UN Against Corruption
Students of HSE in St. Petersburg have participated in the largest international anti-corruption forum. The conference’s main topic was ‘State and Business Partnership in Preventing Corruption and Fighting It’.
On November 3, 2015, students of Public and Municipal Administration participated in a roundtable side-event as part of the Sixth Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption at Lenexpo. Over 1500 delegates from 162 signatories to the UN Convention against Corruption took part in the conference. As a result of the event, they approved 12 resolutions.
Petr Kalinin, first-year HSE student of Public and Municipal Administration, shared his impressions of this global event:
‘I was astonished by the scale of this meeting of delegations from all over the world, who decided to share their experience of fighting the global problem of corruption, which exists to some extent in every nation.
The conference was organized according to the very highest standards. Up to six events took place simultaneously. English was the main language, but plenary sessions were translated simultaneously from six languages. It was said that developing countries, one of which is Russia, suffer the most from this problem, which is closely connected with economic crime and money laundering.
International cooperation in this sphere is constantly gaining momentum. It is well acknowledged that one of the main problems on the agenda is the return of illegally obtained capital to the injured party. Between 2006 and 2012, convention participants impounded over $6,000,000 and returned less than $500,000 to the legal owners, and clearly there’s a huge gap between these numbers. Corruptionists have become smarter and faster. Despite popular opinion, in most cases today, the initiative for bribery comes from corrupt officials, who don’t just sit and wait for bribes, but create the conditions when people have to offer money themselves.
For me, this information and the range of problems considered by the conference participants was extremely useful. This discussion allowed me to understand the topic more fully. I saw and understood some opportunities for my future career and started thinking about how we can prevent corruption through joint efforts in Russia and in cooperation with other countries’.
The UN approved the Convention against Corruption 12 years ago. It is the first global tool to fight this widespread scourge and has a legally binding force. The supremacy of international law binds the participant countries to bring their legislatures to one standard. Russia actively participated in developing the convention, was one of the first to sign it in 2003, and ratified it in 2006. According to the UN, corruption, bribery, theft, and tax evasion cost developing countries $1.26 trillion annually. The problems of corruption is most pressing today in the countries of South and South-East Asia, most African regions, the Caribbean and South America, in the Pacific region, in the Middle East, and in small developing island states. Over the last two years, the UN Office of Drugs and Crime, which is responsible for implementing the Convention, supported 27 countries in improving their national legislature in order to prevent and fight corruption.