UN: Explanation of position on resolution on preventing and combating corrupt practices

UN: Explanation of position on resolution on preventing and combating corrupt practices

United Nations, General Assembly, 61st session, Second Committee Plenary, 6: Explanation of Position on resolution A/C.2/61/L.53 "Preventing and combating corrupt practices and transfer of assets of illicit origin and returning such assets, in particular to the countries of origin, consistent with the United Nations Convention against Corruption"

Ms. Natalia Ollus, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Finland to the UN, on behalf of the EU

New York, 6 December 2006

Madam Chair,

I have the honour of delivering this explanation of position on behalf of the European Union.

The European Union; the Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, and the EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and Moldova align themselves with this declaration.

The European Union is joining consensus on this resolution because we attach the highest priority to preventing and combating corruption as well as to improving transparency and accountability. Corruption threatens our shared goal of promoting good governance and the rule of law, open markets and free trade, and the achievement of internationally agreed development targets, including the Millennium Development Goals.

As the first truly global anti-corruption instrument, the United Nations Convention against Corruption offers a unique opportunity for countries to work together on crucial areas, including preventive measures, criminalization and asset recovery. We therefore attach the utmost importance to the United Nations Convention against Corruption and its ratification, accession and full implementation by all Member States, as a matter of priority. We believe that the text of this resolution sends a strong message in this regard.

We look forward to the Conference of the States Parties, due to be held in Jordan from 10 to 14 December 2006. The outcome of the Conference of the States Parties will constitute a major contribution to the international efforts to fight corruption and will enlighten the work of the General Assembly.

However, we wish to express our disappointment on two points:

First, we wish to express our strong disappointment that the title of resolution A/C.2/61/L.53 adopted today by consensus in the 2nd Committee does not reflect more clearly the provisions of the United Nations Convention against Corruption.

We want to underline that asset recovery is an important part of the anti-corruption process. Chapter V of the United Nations Convention against Corruption outlines in detail, with internationally agreed language, the various elements of asset recovery. In our view, the issue of return of assets of illicit origin derived from corruption should be addressed in full conformity with Chapter V of the Convention. We therefore understand the title of the resolution to mean, inter alia, that assets of illicit origin derived from corruption should be returned, as defined in the United Nations Convention against Corruption, in particular its Chapter V.

Second, we have reservations about the nature, scope and necessity of the report requested of the Secretary General in Operative Paragraph 5. We are concerned that resources, which could be more effectively used to provide practical anti-corruption assistance to Member States, will be used for a report of limited value. For this reason and in order to avoid duplication, we encourage the Secretary General, in compiling his report for the 62nd session of the General Assembly, to take full advantage of the information acquired and gathered during and as an outcome of the first Conference of States Parties to the Convention against Corruption.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

 * Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.