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Sharm El-Sheikh Declaration warns of dangers of corruption in economic spending and health relief

CAIRO: The Sharm El-Sheikh Declaration, issued at the ninth session of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption that concluded on Friday, warned of the increasing risks of corruption, represented in economic spending and health relief.

The Sharm El-Sheikh Declaration, called for securing the response to emergencies and crises by collecting best practices and challenges, with the aim of developing guidelines to enhance cooperation to prevent, identify, investigate and prosecute corruption in times of emergency and during response and recovery from crises, according to the Middle East News Agency.

More than 2,100 participants from governments, regional and intergovernmental organizations, civil society, the academic community and the private sector from more than 150 countries, attended physically and virtually to participate in the work of the ninth session of the conference under the Egyptian presidency last week.

There were more than 70 events on the sidelines of the session, which included discussions on corruption, gender, health care, COVID-19, sports, education and youth.

The United Nations Convention against Corruption is considered the only legally binding global instrument against the crime of corruption.

The convention, which came into force in December 2005, has almost universal compliance and has been ratified by 189 countries.

Under the convention, countries are legally obliged to prevent and criminalize corruption, strengthen international cooperation, recover and return looted funds and improve technical assistance and information exchange in both the public and private sectors.

At the conference’s closing session, Ghada Wali, Under-Secretary-General of the UN and Head of the UN Office on Crime and Drugs, announced that countries had agreed on eight resolutions that support international efforts to combat corruption in the coming years.

Wali said that the Sharm El-Sheikh Declaration on fighting corruption in times of crisis stresses the need to recover from the coronavirus pandemic with integrity, and it helps countries support their readiness to face future emergencies.

Wali alluded to decisions taken during the current session related to recovering looted funds, activating regional and international cooperation, education and youth empowerment, and following up on commitments made during the previous sessions of the conference to strengthen the prevention of corruption and encourage cooperation among the supervisory institutions.

The member states agreed that the US should host next year’s session.

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