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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
08UNVIEVIENNA668
2008-12-23 15:56:00
UNCLASSIFIED
UNVIE
Cable title:  

UNCAC WORKING GROUP MEETINGS: REVIEWING IMPLEMENTATION

Tags:   KCRM  KCOR  UNODC  UN  AU 
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VZCZCXYZ0020
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHUNV #0668/01 3581556
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 231556Z DEC 08
FM USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8870
INFO RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1431
						UNCLAS UNVIE VIENNA 000668 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KCRM KCOR UNODC UN AU

SUBJECT: UNCAC WORKING GROUP MEETINGS: REVIEWING IMPLEMENTATION
AND PROMOTING TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE

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SUMMARY
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UNCLAS UNVIE VIENNA 000668

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KCRM KCOR UNODC UN AU

SUBJECT: UNCAC WORKING GROUP MEETINGS: REVIEWING IMPLEMENTATION
AND PROMOTING TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE

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SUMMARY
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1. SUMMARY: The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) hosted two
intergovernmental expert working group meetings during the week of
December 15 to promote implementation of the UN Convention against
Corruption (UNCAC). During the meeting of the Review of
Implementation Working Group on December 15-17, experts from over 70
countries began negotiating various options for designing a new
mechanism to review implementation of UNCAC. Major differences
remain between some G-77 (China, Egypt, Iran, Pakistan, and Cuba)
and non-G-77 (UK, Norway, France, Netherlands) countries on key
principles that will shape the mechanism, including the sources and
confidentiality of information that will be considered during the
review process, the form and nature of the group that will review
implementation reports, and whether reviews will include site visits
of experts to the country under review. While the U.S. vision for
the mechanism appears a potential middle-ground for compromise, the
U.S. and Japan seem isolated on our insistence that the new
mechanism must be funded entirely with voluntary contributions.
Delegates will meet informally prior to the next formal meeting of
the working group in May 2009 and attempt to resolve these several
key contentious issues.


2. SUMMARY CONTINUED: During the meeting of the Technical Assistance
Working Group on December 18-19, experts from over 60 countries met
to refine ideas on how technical assistance can best support
implementation of UNCAC. The constructive discussion resulted in
recommendations to enhance technical assistance coordination at the
in-country level, though the nature of that coordination is still
not fully agreed, and to conduct future expert-based seminars to
identify the challenges of implementing certain UNCAC commitments.
Delegates also endorsed a UNODC proposal to create a pool of experts
who are knowledgeable about the UNCAC and can be used by UNODC and
other technical assistance providers to help respond to requests for
help in implementing UNCAC. END SUMMARY

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DESIGNING A NEW UNCAC REVIEW MECHANISM
--------------


3. The UNCAC Review of Implementation Working Group met in Vienna on

December 15-17, 2008, to pursue its mandate, given by the 2nd UNCAC
Conference of States Parties (COSP) in January, to develop terms of
reference for a new mechanism to review implementation among States
Parties. The ultimate goal is to finalize terms of reference that
can be approved by the 3rd COSP, scheduled to be held in Doha in
early November 2009. The U.S. delegation, led by John Brandolino,
Senior INL Advisor to the U.S. Mission to UN Agencies in Vienna
(UNVIE), consisted of representatives of State/INL and the U.S.
Office of Government Ethics.


4. Delegates from over 60 countries began negotiations using a text
created by the UNODC secretariat. The text, created after informal
consultations held in November and based upon written proposals
submitted during the summer by 33 countries, contains multiple
options for designing a new UNCAC review mechanism. Options range
from requiring each country to conduct a modest self-assessment to
implementing a robust peer review model which would involve expert
site visits to each country under review. Negotiations progressed
slowly. At the end of three days, delegates had discussed only 20
of approximately 50 paragraphs.

--------------
FUNDAMENTAL DIFFERENCES REMAIN
--------------


5. Several areas of contention emerged during the negotiations.
These include: (1) defining the nature and composition of the body
that will undertake the reviews; (2) identifying the sources of
information that can be used by the body and whether such
information, including any resulting individual country review
reports, will be kept confidential; and (3) determining whether
reviews must include site visits of reviewing experts to reviewed
countries. Positions remained firm, with some outspoken G-77
delegations (China, Egypt, Cuba, Iran, and Pakistan) supporting a
very modest and potentially ineffective vision of a review process
that would involve reviewing only information provided by the
government under review, lead to individual country reports that
could not be made public, and forbid any site visits of experts to
countries under review. In contrast, several outspoken non-G-77
delegations (UK, Netherlands, Norway, France) advocated for a review
process that would include a formal role for civil society, require
expert site visits to each country under review, and result in
individual country implementation reports that would be
automatically made available to the public.


6. The U.S. vision for a new mechanism, which anticipates peer
review but also some degree of country ownership over individual
review reports, remains reflected in the resulting text and

represents a potential middle ground for compromise. However, given
the stark differences that emerged between some G-77 and non-G-77
countries, several supporters of a more robust process, including
the U.S., met in the margins to begin defining any common redlines
for establishing a credible review process worth our time and
effort.


7. While delegates did not reach agreement on a text discussing the
issue of how the mechanism should be funded, meetings on the margins
revealed that the U.S. and Japan are isolated in their insistence
that the mechanism should be funded entirely by voluntary
contributions. Even natural allies on this issue (UK, Australia)
appear ready to accept UN regular budget funding for this process,
seeing anticorruption and UNCAC as important enough for an exception
to their usual call for UN budget discipline. U.S. delegates
presented arguments on the margins as to why regular budget funding
is inappropriate, but delegations continued to reiterate their
desire for consistent, stable and non-earmarked funding.


8. The Review of Implementation Working Group will meet again in May
2009 to continue negotiations on the text. As proposed by the U.S.
to the UNODC secretariat, there will likely be an additional round
of informal consultations in Vienna prior to May to try to resolve
specifically the several key areas of contention.

--------------
ENHANCING TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE
--------------


9. The UNCAC Technical Assistance Working Group met in Vienna on
December 18-19, 2008, to pursue its mandate to determine needs and
priorities for technical assistance to support implementation of the
convention. The U.S. delegation, led by John Brandolino, Senior INL
Advisor to UNVIE, consisted of representatives of State/INL and the
U.S. Agency for International Development.


10. Prior to the meeting, the UNODC secretariat provided an
analysis of technical assistance needs identified by the 68
respondent countries to the UNCAC self-assessment checklist. The
analysis showed a need for assistance in legislative drafting and
with help in implementing several articles found in the
criminalization, prevention and asset recovery chapters. UNODC
proposed several methods to facilitate addressing these needs.
These included developing a country-specific matrix that would
facilitate the matching of technical assistance supply and demand,
and establishing a roster of experts administered by UNODC who would
possess some expertise on UNCAC and who could be used by UNODC and
other technical assistance providers to promote implementation of
UNCAC. The OECD Development Assistance Committee's GovNet also
tabled a conference room paper on steps the donor community can take
to foster good practices in assistance related to implementation of
UNCAC, such as mainstreaming UNCAC into development assistance and
promoting country-level processes to define needs and coordinate
among donors and with host-country counterparts.


11. Following two days of constructive deliberations, delegates
from over 60 countries eventually endorsed a number of the ideas
proposed by UNODC and the donors. Participants supported creation
of a roster of experts, although the U.S. insisted successfully that
UNODC prepare a formal project proposal outlining the details of how
they intend to administer such a roster and also indicating any
needs for voluntary funding. Donor efforts to ensure that
coordination of UNCAC implementation assistance is integrated into
existing donor-host country dialogue mechanisms was met with
resistance from some countries (Egypt, Iran, China) who seek to
portray UNCAC assistance as separate from other development
assistance. Nonetheless, delegates endorsed the need to enhance
in-country coordination, which opens the door to a U.S. proposal on
the margins for donors to test in-country coordination in several
countries and report on their results to the next working group
meeting scheduled for September 2009. Donor representatives, both
during the meeting and on the margins, declared their commitment to
mainstream UNCAC into their anticorruption operations, noting the
need for UNCAC to frame their work in this area.

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ASSET RECOVERY ON THE MARGINS
--------------


12. While the issue of asset recovery was not on any formal agenda,
the U.S. delegation capitalized on opportunities to advance U.S.
interests on that issue. Several countries informally reiterated
their support for an informal expert discussion process launched by
the U.S. at the September working group meetings to identify areas
for strengthening implementation of UNCAC's international asset
recovery framework. The U.S., now joined by Peru, circulated earlier
in the month a summary of those September discussions and potential
next steps to continue the dialogue among asset recovery experts
from over 20 key countries. To support the process, Switzerland
hosted a dinner meeting on December 16 that brought key G-77
representatives (Egypt, China, Brazil, Indonesia, Peru) together

with representatives of financial center and other countries
(Switzerland, U.S., Canada, France, Russia) to discuss common
concerns and the possibility of closer coordination in the
development of ideas for the 3rd COSP.


13. The cordial conversation built legitimacy for the idea of a
continued expert dialogue-- parallel and not supplanting the COSP
process on practical asset recovery tools and recommendations,
including the idea of developing a network of expert focal points.
To maintain momentum, State/INL will follow up in January on the
next steps identified in the summary of the September discussions.
Switzerland communicated to us their willingness to help facilitate
the dialogue by hosting a 1 to 2 day meeting prior to the May Asset
Recovery Working Groups.

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COMMENT
--------------


14. Despite constructive dialogue and the virtual disappearance of
bloc politics in the negotiations for a new UNCAC review mechanism,
delegations must resolve several key issues before finalizing terms
of reference for a new mechanism. These unresolved issues revolve
around a very fundamental determination of whether the review
process will be entirely intergovernmental in nature or whether
information or participation from civil society is needed to enhance
the process and make it credible. We may need to approach several
G-77 delegations in capitals to engage them further and assure them
that a mechanism following the lines of the U.S. vision would be a
constructive one. We also hope to persuade countries that an
effective review process will help facilitate the provision of
technical assistance by providing more detailed information on
country and regional technical assistance needs, as well as
identifying general challenges to implementing UNCAC. In the
meantime, we will be alert to opportunities for projecting the
constructive atmosphere of these UNCAC negotiations into other areas
of our work in Vienna.


15. USDEL has cleared this cable.

PYATT