The UNCAC Coalition is a global network of over 350 civil society organisations (CSOs) in over 100 countries, committed to promoting the ratification, implementation and monitoring of the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). Established in August 2006, it mobilises civil society action for UNCAC at international, regional and national levels.
The UNCAC's framework is so comprehensive that it is relevant for a wide range of CSOs. Consequently, the Coalition includes international, regional and national groups working in the areas of human rights, labour rights, governance, economic development, environment and private sector accountability. The member groups include AccessInfoEurope, AfriCOG, Basel Institute on Governance, BRAC University Institute of Governance, Christian Aid, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, GAATW, Global Witness, Institute for Security Studies in Africa, PSI Link, Tax Justice Network, Tearfund, Transparency International, UNICORN and many many more. The secretariat for the Coalition is provided by Transparency International, one of its founding members.
The Coalition engages in joint action around common positions on the UNCAC, facilitates the exchange of information among members, and supports national civil society efforts to promote the UNCAC. Coalition members share views via the Coalition website and internet mailing list and ad hoc working groups.
The Coalition's primary campaign objective during 2006 – 2009 was to secure an effective, transparent and participatory monitoring mechanism for the UNCAC. To this end, members engaged in joint advocacy ahead of and during key intergovernmental meetings. This phase ended with the adoption, in November 2009, of an UNCAC review mechanism that started operation in July 2010. The Coalition now seeks to ensure that civil society groups can contribute to the review process and to support them in making quality submissions. It also aims to gain government agreement to publish review reports for public scrutiny.
The Coalition also sets advocacy targets in relation to specific UNCAC-related topics, such as access to information, asset recovery and protection of whistleblowers and anti-corruption activists.
A particular focus for the Coalition will remain the sessions of the UNCAC Conferences of States Parties (CoSP)—the next session will be held in Panama in 2013. Coalition members attend these intergovernmental meetings as observers. They meet with government delegates, submit statements, publish a newsletter, produce blogs, press releases and hold press briefings and much more.
Effective anti-corruption work demands efforts not only from governments, but also from civil society organisations, the private sector and the greater public. The need for participation of civil society and the importance of access to information are explicitly recognised in Article 13 of the UNCAC.
Without pressure from civil society groups, government anti-corruption commitments may remain mere window dressing. Without coordinated global action by a wide range of civil society groups, the UNCAC may not achieve its promise.