Workshop on Viet Nam's self-assessment report on UNCAC implementation

Sep 7, 2012

Speaker: United Nations Resident Coordinator, Ms. Pratibha Mehta
Date:       7 September at 9.00 am
Event:     Workshop on Viet Nam’s Self-Assessment report on UNCAC implementation 2011
Venue:    Crown Plaza, 36 Le Duc Tho Str., Hanoi

Honorable Mr. Huynh Phong Tranh, Inspector General;
Excellencies Ambassadors
Distinguished guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am very pleased to be with you this morning for the launch of Viet Nam’s self-assessment report on the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).

When the Government of Viet Nam ratified the Convention three years ago, it made a strong commitment to enhance its normative framework to address corruption and to effectively implement this framework.

UNCAC is the only global legally-binding instrument in the fight against corruption and sets out clear obligations and recommendations. Overall, the Convention has three main objectives. First, it seeks to promote and strengthen measures to prevent and combat corruption more efficiently. Second, it aims to promote, facilitate and support international cooperation and technical assistance in the prevention of and fight against corruption. And finally, the Convention seeks to promote integrity, accountability and proper management of public affairs property. These three objectives are also in line with Viet Nam’s own reform efforts to improve and enhance its public administration system and reduce opportunities for corruption and mismanagement in the public sector.

The self-assessment provides a review of national anti-corruption systems, laws, regulations, policies, institutions and programmes to implement Chapters 3 and 4 of the Convention, which deal with criminalization and law enforcement, and with international cooperation. The review finds that Viet Nam is compliant with 77 percent of the two assessed Chapters, is partially compliant with 16 percent and non compliant with 7 percent. Non-compliance is particularly found in the areas of illicit enrichment, bribery in the private sector, translation of legislation regarding money laundering, liability of legal persons, extradition provisions and joint investigations.

The self-assessment also includes a detailed list of technical assistance needs including  research to enhance the provisions of the penal code on corruption offenses, such as bribery in the private sector is recommended  as one of the priority needs. This self-assessment has also been complemented by peer review reports from Lebanon and Italy. 

With funding from the European Union, UNDP, UNODC and two international research institutes have provided technical assistance to the Government to undertake this first self-assessment. The UN focused in particular on supporting public reporting,  participation of civil society and the collection, exchange and analysis of information on corruption issues. These areas complement the self-assessment and support the full implementation of UNCAC by Viet Nam.

From the UN’s perspective we are pleased to note that the self-assessment moved beyond the minimum requirements. It included an intensive process of consultations and discussions within the Inter-Agency Task Force, as well as with the Viet Nam Fatherland Front and other mass organizations.

And with the UN’s support, non-State actors were also able to contribute to the report. For instance, it is important to recognize the openness with which the Government Inspectorate discussed the parallel report on UNCAC implementation prepared by Towards Transparency a civil society organisation.

It is also very encouraging that Viet Nam is already sharing its experience of conducting the self-assessment with other countries in the region. Recently, with UN support, one of the Vietnamese experts involved in the preparation of the report was invited to make a presentation to officials in Cambodia, in preparation for Cambodia’s upcoming UNCAC implementation review.

The UN is also supporting  Government’s implementation of UNCAC in other ways, such as through experience sharing, comparative research and the promotion of public participation in monitoring and evaluating corruption and anti-corruption efforts. This includes support to the Government Inspectorate to develop an anti-corruption monitoring system and  establishment of  an inter-ministerial coordination mechanism on UNCAC implementation.

We hope that these new mechanisms will help the Government to improve monitoring and reporting on the state of corruption and anti-corruption efforts and to promote Government coordination, which is extremely important as the implementation of UNCAC goes beyond the mandate of just one Government entity.

I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Government for initiating the revision of the anti-corruption law. This is part of the ongoing discussion on how to restructure the institutional set up to fight corruption. The UNCAC self-assessment provides important recommendations for the amendment of the anti-corruption law, including the need to close the gaps in terms of bribery, illicit enrichment and the liability of legal persons, as mentioned earlier.

I would like to encourage the Government to consider making its self-assessment report, and the peer review reports publicly available. This would not only boost continued public dialogue on the subject, but also facilitate technical cooperation and knowledge sharing with other countries.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Today’s event marks the completion of a very important task. It also opens a new chapter in the ongoing struggle to prevent and combat corruption. We very much look forward to hearing the outcomes and plans of action from this workshop, and UN System in Viet Nam stand ready to support Viet Nam’s reform plans in this area together with other development partners.

Thank you.