U4 Helpdesk Answer | Public financial management

Impact of international asset recovery on poverty reduction and political accountability

U4 Expert Answer 2016:9

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In recent years there has been an increase in the international focus on the recovery of corruptly stolen assets as a major development issue. Some of this focus has been on how asset recovery can be used to reinforce and support domestic resources for development issues.

Successful asset recovery is, however, still relatively rare. This is in part due to generally poor implementation of international conventions, such as the UNCAC, but also due to the financial cost, the time involved and the necessary expertise required to actually recover assets.

Therefore, despite the increase in rhetorical interest in asset recovery and using the proceeds to bolster development spending, evidence of the actual effectiveness of these mechanisms to alleviate poverty and increase accountability of the political elite is scarce. A small number of successful asset recovery cases have provided information about what may be necessary for success and greater effectiveness of the various methods of recovering and repatriating assets, but further study is needed.

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