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The UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) in brief

Adopted by the UN General Assembly: 31 October 2003
Entered into force: 14 December 2005
Number of states parties: 170 (at January 2014)
Eligible members: All countries and regional economic organisations
Secretariat: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

The UNCAC has eight chapters and 71 articles.

Chapter I: General provisions

is followed by the following four chapters containing substantive provisions.

Chapter II: Preventive measures

The measures covered include codes of conduct for public officials, transparency in public procurement and public finances, and steps to prevent private sector corruption and money laundering. Article 13 mandates states parties to ensure participation of civil society and non-governmental organisations in the prevention of and fight against corruption. It refers to the need for measures ensuring public access to information and participation in educational programmes.

Chapter III: Criminalisation and law enforcement

Crimes covered in this chapter include bribery, embezzlement, abuse of functions, illicit enrichment, concealment, money laundering, trading in influence and obstruction of justice. The chapter also provides for the protection of reporting persons (whistleblowers), witnesses, victims and experts.

Chapter IV: International cooperation

This chapter lays down standards for mutual legal assistance in investigations, prosecutions and judicial offenses.

Chapter V: Asset recovery

This addresses prevention and detection of transfers of the proceeds of crime and measures for their recovery, with an emphasis on international cooperation. Two further chapters cover agreed steps to enhance the impact of the convention.

Chapter VI: Technical assistance and information exchange

This calls on states parties to develop or improve specific training programmes for personnel responsible for preventing and combating corruption. States parties should also consider affording one another the widest measure of technical assistance, especially for developing countries, as well as voluntary mechanisms to provide financial assistance to developing and transition countries.

Chapter VII: Mechanisms for implementation

This establishes the Conference of States Parties (COSP) to improve the capacity of and cooperation between states parties and to promote and review its implementation, as well as to make recommendations in order to improve implementation.

The UNCAC concludes with Chapter VIII: Final provisions

The topics covered here include provisions on entry into force, the ratification process and amendments to the text of the convention.

» For more information, visit the website of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).