In the framework of the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption, the Working Group on the Prevention of Corruption held a meeting from 5 to 7 September at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Vienna. In view of this session’s agenda, the French authorities invited the High Authority to participate. Discussions focused on the prevention of conflicts of interest, and on the management and verification of declarations of assets and interests. Such measures are promoted by the Convention under its chapter II, and lie at the heart of the missions that have been entrusted to the High Authority since 2013.
During the first part of the working group meeting, Montenegro, New Zealand and the United States, alongside the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), spoke on a panel dedicated to mechanisms for preventing conflicts interests. After the presentations, legal reforms and amendments undertaken by other States Parties in this domain were also discussed. The UNODC report highlighted four major trends in the codification of the prevention of conflicts of interest: the adoption of specific legislation, the inclusion in general legislation, the adoption of codes of ethics, or a mixture of these different methods, and a tendency to combine the implementation of textual provisions with concrete and practical actions at the service of public officials in the exercise of their daily functions. France reiterated its support for the adoption of high-level principles for the prevention of conflicts of interest in the context of G20, and pursuant to chapter II of the Merida Convention. Moreover, France presented the progress made in the prevention of conflict interests since 2013, and the implementation of new preventive measures by the High Authority for Transparency in Public life.
The second part was devoted to asset and interest disclosure systems. On this occasion, Argentina, Russia and Malaysia presented their filing and control mechanisms. Besides, the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption put forward a summary of the recommendations elaborated on these subjects as part of its fourth evaluation round. The UNODC report identified three leading trends concerning the goals pursued by these mechanisms: the prevention of conflicts of interest, the prevention of illicit enrichment, or a combination of both, as in France, for instance.
In parallel to the discussions, Emilie Cazenave, International Partnerships Coordinator, met representatives of the members of the Network for Integrity. This working group meeting also offered an opportunity to exchange views with other counterpart institutions, in particular on procedures for verifying declarations of assets and interests, and on the implementation of dematerialized systems for collecting declarations, controlling declarative obligations, and managing declared data. Some contacts should lead to bilateral exchanges or visits, in the coming months, to allow a more detailed presentation of the French integrity system.