Side events

During the special session of the General Assembly against corruption, 2-4 June 2021, 40 virtual side events will be held online from Tuesday, 1 June, to Friday, 4 June, organized by Governments, Departments and Agencies of the United Nations, Intergovernmental and Non-Governmental Organizations and UNODC.

Side events are meetings, presentations or panel discussions on topics that are relevant to the work of the special session of the United Nations General Assembly and that are held outside the formal proceedings. Whilst the organization of these meetings is coordinated and facilitated by the Secretariat, the sole responsibility for the content of the side events (including promotional material and the events themselves) as well as for the related technical arrangements lies with the organizers. Please note that some side events might require pre-registration. Kindly reach out to the indicated email address with any question on the side event.

These events are open to registered participants of the special session. The organizations of the United Nations system are committed to enabling events at which everyone can participate in an inclusive, respectful and safe environment. Events facilitated by the UN system are guided by the highest ethical and professional standards, and all participants are expected to behave with integrity and respect towards all participants attending or involved with the event as provided by the Code of Conduct.

All times below are New York time (Eastern Daylight Time).


Tuesday, 1 June - 9.00 to 10.00

Recovering stolen assets using non-conviction based forfeiture

Organizer: Basel Institute on Governance; co-organizers: StAR, World Bank / UNODC

UNGASS calls for countries to adopt a wide range of measures to recover assets, including non-conviction based forfeiture. This event, co-chaired by ICAR and StAR Inititative and based on actual cases, will assist countries in considering introducing such legislation or applying it more effectively where it already exists. The event focuses on Chapter 5, “Asset Recovery” of the United Nations Convention against Corruption, and the use of non conviction based methods to recover assets stolen through corruption. The purpose is to show how these methods can be effectively used to recover stolen assets in cases where it may not be possible to obtain a conviction.

The nexus between corruption & conflict: A critical factor for sustainable peace & security

Organizer: Transparency International Defence and Security

Transparency International Defence & Security will facilitate this event, bringing together military, multilateral organisation and civil society voices to explore the relationship between corruption and conflict and suggest steps that the international community can take to reduce the impact of corruption on global peace and security.

Independent Professions Fighting Corruption

Organizer: International Bar Association (IBA); co-organizer: International Federation of Accountants (IFAC)

The global legal and accountancy professions are vital allies in the fight against corruption, in every country around the world.  In today’s event, distinguished leaders from both professions will discuss how their professions contribute to the fight, with a focus on ethics and independence. While the “professional enablers” narrative attracts the most attention, this event—co-hosted by the International Bar Association and the International Federation of Accountants—looks to highlight the important role the professions play as allies, as well as to strengthen the dialogue with key stakeholders and enhancing the professions’ contributions as committed partners.

Tuesday, 1 June - 10.00 to 11.00

Corruption in the health sector during crisis: strategies and opportunities

Organizer: UNDP; co-organizers: UNODC, WHO

This side event brought together representatives from governments, donor partners, civil society and international organizations to present their experiences in addressing and preventing corruption in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, including concrete examples, tools and strategies they had undertaken in integrating transparency, accountability and anti-corruption in COVID-19 policy and programmatic responses. It highlighted the good practices from multiple perspectives, countries and contexts. The panellists noted that corruption thrives during times of crisis by depleting valuable resources for financing response and recovery and undermining the effective delivery of public services, particularly in emergency contexts. They discussed the significant impact of corruption and its implications for governance systems, the economy and society, with devastating impact on poverty, inequality, trust, and social cohesion. They concluded that, without addressing and preventing corruption across sectors and different areas of crisis response and recovery, such efforts may be undermined, and the impact of recovery measures may be limited. On the other hand, they noted that ensuring transparency, accountability and anti-corruption in crisis response significantly helps to promote an effective, fair and equitable recovery, so that no one is left behind.

Compensation of victims of an act of corruption

Organizer: Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC); co-organizers: Asset Recovery Subcommittee of the International Bar Association, StAR, Transparency International

Corruption is not a victimless crime. UNCAC (art. 35 and 57.3 is a clear example of this consensus). However, victims’ compensation remains a challenge. This event will address the current practices in this regard and discuss challenges faced by practitioners (e.g. the identification of victims and the quantification of damages) and possible solutions.

Rule of Law & the Judiciary in Realizing the UNGASS Promise

Organizer: International Development Law Organization (IDLO); co-organizer: Government of Italy as Co-Chair of the G20 ACWG

The event will engage experts from developing and developed countries and international organizations in a focussed discussion on the role of the judiciary and the rule of law in combating corruption. The session will focus on the key inputs required to advance judicial independence, transparency and integrity, including with respect to building back better from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tuesday, 1 June - 13.00 to 14.00

Why Peer Review Fails

Organizer: International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES); co-organizer: U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs

Peer review processes yield critical insights, but a report alone does not change behavior or prevent backsliding on reforms. This session will present a new tool for institutions and civil society organizations seeking to maximize the impact of peer reviews and advance sustained compliance with anti-corruption standards. The tool, produced by IFES and CEELI Institute, offers step by step guidance for understanding and synthesizing recommendations and lessons from technical peer review reports, and using the resulting analysis to inform advocacy, programming, and awareness raising around anti-corruption challenges, focusing specifically on measures for the prevention of corruption.