U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from a U4 Partner Agency. The U4 Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International in collaboration with the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre based at the Chr. Michelsen Institute.


The United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) is the first international treaty dealing with corruption. Among other obligations, Article 13 stipulates that parties signatory to the treaty should actively promote the participation of civil society in general and NGOs in particular.

Do we have information on how states that are party to the treaty are coping with regard to the obligations laid down in Article 13? What obstacles are known to be present?


  1. Recognising the value of civil society participation
  2. CSO participation in formal UNCAC processes
  3. Challenges to civil society participation
  4. Improving civil society involvement in the UNCAC
  5. References


Civil society has a key role to play in fighting corruption, from monitoring public services, denouncing bribery and raising awareness to contributing to the implementation of international anti-corruption instruments, such as the UNCAC.

Civil society’s role in helping to fight corruption has been widely recognised and included in many international anti-corruption conventions. In the UNCAC, Articles, 5, 13 and 63 (4) (c) explicitly acknowledge a role for civil society in fighting corruption and within the convention’s work. However, in practice, civil society has not enjoyed as much access to the UNCAC and its processes as it might have liked. Civil society organisations (CSOs) are welcome to participate in some UNCAC meetings on the margins of the Implementation Review Group, and at the country level CSOs are generally consulted, despite this not being mandatory. However, civil society remains excluded from the meetings of the Implementation Review Group and the working groups of the Conference of States Parties.

Competition for resources, a perceived lack of expertise, a lack of public knowledge and interest in the UNCAC, as well as poor time management on the part of some states has hindered the ability of civil society to be fully involved in the UNCAC.


Ben Wheatland, Transparency International, [email protected]


Gillian Dell, Marie Chêne, Transparency International, [email protected]




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