UN: Open letter urging public procurement transparency

Article 19 joined more than 100 other civil society organizations in an open letter to States Parties to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) urging them to make firm commitments to promote transparency in public procurement and strengthen UNCAC’s enforcement. Public procurement represents one-third of government spending, generating more than $13 trillion in economic value each year, and transparency is critical to mitigating related corruption. Read the full letter below.

UN anti-corruption

We, 110 civil society organizations supporting public procurement best practices and open contracting in 61 countries, would like to draw your attention to the 10th Conference of States Parties (CoSP) to the UNCAC to improve and strengthen the implementation of the UNCAC. Atlanta, Georgia, by Resolution on Public Procurement.

Public procurement represents one-third of total government spending, generating more than $13 trillion in economic value each year. It is the government’s No. 1 corruption risk, with nearly two-thirds of cases prosecuted under the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) anti-bribery convention covering public contracts.

With time running short to achieve sustainable growth targets against a backdrop of growing debt and inflationary pressures, leveraging every dollar of this massive public purse is more urgent than ever. From building climate-resilient infrastructure to providing quality education for children to implementing vaccination programs to creating economic opportunities for small businesses and more, public procurement is the front line of how people around the world experience government’s ability to meet their needs.

In the past two decades of UNCAC implementation, governments around the world have opened public contracts and advanced game-changing reforms to fight corruption, improve government efficiency, and improve economic opportunity. Civil society has a valuable role to play in shaping these reforms, using procurement data, monitoring red flags and sharing feedback with government agencies on contract delivery.

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Based on our collective experience advocating for these reforms and supporting their implementation, we would like to highlight five ways in which States Parties can advance transparency in public procurement in the 10th CoSP:

  1. Introduce and develop a robust, dedicated resolution that integrates the latest public procurement best practices, recognizing developments over the past two decades in information and communication technology, data, digital tools and good practice.
  2. Updated Mandate, User-friendly guidance on the implementation of UNCAC Chapter II Article 9, translated into UN official languages ​​for wider access.
  3. UNODC researches good practices on the digitization and transparency of public procurement and its intersection with the Sustainable Development Goals on gender, equity, environmental sustainability and economic opportunity.
  4. Support stronger, meaningful engagement of civil society, academia and the private sector in the implementation of reforms and public procurement monitoring, including enhanced collaboration with UN country and regional programmes.
  5. Collecting and sharing case studies of successful open contracting approaches to public procurement reform, highlighting the work of governments, civil society, the private sector and academia and sharing key lessons learned

As the leading global forum for setting codes of best practice in the fight against corruption, we call on States Parties to UNCAC to make transparency in public procurement a high priority in the 10th CoSP and to take the opportunity to play a key role in supporting States. To fully harness the economic power of public procurement to drive the sustainable development agenda.

Signatories (listed alphabetically)

  • 21st Century Social Empowerment for Nigeria’s Youth and Women
  • Access information Europe, Spain
  • Accountability Lab, USA
  • AC – Anti-Corruption Agency, Cameroon
  • Action lasting togo
  • ACT International, Canada
  • Africa Center for Open Governance (AfriCOG), Kenya
  • Africa Center for Freedom of Information, Uganda
  • African Center for Governance Asset Recovery and Sustainable Development, Nigeria
  • Africa Network for Environmental and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), Nigeria
  • Now, Mexico
  • Al-Nahrain Foundation for Transparency and Integrity, Iraq
  • National Alliance for Consumers and the Environment (ANCE), Togo
  • Article 19: Global Campaign for Free Expression, United Kingdom
  • Masons of Education Association, Niger
  • AWTAD Organization to Combat Corruption, Yemen
  • Bahrain Transparency Association
  • Botswana Watch System
  • Budget Advocacy Network, Sierra Leone
  • Cameroonian Human Rights Association
  • Campaign for Freedom of Information, UK
  • CDDI, Albania
  • Center for Development and Democratization of Institutions, Albania
  • Center for Financial Transparency and Integrity Monitoring, Nigeria
  • Free Expression Centre, Canada
  • Center for the Study of Corruption, University of Sussex, United Kingdom
  • Center for the Study of Democracy, Bulgaria
  • Youth Initiative Center for Self-Education in Nigeria
  • Innovation Center for State Contracting and Distribution (CICAB), Chile
  • Children and Youth Live for Peace, Nigeria
  • CISE Malawi
  • Computer Literacy Shelter and Welfare Center Rawalpindi, Pakistan
  • Let’s build the world together, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation, Malta
  • Dialogue and Research Institute (DRI), South Sudan
  • Expert Forum Romania
  • FACT Alliance, USA
  • Eurasia, independence for Austria
  • Freedom of Information Center of Armenia
  • Citizenship and Development Foundation, Ecuador
  • Fundacion Multtitudes, Latin America & Caribbean Region
  • Foundation for National Development (FUNDE/TI), El Salvador
  • Fundaby, Ecuador
  • Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition
  • Ghana Integrity Initiative
  • Heda Resource Centre, Nigeria
  • IMCO, Mexico
  • Improve Your Social Organization (IYSO), Yemen
  • Indonesia Corruption Watch
  • Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI), Georgia
  • Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), Namibia
  • Integrity Initiatives International, USA
  • Integrity Organization, Nigeria
  • International Lawyers Program
  • International Movement for Social and Economic Development of Educational Culture (IMAECSED), India
  • Jordan Transparency Center
  • K-Monitor, Hungary
  • Kosovo Law Firm
  • NF Civic Alliance, Montenegro
  • Social Observatory of Mato Grosso, Brazil
  • Open Contract Partnership, Global
  • Open Data Charter, Argentina
  • Open Rights, Global
  • Chadian Anti-Corruption Organization, Chad
  • Pakistan Rural Workers Social Welfare Organisation
  • Partners for Change and Development Albania
  • Progress Integrated Community Development Organization (PICDO), Ethiopia
  • PROMAD Foundation, Nigeria
  • Public-Private Integration, The Gambia
  • Center for Public and Private Development, Nigeria
  • Open Government Institute, Brazil
  • Paraguay reacts
  • Niger Anti-Corruption Network (RENAC), Niger
  • Sange Research Center, Kazakhstan
  • Society for Widows and Orphans, Nigeria
  • Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS)
  • Corruption Spotlight, United Kingdom
  • Tecnológico de Monterey. Transparency, Anti-Corruption and Digitization Initiative, Mexico
  • Sentry, USA
  • Transparency and Accountability in Total Effort – FollowTaxes Kaduna, Nigeria
  • Transparency Brazil
  • Transparency to Colombia
  • Transparency International Bangladesh
  • Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center, Armenia
  • Transparency International Brazil
  • Transparency International Canada
  • Transparency International Cambodia
  • Transparency International Germany
  • Transparency International Kenya
  • Transparency Mauritius
  • Transparency Morocco
  • Transparency International France
  • Transparency International Georgia
  • Transparency International Nepal
  • Transparency International Pakistan
  • Transparency International Portugal
  • Transparency International, Global Secretariat
  • Transparency International Spain
  • Transparency International Sri Lanka
  • Transparency International Taiwan
  • Transparency International Uganda
  • Transparency International US
  • Transparency International Zambia
  • Transparency International Zimbabwe
  • Uganda Credit Network
  • UNCAC Civil Society Coalition
  • United Church in Australia, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania, Australia
  • Uzbek Forum for Human Rights, Germany
  • Youth Initiative for Human Rights YIHR, Montenegro
  • Zimbabwe Women Against Corruption Trust
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