On 24 September, the General Assembly held a high-level plenary meeting on “The Rule of Law at the National and International Levels”. In recognition of the growing centrality of the issue in the United Nations’ mission, this was the General Assembly’s first high-level meeting on the rule of law. It witnessed the participation of Heads of State and Ministers from over 80 countries.
The meeting called for the full commitment of Member States to maintain, strengthen and promote the rule of law, and furthermore stressed the importance of international cooperation in this regard. A number of side events were organized on the day of the meeting, including a high-level panel discussion on “Strengthening the rule of law: The fight against corruption and its impact on sustainable economic growth.” The panel was hosted by Austria, Estonia, Japan, and Tunisia, and was addressed by Heinz Fischer, the President of Austria, Thoomas Hendrik Ilves, the President of Estonia, and Rafik Abdessalem, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tunisia. The closing statement was delivered by Koichiro Gemba, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan. IACA was represented by the Chair of the International Transition Team and Executive Secretary to its Provisional Commission, Martin Kreutner, who served as a panelist along with UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov, Jason Stevens from Mitsubishi International Corporation, and Kevan Rogan from Siemens Corporation.
This particular panel focused on the vast negative effects corruption has on societies and economic growth. Not only does corruption decrease the legitimacy of government institutions and reduce economic development, but it likewise weakens social stability and human development. Addressing corruption with a strong rule of law, transparent legal processes, capable law-abiding institutions, and thorough regulatory frameworks is thus essential for achieving sustainable economic growth. In his speech, Martin Kreutner called for states to not only ratify, but also enforce and monitor the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), and renewed his invitation to UN Member States to join IACA. He moreover urged for strong cooperation with the corporate business community since, "a well-informed and responsive public-civic-business dialogue is indeed at the very heart of a successful path forward as it paves the way for participatory reform processes. The high-level meeting, held a day prior to the General Assembly debate, culminated in the adoption of a declaration emphasizing the correlation between the rule of law and development, urging Member States to ratify international conventions and calling for intensified cooperation.