UN General Assembly Holds Special Session Against Corruption

President of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly and the special session against corruption, Mr. Volkan Bozkır. Photo: UN General Assembly
President of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly and the special session against corruption, Mr. Volkan Bozkır. Photo: UN General Assembly

This landmark text reflects Member States’ readiness to more effectively address corruption and illicit financial flows.

The first ever United Nations General Assembly special session (UNGASS) against corruption concluded on June 4 in New York. Earlier on June 2 , a political declaration was adopted by consensus at the outset of the special session. 

This landmark text reflects Member States’ readiness to more effectively address corruption and illicit financial flows through a comprehensive set of commitments in the areas of prevention, criminalization, international cooperation, asset recovery and technical assistance.

In the special session’s opening segment, the President of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly and the special session against corruption, Mr. Volkan Bozkır, referred to the importance of this meeting in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and recovery efforts by stating:

“This special session comes at a critical moment for humanity as we work on a complex global vaccine roll-out effort and recovery efforts to build back better. I urge all policymakers to leverage this special session to take urgent measures. Loopholes must be closed, and safeguards put in place.”

Similar calls to action were made throughout the opening segment by the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Ms. Amina J. Mohammed; the President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, Mr. Munir Akram; the President of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, Dr. Harib Saeed Al Amimi; the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Ms. Ghada Waly; and a youth representative, Ms. Serena Ibrahim.

Ms. Ibrahim was selected by the President of the General Assembly following her participation in the UNGASS Youth Forum against Corruption. She is the founder of Youth Against Corruption, Lebanon.

UNGASS
UNGASS

On June 3, the President of the General Assembly convened a high-level supporting event on the margins of the special session, under the theme ‘Addressing corruption in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic’. Opening the event, the President of the General Assembly stated:

“Corruption thrives in a crisis. Undetected or unaddressed criminal activity is often discovered at a critical moment. Far too often nefarious actors take advantage of a crisis for their own gain.”

This panel discussion, moderated by Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, featured panelists Dr. Mariangela Simao, Assistant Director-General for Access to Medicines, Vaccines and Pharmaceuticals, World Health Organization; Ms. Sanda Ojiambo, Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact; and Dr. Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chair of Transparency International. The panelists engaged in a dynamic discussion addressing the questions of both Member States and civil society.

On June 4, the special session concluded, following interventions from more than 120 speakers at the highest political level including eight Heads of State, two Heads of Government, three Deputy Prime Ministers, and 21 Ministers. In addition, five inter-governmental organizations and six civil society representatives made statements.

Further information, including the text of the Political Declaration can be found at the dedicated website for the United Nations General Assembly special session against corruption.

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Rakesh Raman