UN grants CERC the ECOSOC special consultative status

CERC is pleased to announce that we have been granted Special Consultative Status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the UN’s central platform for reflection, debate, and innovative thinking on sustainable development.

Consultative status is granted by ECOSOC upon recommendation of the Committee on NGOs, which is comprised of 19 Member States. It was through ECOSOC that non-governmental organisations first took a role in formal UN deliberations.

Consultative Status, depending on the level, gives NGOs a number of rights to participate in the work of the UN, to present their views and deliver testimony. Organisations enjoying general and special status can attend the Council’s meetings and circulate statements. Special consultative status is granted to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that have a special competence in, and are concerned with, only a few fields of activity covered by the ECOSOC.

“In CERC’s case, our work straddles corruption and human rights. Being awarded Special Consultative Status means that CERC’s advocacy work with the UN, and most importantly within Africa through UNECA (the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa), will be a little bit easier as this will allow us access to high level sessions and facilitates easier participation within these processes,” says Heri Bitamala, CERC’s CEO.

ECOSOC serves as the central forum for formulating policy recommendations addressed to member states and the United Nations system. Fifty-four UN member states from various geographical locations are represented on the Council, including Zimbabwe, Botswana, Benin, Angola, Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Mali and Nigeria.

ECOSOC engages a wide variety of stakeholders in a productive dialogue on sustainable development through a programmatic cycle of meetings. Consultative status provides NGOs with access to not only ECOSOC, but also to its many subsidiary bodies, to the various human rights mechanisms of the UN ad-hoc processes on small arms, as well as special events organised by the President of the UN General Assembly.

The awarding of Consultative Status follows a rigorous application and thorough vetting of an organisation’s governance and financial systems, including its credibility as a leader in its field. “CERC is very grateful for this recognition and the opportunities it presents for our global advocacy work,” says Mr Bitamala, “We will use this Consultative Status to strengthen our work championing anti-corruption, human rights and governance in Democratic Republic of the Congo.”

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Maganga Masembe, Communication Officer
Email: [email protected]
Tel: +243977757227

Heri Bitamala, CEO
Emal : [email protected]
Tel: +243827332229

Strengthening CERC’s capacity on the review mechanism of UNCAC implementation

From 5 to 6 August 2021, a second training to build the capacity of the Anti-Corruption Research Centre (CERC) programme staff on the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) and its review mechanism took place in Kinshasa.

During the two-day workshop organised as part of the production of a civil society parallel report on the implementation of the UNCAC by the Democratic Republic of Congo, 7 staff members attended training sessions on the UNCAC to enhance their knowledge and skills on the role of civil society and its participation in the review process under the convention.

UNCAC is the only legal instrument to fight corruption worldwide. Article 13 of the convention stipulates that States Parties shall encourage the active participation of civil society in the prevention and combating of corruption. In sum, with this training, 7 people were trained and equipped with the necessary tools to enable them to implement the UNCAC and its review mechanism in the DRC.

The 7 participants of the training and the trainers
The 7 participants of the training and the trainers

12 senior education officials met with CERC to discuss accountability issues in the education sector.

As part of the “Students Acting for Accountability and Quality Education in DRC” project, CERC held a second consultative workshop with 12 senior officials of the Ministry of Primary, Secondary and Technical Education to discuss the challenges of transparency and accountability in the education sector.

Embedding Integrity clubs in secondary schools as well the integrity education manual in the national curriculum were at the heart of discussion with these senior officials, who supported and praised this innovative approach to instilling integrity values in school-age children.

Diverse other topics were discussed, including the deployment in the coming months of our mobile application “EduCheck” allowing students to collect data on transparency, on students and parents participation in school management and on education services delivery challenges in their own schools.

Closing the session, participants praised the integrity building project implemented by CERC in South Kivu since 2017 and its extension in Kinshasa schools where corruption has taken up residence. They also recommended broadening discussions with other government bodies such as the Ministry of Budget and the Ministry of Finance, stressing that they are much more concerned with the financing of the education sector.

A consultative workshop with non-state actors to discuss the transparency and accountability challenges

CERC held a consultative workshop on 26 July 2021 with state and non-state actors, including parents’ organizations, teachers’ unions and schools’ management bodies to discuss transparency and accountability issues in education sector.

This consultative workshop was organized as part of the project “Students Acting for the Accountability and quality of education in the Democratic Republic of Congo” to:

  • assess the understanding of key actors and their capacity to implement anti-corruption and transparency measures in the education sector.
  • discuss the transparency and accountability challenges, and
  • discuss innovative approaches to transparency and accountability in the Congolese education sector.

19 participants representing organizations such as the National Parents Association (ANAPECO), Catholic Schools Parents Association (APEC), Protestant Schools Parents Association (APEP), National Teachers Union (SYECO), the League of the African Zone for the Défense of the Rights of Children and Students (LIZADEL), the National Coalition of Education for All (CONEPT DRC) , Catholic Schools Teachers Union (SYNECATH) and Protestant Schools Teachers Union (SYNEP), among others, took part in this consultative workshop.

On July 27, 20 senior education officials are expected to attend the second day of this consultation to discuss student participation in education policy and budget development.

CERC met with the Ministry of Justice officials to discuss UNCAC implementation and CSOs participation in the review process

The Executive Director of the Anti-Corruption Research Centre, Mr. Heri Bitamala, and his Executive Assistant in charge of Advocacy and Policy Engagement, Mr. Musa Nzamu Jonathan met with the Ministry of Justice officials, on Friday 14 May 2021, to discuss UNCAC implementation and Civil Society participation in the review process in the DR Congo.

Several issues were at the heart of this meeting, including the participation of civil society in the review process and the production this year of the shadow report on the implementation of the UNCAC by the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Note that CERC has been an ordinary member of the Coalition for the implementation of the UNCAC since 2020, and as such will represent civil society in the production of the Civil Society Parallel Report on the implementation of the UNCAC by the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), which entered into force on 14 December 2005 and has been ratified by the DRC since 23 September 2010, is the most comprehensive and respected global anti-corruption convention. As of January 2013, the UNCAC has been ratified by 165 countries. The Convention obliges States Parties to implement a wide range of detailed anti-corruption measures that affect laws, institutions and practices, including international cooperation, in their respective countries. The UNCAC Conference of the Parties is the instrument for the implementation of the Convention.

CERC, Transparency International and other civil society groups call on the UN General Assembly to act on globalised corruption

To tackle transnational, large-scale and high-level forms of corruption, UN member states should task a special intergovernmental expert group with the development of concrete solutions, say 96 organisations in a joint letter. The urgent request comes at a time when governments are preparing for the first-ever UN General Assembly Special Session against Corruption (UNGASS 2021), taking place in June.

The signatories include prominent national and global civil society organisations working to curb corruption, organised crime, human rights abuses and environmental crimes. Private sector and professional groups such as the International Chamber of Commerce and the International Bar Association’s Anti-Corruption Committee have also signed the joint appeal.

The UNGASS 2021 is mandated to adopt an “action-oriented” political declaration that should set the course of global anti-corruption efforts for the years to come. The letter urges governments to use this historic occasion to start to address the gaps and weaknesses in the current international framework. In particular, signatories call for the creation of a multi-stakeholder expert working group that would develop technical proposals for new arrangements.

Gillian Dell, Head of Conventions Unit at Transparency International, said: “The current systems are failing when it comes to deterring large-scale and high-level corruption, often stretching across borders. The international anti-corruption community has been actively discussing areas for reform. What is needed now is for the UN to work on concrete new frameworks and structures for ensuring accountability and justice.”

Adopted in 2003, the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) is the only legally binding international anti-corruption treaty with a global scope. In recent years, many governments, expert groups and UN bodies have highlighted its shortcomings and called for systemic improvements. In 2019, 140 experts from around the world made over 60 recommendations for enhancing the international framework to prevent and curb “corruption involving vast quantities of assets,” also known as grand corruption. This year, the UN’s FACTI Panel concluded that the “widest possible range of enforcement tools are needed to prevent impunity” for corruption and other financial crimes.

Mathias Huter, Managing Director of the UNCAC Coalition, said: “As corruption schemes evolve, it is crucial that the international framework to tackle corruption also responds to new patterns and trends we see around the world. Discussions on gaps and weaknesses in the current anti-corruption mechanisms, and on what could be done to address them, need to be conducted in a truly inclusive manner. This means involving experts from Member States as well as from international organisations, civil society, academia, the private sector and other relevant stakeholders in order to ensure we are making meaningful progress.”

Notes to editors

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