effects on all aspects of development and can be a facilitator for several activities managed by organized crime. It’s the fuel that organized crime uses to run its criminal engine. Corruption of public officials can be directed to facilitate the organization and implementation of a wide range of criminal activities (trafficking in persons, arms drugs, smuggling, counterfeiting of goods, environmental crimes, and so on). Corruption simply allows criminals to operate. If prosecutors or judges are corrupted, criminals go unpunished. Impunity and control over the territory render criminals stronger. Honest people and entrepreneurs may find it more difficult to resist to criminal pressures if they consider that the rule of law is not applied and that criminals are stronger than the law.

As also demonstrated by UNICRI’s research, corruption hinders economic development by supporting criminals in their efforts aimed at distorting market rules, damaging also private sector integrity. Due to corruption and trading in influence, public biddings acquisition may be distorted, allowing only enterprises controlled by organized crime to obtain access to these economic opportunities. This may lead to the creation of monopolies for organized crime, with control over entire sectors of the economy. This also cuts out legitimate entrepreneurs, who may see their opportunities greatly limited to operate in the market following the rules and suffer economic losses.

Victims of corruption might be less likely to denounce pressures, violence, extortion if they do not consider public authorities capable of protecting them and enforce the law. The resulting perception might be that criminals are above the legitimate government and that it is easier to comply with criminal requests rather

than with what the law provides for. The end result is that for the poor, women and honest people, corruption means even less access to jobs, justice or any fair and equal opportunity.

This also points out the importance of strong criminal justice strategies aimed at depriving criminals of their ill-gotten gains through the confiscation of criminal assets. When successful, this strategy can demonstrate to both criminals and the society that the Government has control over the territory and can break the idea that members of criminal organizations always go unpunished.

UNICRI promotes the anti corruption concepts in all its programmes:

1. In the programme on sport as a tool to social inclusion and development and to counter the appeal of terrorism key sport values of fairness and integrity are used as tools to promote social inclusion, reintegration of vulnerable groups in society and high standards of transparency and accountability to ultimately foster a culture of good governance in sport.

2. In the programme on countering illicit financial flows and the infiltration of organized crime in the legal economy, UNICRI is looking at the use of new technologies to support law enforcement in analyzing the supply chain and identifying where it gets infiltrated by crime

3. In the programme on asset recovery, UNICRI is building capacity of Northern Africa and Eastern European countries to monitoring illicit financial flows, trace and recover such assets. In this context, over the past two months, UNICRI has published several reports on the state of illicit financial flows in multiple countries.

These reports highlight just how much is being lost to economies as a result of illicit businesses, corruption and multiple forms of organized crime. For example, UNICRI has supported Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, Tunisia and Libya to identify illicit financial flows moving into, through and out of their economies, and has provided support on how to better focus policies to trace, freeze, seize and confiscate assets linked to such criminality an, also based on the Italian good practices, how to return these assets to the benefit of the community.

Ladies and gentlemen, the United Nations Convention against Corruption calls on all its Parties to make every effort to tackle corruption in all its forms and to provide for strong and reliable instruments to address its multiple causes and effects on social economic and political stability. The work of the ACWG reflects this effort and the very spirit of the Convention, in its far-reaching approach and in the legally binding character of its provisions as an instrument for developing a comprehensive response to a global problem.

Thank you for your kind attention."


About the Italian G20 Presidency: G20