Corruption is a threat to peace and development [fr]
Corruption and Security
Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 10 September 2018
Allow me at the outset to thank the United States for having taken the initiative of convening this unprecedented meeting of the Security Council on the fight against corruption in conflict situations. We also warmly thank Secretary-General António Guterres and Mr. Prendergast for their illuminating briefings.
Corruption is both a consequence of instability and conflict and an important factor in exacerbating them. The Council is therefore the appropriate forum to address this issue, but we must do so in a pragmatic, operational and non-ideological manner.
In addition to significantly weakening institutions that safeguard the rule of law, corruption leads to drastic economic disparity and promotes organized crime and the financing of terrorism. It thereby undermines the security and the political, economic and social development of affected States. In that regard, it can be an obstacle to international peace and security, particularly in countries in conflict or post-conflict situations, which often suffer a lack of institutions or weak institutions. Those countries, already vulnerable, are often the first victims of the ravages of corruption, which affects the stability of the State, the security of its citizens and the future of the country.
Beyond the threat it poses to peace, corruption is a major obstacle to development. Free of all ideology, France’s pragmatic approach helps us to us see corruption as a threat to peace and development. It is an insidious evil that rots them both. Conversely, good governance — that is, a legal and institutional environment that promotes transparency and accountability — is a necessary condition for peacebuilding and development.
In that context, it is absolutely essential that the international community remain fully engaged in the fight against corruption at all levels — national, regional and international. Fifteen years after its adoption, the United Nations Convention against Corruption remains the only universal instrument and a pillar of the international fight against corruption. France reiterates its call for the strict implementation of the Convention by all States, in particular through its review mechanism, which helps to ensure the effective monitoring of the application of the Convention.
In that framework, each State has a responsibility and duty to act to put an end to corruption. Since we are here to share best practices, let me briefly share France’s experience. We have considerably strengthened our anti-corruption powers by mobilizing public authorities, economic actors and civil society, who are closer to the field and promote innovative initiatives. To prevent and effectively fight corruption, non-State actors, who have essential expertise and links on the ground, play a major role. It is therefore important to implement joint strategies that bring together States, civil society and the private sector. That is the key to success.
Those avenues are part and parcel of the assessment to which France was subjected this year as part of the second review cycle of the Convention against Corruption.
In order to effectively fight corruption, economic transparency is also essential. That is why in 2016 France adopted a law on transparency, the fight against corruption and the modernization of the economy. That law also created the French anti-corruption agency that is responsible for drawing up recommendations on the prevention of and assistance in detecting corruption for public and economic actors, as well as a national plan for the prevention of corruption. We encourage all States to establish robust national mechanisms to prevent and combat corruption.
Beyond the national level, regional and international organizations also have a central role to play in contributing to anti-corruption efforts and in supporting States that express a need for them. In Europe, for example, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Council of Europe have developed particularly relevant regional legal instruments. The Group of 20 also has an anti-corruption working group, which France is co-chairing with Argentina until the end of this year.
Finally, I would like to highlight the key role of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) as the guarantor of the Convention against Corruption. The UNODC undertakes many anti-corruption activities, including the facilitation of the review mechanism and technical assistance activities — for example, training workshops for judges and prosecutors or assistance in the drafting of legislative documents — in order to help States implement their international obligations in that area. We encourage all Member States to support the important work of the UNODC in that regard.
Let me conclude by stressing the importance of international cooperation in the fight against corruption, in particular in order to learn from the best practices already in place. France thus fully supports the Open Government Partnership, which we co-chaired in 2016. That initiative, which seeks to increase the openness of public data and civic participation in public decision-making and is now comprised of more than 70 countries from all continents, is a formidable tool for preventing corruption risks. We hope that as many States as possible will join those efforts, and on behalf of France, I would like to once again make an appeal to that end.