Call for a Transparent and Inclusive Review Mechanism

 The good news is that the review mechanism for the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) is up and running since July 2010! At the beginning of July the Implementation Review group met for the first time and selected the countries to be reviewed in the first five-year cycle. Those include 26 countries in the first year and about 40 in the second. An ambitious programme. What subjects will it cover? Criminalisation, enforcement and international cooperation. Crucial topics will be reviewed including independence of enforcement agencies, enforcement against bribery and embezzlement, liability of companies, bank secrecy, protection of whistleblowers and the highly important topic of mutual legal assistance between country law enforcement offices.
The question is: Will the review mechanism be effective? This will partly depend on whether UNODC, the secretariat for the UNCAC, has enough resources to carry out such a demanding programme. But equally important will be whether the review process will be transparent and inclusive. That would mean reviewed countries agree to include in their reviews the following three important elements: (1) civil society and private sector inputs to the reviews; (2) country visits and (3) prompt publication of country self-assessments and full final reports. These are crucial elements of the review process that were left optional by the resolution establishing the review mechanism. These are essential for a credible review process. And now is the time to establish the right precedents.

Since all of this was left optional, it is of critical importance that civil society and private sector get active at the country level in promoting the opt-ins, in monitoring the review process and in making well-founded submissions with their views on the implementation of the relevant articles. For CSOs in the approximately 70 countries in the first and second years of the review process the time for action is now! Time to contact your government focal point about the review process. Time to let them know that we will be monitoring their decisions about inclusiveness and participation. Time to prepare quality inputs to the process. The first round of reviews is due to end in March 2011, though some of the reviews will undoubtedly be delayed.

Civil society participation and transparency are also at stake in the ongoing discussions about whether NGOs should be accorded observer status in the Implementation Review Group (IRG), which is the subsidiary body that oversees the UNCAC review process. The UN Office of Legal Affairs was consulted on this matter and issued a Legal Opinion in August in favour of allowing such observer status – see the Legal Opinion here. However, to date the IRG has reached interim decisions excluding NGO observers from their meetings.

The above considerations have led he UNCAC Coalition, a global network of over 240 civil society organisations in 100 countries, to call on States Parties to the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to ensure that the newly functioning UNCAC review mechanism is transparent and participatory at all levels. You can find that statement here.

Gillian Dell, December 2010.


Archive pour décembre, 2010

70 million euros (770 million dirhams) to finance the assistance program for the agricultural sectoral policy.

Morocco and the European Union signed, on Friday in Rabat, an agreement worth 70 million euros (770 million dirhams) to finance the assistance program for the agricultural sectoral policy.

This new program will support the implementation of the Moroccan Green Plan benefitting the rural zone, notably the solidarity-based agriculture sector which includes 800,000 farmers and covers 10% of the usable agricultural land.

The agreement was signed by Economy and Finance Minister Salaheddine Mezouar, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Aziz Akhannouch and the head of the EU delegation in Rabat, Ambassador Eneko Landaburu.

The assistance program for the agricultural sectoral policy will span three years and target the eastern region as well as the regions of Draa, Boulemane and Tafilalet.

It is aimed at gradually upgrading the industries of red meat, date palms, olives and other local products mainly truffles.

This will help ramp up production, improve farmers’ income, create job opportunities and promote the quality of processed products.

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[1] Morocco and the European Union signed, on Friday in Rabat, an agreement worth 70 million euros (770 million dirhams) to finance the assistance program for the agricultural sectoral policy.

 

Fund of 25 mln dollars allocated to promote trade

The Moroccan government has started to implement stimulating measures, aiming to promote trade and investment between Morocco and its African partners in 2011, notably allocating a $ 25 million fund, said, on Thursday in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), Morocco’s Foreign Trade Minister Abdellatif Maazouz. During a meeting that brought together Moroccan and Burkinabé decision makers, on the sidelines of the 3rd Caravan of Economic Partnership in Africa, Maazouz underlined that, as part of these stimulating measures, the flow of Moroccan private investment in Africa is being liberalized and many other actions have been taken, with a view to promote inter-African trade. Tackling south-south trade and its major impact on the growth rates posted by emerging economies despite the crisis, the minister stressed the need to further boost inter-African change. Analysts consider Africa as one of the main sources of global growth in the upcoming decades, with over one million inhabitants, a $1,600 billion GDP in 2008 and consumption worth $860 billion, he said, underscoring that Africa also comprises 60% of the uncultivated arable lands in the world. Recalling that trade between Morocco and Burkina Faso exceeded $ 25 million in 2009, he called for further reinforcing this trade and taking more initiatives to involve the private sectors of the two countries. In this regard, he called for signing the preferential trade and investment draft agreement, which was initialed late 2008 by Morocco and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), including Burkina Faso.

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Fund of 25 mln dollars allocated to promote trade between Morocco and its African partners, Minister

Trade exchanges between US and Morocco

Trade exchanges between the United States and Morocco, bound by a free trade agreement, witnessed « a significant growth » over the past few years, American Assistant Secretary for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs José W. Fernandez said on Thursday in Washington.

The US official, who was speaking at a press conference following his tour in the Maghreb region, said that bilateral trade ties could be further boosted, highlighting the business opportunities offered by Morocco and the United States.

Fernandez called for bringing the two countries’ businessmen closer as part of the US-North Africa partnership for economic opportunity which was recently launched. Since the enforcement of the free trade agreement in 2006, the volume of trade exchanges between Morocco and the US increased by around 150% to reach 2.3 billion dollars in 2008.Morocco’s exports to the US rose by 99%, over the same period, to 879 billion dollars, according to figures provided by the US Department of Commerce. Washington

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[1] Trade exchanges between US and Morocco witness ‘significant growth’, US official

Morocco’s phosphates and derivatives

Morocco’s exports of phosphates and derivatives stood at 29.29 billion dirhams(1 Dirham = 0.117 USD) up to late October 2010 against 15.65 billion dirhams last year, a 87.2% rise, according to Morocco’s exchange rate monitoring body « Office des Changes ».

 Phosphoric acid exports rose 67.7%, reaching more than 11.42 billion dirhams against 6.80 billion dirhams, with a volume up 26.9%.

 As to exports of natural and chemical fertilizers, they increased 5.42 billion dirhams, standing at 10.47 billion dirhams compared to 5.04 billion dirhams, with a volume up 41%, the office said.

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[1] Morocco‘s phosphates and derivatives exports up more than 87% at end Oct.

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