Open Letter to States Parties to the UNCAC: Advance strong resolution on public procurement

Published: 01 November 2023

Dear Delegates of the States Parties to the UN Convention Against Corruption,

We, 106 civil society organizations supporting public procurement best practices and open contracting in 58 countries, would like to call your attention to the opportunity to advance and strengthen the implementation of the UNCAC at the 10th Conference of States Parties (CoSP) to the UNCAC in Atlanta, Georgia, through a resolution on public procurement.

Public procurement represents a third of all government spending, making up more than US $13 trillion in economic value each year. It’s also a government’s number 1 corruption risk, with nearly two thirds of cases prosecuted under the OECD anti-bribery convention involving public contracts. 

As we run short on time to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals against a backdrop of growing debt and inflationary pressures, optimizing every dollar of this enormous sum of public money is more urgent than ever. From building climate resilient infrastructure to providing children with a quality education to rolling out vaccination programs to creating economic opportunities for small businesses and more, public procurement is the front line of how people around the world experience their government’s ability to meet their needs.

In the past two decades of UNCAC implementation, governments around the world have piloted and scaled game-changing reforms that have opened up public contracts to combat corruption, improve government efficiency and drive economic opportunity. Civil society has played a valuable role in designing these reforms, using procurement data, monitoring for red flags, and sharing feedback with government entities on contract delivery.

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

  1. Introduce and craft a robust, dedicated resolution bringing together the latest public procurement best practices into one point of reference that acknowledges the advances of the past two decades in ICTs, data, digital tools and good practice. 
  2. Mandate updated, user-friendly guidance on implementing UNCAC Chapter II Article 9, translated into UN official languages for broad accessibility.
  3. Commission UNODC research into good practices on digitization and transparency of public procurement and its intersection with Sustainable Development Goals on gender, equity, environmental sustainability and economic opportunity.
  4. Support stronger, more meaningful inclusion of civil society, academia and the private sector in the implementation of reforms and monitoring of public procurement, including through enhanced collaboration with UN country and regional programs 
  5. Commit to 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 best practice norms in the fight against corruption, we urge the States Parties to the UNCAC to make transparency in public procurement a high priority at the 10th CoSP, and seize the opportunity to play a pivotal role in supporting states to take full advantage of the economic power of public procurement to drive the Sustainable Development Agenda.

Signatories (listed alphabetically)

  • 21st Century Community Empowerment for Youth and Women Initiative, Nigeria 
  • Access Info Europe, Spain 
  • Accountability Lab, USA
  • AC -Anti Corruption Organization, Cameroon
  • Action Durable Togo
  • ACT International, Canada
  • Africa Centre for Open Governance (AfriCOG), Kenya
  • Africa Freedom of Information Centre, Uganda
  • African Center for Governance Asset Recovery and Sustainable Development, Nigeria
  • Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), Nigeria
  • Agora, Mexico
  • Al-Nahrain Foundation for Supporting Transparency & Integrity, Iraq
  • Alliance Nationale des Consommateurs et de l’Environnement (ANCE), Togo
  • ARTICLE 19: Global Campaign for Free Expression, United Kingdom
  • Association Maçons de l’Education, Niger
  • AWTAD Organization for Combating Corruption, Yemen
  • Bahraini Transparency Society 
  • Botswana Watch Organization
  • Budget Advocacy Network, Sierra Leone
  • Cameroonian Human Rights League
  • Campaign for Freedom of Information, UK
  • CDDI, Albania
  • Centre for Development and Democratization of Institutions, Albania
  • Center for Fiscal Transparency and Integrity Watch, Nigeria
  • Centre for Free Expression, Canada
  • Centre for the Study of Corruption, University of Sussex, United Kingdom
  • Center for the Study of Democracy, Bulgaria
  • Centre for Youth Initiative on Self Education, Nigeria
  • Centro de Innovacion para las Contrataciones y Abastecimiento Estatal (CICAB), Chile
  • Children and Young People Living for Peace, Nigeria  
  • CISE Malawi
  • Computer Literacy Shelter & Welfare Centre Rawalpindi, Pakistan 
  • Construisons Ensemble le Monde, Democratic Republic of Congo Kinshasa
  • Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation, Malta
  • Dialogue and Research institute (DRI), South Sudan
  • Expert Forum Romania
  • Freedom for Eurasia, Austria 
  • Freedom of Information Center of Armenia
  • Fundación Ciudadanía y Desarrollo, Ecuador
  • Fundacion Multitudes, Latin America & Caribbean region
  • Fundación Nacional para el Desarrollo (FUNDE/TI), El Salvador
  • Fundapi, Ecuador
  • Ghana Integrity Initiative
  • HEDA Resource Centre, Nigeia
  • IMCO, Mexico
  • Improve Your Society 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 Project
  • International Movement for Advancement of Education Culture Social & Economic Development (IMAECSED), India
  • Jordan Transparency Center 
  • K-Monitor, Hungary
  • Kosovo Law Institute
  • NF Civic Alliance, Montenegro
  • Observatório Social de Mato Grosso, Brazil
  • Open Contracting Partnership, Global
  • Open Data Charter, Argentina
  • Open Ownership, Global
  • Pakistan Rural Workers Social Welfare Organization
  • Partners Albania for Change and Development 
  • Progress Integrated Community Development Organization (PICDO), Ethiopia
  • PROMAD Foundation, Nigeria
  • Public-Private Integrity, Gambia
  • Public and Private Development Centre, Nigeria
  • Open Government Institute, Brazil
  • Reacción Paraguay
  • Réseau Nigérien Anti-Corruption (RENAC), Niger
  • Sange Research Center, Kazakhstan
  • Society for the Widows and Orphans, Nigeria 
  • Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS)
  • Spotlight on Corruption, United Kingdom
  • Tecnológico de Monterrey. Iniciativa de Transparencia, Anticorrupción y Digitalización, Mexico
  • ​​The Sentry, USA
  • Transparency and Accountability in Totality Initiative – FollowTaxes Kaduna, Nigeria
  • Transparência Brasil
  • Transparencia por Colombia
  • Transparency International Bangladesh
  • Transparency International Anticorruption Center, Armenia 
  • Transparência Internacional Brasil
  • Transparency International Canada
  • Transparency International Cambodia
  • Transparency International Germany
  • Transparency International Kenya
  • Transparency Mauritius
  • 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 U.S.
  • Transparency International Zambia
  • Transparency International Zimbabwe
  • Uganda Debt Network
  • UNCAC Civil Society Coalition
  • Uniting 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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