UN launches Saudi global initiative against transnational corruption
LONDON – The first-ever UN General Assembly special session against corruption announced on Thursday the launch of a new global network to “develop a quick, agile and efficient tool for combatting cross-border corruption offences.”
The Global Operational Network of Anti-Corruption Law Enforcement Authorities (GlobE Network), a Saudi initiative, offers UN member states and states parties to the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) the ability to connect anti-corruption practitioners with their counterparts in different countries, a UN statement said.
It provides channels for secure and informal information exchange on specific cases, legislation, intelligence and anti-corruption tools.
The network was launched officially at a face-to-face event at the Vienna International Centre, along with an online option for those unable to travel. More than 340 representatives of member states, anti-corruption authorities and law enforcement networks took part. They discussed the importance of timely cross-border cooperation to end corruption and the unique role of the new GlobE Network.
The experts also discussed its role in making sure that all countries and their independent anti-corruption authorities have the contacts and tools they need to track, investigate and prosecute cross-border corruption, including origin, transit and destination countries, quickly and effectively.
“The Network will enable law enforcement authorities to navigate legal processes through informal cooperation across borders, helping to build trust and bring those guilty of corruption to justice,” said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in a special video message.
“We expect the GlobE Network to empower all countries with practical solutions and tools to track, investigate and prosecute corruption, complementing existing frameworks,” he added.
The UN chief also stressed the world body would continue to provide technical assistance and called on all governments to “make full use of the network and encourage further efforts to eradicate corruption.”
The GlobE Network functions as a platform for secure peer-to-peer information exchange and informal cooperation to better track and prosecute cross-border corruption offences and recover stolen assets. It is open to anti-corruption law enforcement authorities in all UN member states and states party to the UN Convention against Corruption.
The Riyadh Initiative aims to develop a rapid and effective tool to combat cross-border crimes, enhance cooperation among anti-corruption authorities, establish a global network of anti-corruption law enforcement authorities and launch a capacity-building programme within the network for anti-corruption authorities’ operatives.
“Conceived during the G20’s first-ever ministerial meeting on anti-corruption in 2020, this network will put into action an important provision of the convention: the improvement of direct cooperation between law enforcement authorities,” said Ghada Waly, Executive Director of the UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
“Many countries are still not able to access anti-corruption networks whether due to decentralised processes or lack of capacity and resources,” Mazin Ibrahim al-Kahmous, the head of the Saudi delegation at the First Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly Against Corruption who is also the president of Nazaha, Saudi Arabia’s Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority, told the session.
“The G20 ‘Riyadh Initiative’ to create the GlobE Network, is meant to address this gap,” he added.
Initial funding for the GlobE Network was provided by Saudi Arabia during its G20 presidency and as the chair of the Anti-Corruption Working Group of the G20.
The GlobE Network will be headquartered in Vienna under the auspices of the UNODC.
Khamous said that Saudi Arabia is aware that overcoming the challenges of cross-border corruption crimes require close interaction among the relevant law enforcement authorities. He praised the efforts that all countries and international organisations had made with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in the creation of the network.
He congratulated the audience on the adoption of the Political Declaration of the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly against corruption. The declaration encompasses a significant number of initiatives that would contribute to enhancing the joint efforts of countries in combating corruption, most notably, the establishment of the Global Network of Anti-Corruption Law Enforcement Authorities (GlobE Network).
Kahmous called on all countries to actively participate in the establishment of the network, provide necessary support for the success of this initiative and follow up on its development, in a way that served the common interests of all countries. He stressing the importance of cooperation among the member states to combat corruption.