Sunday Read: Your Favorite NGO Goes Global

National Whistleblower Center
6 min readDec 18, 2023
This article highlighting the work done for whwistleblowers during UNCAC was written as part of NWC’s “Sunday Read” series. For more information like this, please join our mailing list.

As you read this article, the National Whistleblower Center (NWC) will have just returned to our home base after spending this past week in Atlanta (despite the title, yes, we traveled domestic).

In case you missed it, the 10th Conference of State Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (or CoSP10 to the UNCAC) took place last week in Georgia, USA, and NWC attended as one of the hundreds of participants. A three-person delegation traveled down south to represent NWC and put whistleblowers’ best interests at heart and at the forefront of the conversation.

From reminders of anti-retaliation to intense review and discussion of rewards and compensation, this special Sunday Read takes insight from the points of view of each person this week that stood up for whistleblowers and raised awareness for their urgent needs.

Janae, Administrative Assistant

Before this week, if you asked me “What is the United Nations?” I would not have an answer for you.

It’s not exactly what you would think it is. Now, this is no confessional, but I’ll admit it — I was a Model UN kid. I even pulled out my closet from high school and dusted off an outfit or two. Even then, I had a rough and crude idea of what it was.

As luck would have it, those student simulations prepared me for something. Simply, instead of a short weekend hosted by some local university for high schoolers playing pretend, UNCAC turned out to be a week of fast-paced coordinating and paneling, derived from and applied to the real world, real problems, and real solutions. The UN presents itself as this almost larger than life organization — almost unreal, almost unattainable — but in reality, there are so many small gears that spin to keep conversations counting toward change. Like, actual real change! Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), just like the National Whistleblower Center, are putting in the work to get it done.

CoSP10 tackled a lot. And similar to the United States being the host country this time around, I got to experience a first, too. The first of the delegation to land in Atlanta on Friday, I learned and adapted, both to a new city and to new people.

Saturday, I sat in a small room of strangers and represented the National Whistleblower Center. Just six or seven people to a table. “Intimate,” I’d start calling it, especially when compared to what the rest of what CoSP week was to bring.

The General Services Administration’s Open Government Secretariat asked us, civil society, to have a sit down. They asked us about what we want. They asked us to speak up. So, when whistleblower protections, compensations, and empowerment are listed in as one of the principles of the 6th National Action Plan, you have me to thank for it.

Sunday brought me my delegation partners, both well-versed and well-spoken in everything whistleblower. I am so appreciative to have had such intellectual ladies next to me for networking and side events. They joined me at the endless panels which commented on environmental crimes, asset recovery, ownership transparency, political financing, victims of corruption, gender and space… There’s a fear of missing out with the intriguing topics and interesting people and all else that these side events cover, especially knowing that whistleblowers are at the core and fit into every corner, even down to how they are permitted to exist in other languages. After all, to fight corruption, you have to know that that dishonesty and fraud occupy the space; and who are the people that expose that truth?

I’m still a newbie and no matter how much I know and will get to know, I believe that there is always learning to be done. I had the opportunity to implore others to incorporate research into whistleblowing and to speak with people from all over the city, the country, and the globe that not only heard what I said, but wanted to listen to my ideas, and exchange and collaborate to create change bigger and better than us and beyond us. I may be just one person, but even my own awareness and advocacy can grow legs and walk in the minds of others who will help me in giving it the power and energy to run.

Kate, Public Interest Law Clerk

At CoSP10, we witnessed the impact that NWC’s advocacy has already had on anti-corruption discourse, and we worked to further propel the implementation and use of best-practice whistleblower programs in the fight against corruption.

During the Civil Society Forum, the top diplomats from the U.S. State Department as well as the Executive Director of UNODC welcomed Civil Society Organizations (CSO) and made reference to the importance of whistleblowers, as well as the U.S. Strategy on Countering Corruption, which explains the importance of whistleblower rewards to incentivize whistleblowers to disclose money laundering schemes. Ezra Zeya — Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights — even shouted out two of the 2023 Anti-Corruption Champions, who I had met the week prior when NWC briefed the awardees on best practice whistleblower programs. NWC’s dedication to fighting environmental crime was also recognized during the side event on “Combatting Corruption to Protect the Environment.” As one of two organizations who submitted statements on whistleblowing, we helped to ensure that whistleblowing was a priority throughout the conference. While we were disappointed in the removal of language on rewards in the final whistleblower resolution, the passage of the whistleblower resolution is a testament to NWC’s and other CSO’s impact in ensuring that whistleblowing was a priority among States Parties.

NWC also made our voices heard in the plenary of the conference and at side events. We built global partnerships that will help us make much needed progress in advancing whistleblower programs for a wide range of issues. I feel very grateful for what we were able to accomplish at CoSP10, and I am eager to continue building on our work from this week.

Siri, Executive Director

The CoSP10 experience was a wonderful way to end the year. The discussions around whistleblower rights and protections absolutely solidified NWC’s standing as the leading advocate for whistleblower rewards. From day-to-day NWC’s team was able to see the focus on whistleblower rights increase with several States Parties and almost every NGO commenting in some way on the need for whistleblower protections. However, there is still a long way to go. The enactment and use of effective reward programs is critical to the global fight against corruption — and NWC is at the forefront of ensuring these programs and effective rules are created.

All in all, this week is a point of pride and I hope it motivates our supporters to see what their donations do and to give generously as we raise money for the end of the year.

Civil Society achieved a major win by including Whistleblower Protections in the UNCAC Coalition’s Atlanta Civil Society Declaration, let’s celebrate that and keep fighting for stronger programs and better incentives for whistleblowers worldwide!

Support NWC

As one of the gears involved in driving change, we need some grease to keep going. Just in time for the holidays, it was a gift for NWC to attend and make our voice heard on behalf of whistleblowers everywhere. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit our awareness building work is made possible with the support of our generous donors. As a gift to us this season, please consider donating $50 today to help us continue our important advocacy for whistleblowing and whistleblowers around the world.

This story was written by the representing individuals of the National Whistleblower Center delegation.

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National Whistleblower Center

National Whistleblower Center is the leading nonprofit working with whistleblowers around the world to fight corruption and protect people and the environment.