How the UN General Assembly made FIFA look well governed...

How the UN General Assembly made FIFA look well governed...

On 6 October 2015, the President of the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, the former Antigua and Barbuda diplomat, John Ashe, was arrested by US authorities on corruption-related charges. Manhattan Prosecutor Preet Bharara suggested that Ashe, who presided over the General Assembly between September 2013 and September 2014 had, 'sold himself and the global institution he led' by accepting bribes worth more than $1.3 million to promote the interests of business executives. 

After his arrest, I wrote a blog pointing out that this scandal came the same week as a major corruption scandal at FIFA - but FIFA was better equipped, in some ways, to handle the situation. In particular, FIFA had ethical standards and accountability arrangements in place, In contrast, the office of the President of the General Assembly of the United Nations was not strictly governed by any ethical code, and the process for holding any current or former President to account was unclear. 

Later, Talitha Dowds and I developed a working paper, described in this separate blog, including concrete proposals for a Code of Ethics for the General Assembly. We also provided advice and drafting inputs to key players within the UN General Assembly. 

At the time of drafting, the General Assembly's Ad Hoc Working Group on Revitalization of the General Assembly is actively considering adoption of an Oath of Office for the Presidency, which commits the President to abide by a specific Code of Ethics. 

From Canberra to New York and back again

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