VIENNA/RIYADH, 26 November 2020 — The Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Ghada Waly, and the President of Saudi Arabia’s Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority (Nazaha), Mazin bin Ibrahim Al-Kahmous, signed today a 10-million US dollar funding agreement to support a global operational network of anti-corruption law enforcement authorities.
The Riyadh Initiative to establish the Vienna-based global network, launched under the G20 presidency of Saudi Arabia, was agreed at the first-ever G20 ministerial meeting on anti-corruption in October and welcomed by leaders at the G20 summit in November. UNODC will serve as secretariat of the initiative, which will support anti-corruption law enforcement authorities to enhance informal cooperation through regular meetings; an online hub and secure communication platform; and knowledge- and capacity-building programmes and tools.
“Direct and informal contact and exchange between law enforcement practitioners are vital to strengthening effective cross-border responses to tackle corruption and bribery, and recover stolen assets. The Riyadh Initiative will offer much-needed operational support to anti-corruption authorities, and I am grateful to Saudi Arabia’s G20 Presidency and our partners at Nazaha for their generous support,” said Ms. Waly.
“2021 is shaping up to be the global year of anti-corruption, with the first-ever UN General Assembly Special Session against corruption in June, and the ninth session of the Conference of the States Parties to the UN Convention against Corruption in Egypt in December. The Riyadh Initiative will provide a crucial link between high-level political commitments to strengthen international cooperation against corruption, and the operational ability to coordinate anti-corruption law enforcement action on the ground.”
Nazaha President Al-Kahmous said: “It gives me great pleasure to sign today the agreement supporting our joint efforts under the Riyadh Initiative for the establishment of the Global Operational Network of Anti-Corruption Law Enforcement Authorities. We trust that this financial contribution from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will enable the network to play an important role in fostering international cooperation through building and enhancing direct contact between anti-corruption law enforcement authorities, with the ultimate aim of denying safe haven to corrupt officials and their proceeds of crime.”
“UNODC, as the guardian to the UN Convention against Corruption, the only global comprehensive anti-corruption instrument, is the ideal host for this new global network, bringing together the requisite contacts, experience and expertise with the unique convening power of the United Nations,” he added.