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.


Please provide an overview of the United Nations Convention against Corruption.


This paper provides an overview of the anti-corruption provisions of the UNCAC, covering criminalisation and preventive measures, international cooperation and asset recovery, as well as the Convention's implementation review mechanism. Furthermore, it provides suggestions how embassies and donor staff can use the Convention to engage partner governments on the provision of technical support and help facilitate a transparent and inclusive review process that can create momentum for reform. The guide also stresses some of the weaknesses of the Convention, including the inadequate space it provides for civil society participation and contribution.


  1. What is the UNCAC?
  2. What are the contents of the UNCAC?
  3. The Implementation Review Mechanism
  4. How can the UNCAC be used by embassy and donor agency staff?
  5. The strengths and weaknesses of the UNCAC
  6. Further readings
  7. References

Main points

  • The UNCAC is the only binding universal anti-corruption instrument.
  • The ongoing second review cycle evaluates transparency and accountability provisions as well as asset recovery. It provides an opportunity to engage partner governments around support and technical assistance. 
  • A transparent and inclusive review process at national level is crucial for impact. The Convention's minimum standards are insufficient.
  • The UNCAC provides synergies with other good governance instruments, including the OGP, SDGs and the OECD.


Mathias Huter and Ruggero Scaturro, UNCAC Coalition


Gillian Dell, Transparency International 


This Helpdesk Answer draws extensively from Hannes Hechler (2017).




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