Committee Overview

With 189 parties, the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) is the only legally binding universal anti-corruption treaty. The Treaty’s original mandate focuses on: “preventive measures, criminalization and law enforcement, international cooperation, asset recovery, and technical assistance and information exchange.” The UNCAC was adopted in 2003 and entered into force in 2005. Since then, the Convention has served as a complementary instrument to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC). It contains a set of standards, rules, and preventive measures for member states to detect, prevent, and fight corruption effectively. More importantly, the Convention is a pioneer in this area by demanding member states to return assets acquired from corruption to the country from which they were stolen.

Topic A: Corruption and its Effect on the Health System

Although access to healthcare is one of the most important human rights, healthcare systems are also extraordinarily susceptible to corruption due to their complexity. Healthcare systems rely on a large number of people―many of whom have specialized knowledge―and handle numerous valuable resources and materials. It should come as no surprise that many public healthcare systems around the world struggle. This corruption places high-quality healthcare out of reach to many people, putting people’s lives at risk and creating preventable deaths. Estimates of corruption also are correlated with infant mortality, vaccination rates, and life expectancy. A quality healthcare system, free of corruption, can make a difference between life and death. Combatting corruption can help improve healthcare spending, creating better, healthier outcomes for both the rich and poor alike. People who live longer can also bring wealth and prosperity to their country. Ultimately, this is an issue that affects all countries, no matter how they score on various development rankings. Delegates in UNCAC must brainstorm solutions that address the different types of corruption in healthcare systems worldwide to deliver healthy lives for all.

Topic B: Ensuring Free and Fair Elections

Elections are a crucial part of democratic decisions, which is why since 1991, the UN has been charged with the responsibility to ensure that these elections are transparent and accountable. Even during the worst parts of the COVID-19 pandemic, a time when countries needed to create new voting processes, the UN continued to support elections as a matter of the utmost importance. However, even with this assistance, corruption is still growing, undermining the rule of law and silencing the voices of the governed. Electoral corruption is diverse, including actions such as bribing voters, surpassing permitted campaign spending rules, restricting voting precincts, and ballot box stuffing. Worse still, political scientists have found that successful acts of corruption tend to lead to further and bolder acts of electoral corruption in the future. It is of utmost importance that the UN increase its efforts to combat electoral corruption to preserve the values of democracy that are enshrined in the UN Charter.