FAQs on Transparency International

  1. What does Transparency International do?
  2. Why was Transparency International founded?
  3. How was Transparency International founded?
  4. How is Transparency International financed and under which conditions does it accept funding?
  5. What has Transparency International achieved?

 

1. What does Transparency International do?

We are a non-profit, non-governmental organisation dedicated to fighting corruption.  We are probably best known for our Corruption Perceptions Index, which measures levels of perceived corruption around the world. But we do much more than that. Active in nearly 100 countries and on the international stage, we raise awareness of the devastating effects of corruption, and work with governments, businesses and international organisations to develop effective programmes to tackle it. We are not politically aligned, nor are we investigators, but we do push for changes in laws and behaviours. [top]

 

2. Why was Transparency International founded?

Transparency International was born of the growing realisation in the 1980s-90s that corruption was directly undermining efforts to fight poverty and further development in the world’s poorest countries. While working for the World Bank, Transparency International's founder, Peter Eigen, saw that major contracts for power plants, highways or telephone networks were awarded so as to line the pockets of government officials with little regard for the communities they were supposed to be benefitting.

The founders of Transparency International realised that corruption wasn’t just robbing public funds intended for community schools or hospitals, it was also weakening the economy more broadly and making public institutions less effective. They also drew attention to the supply-side of corruption. Bribe money was often coming from the wealthiest, and supposedly least corrupt, countries, in the form of illicit payments made by companies to public officials, and often with the support of their home governments. Banks, accountants and lawyers were also implicated in helping world leaders steal public funds, and launder, store and invest them safely abroad. [top]

 

3. How was Transparency International founded?

Transparency International was founded by a group of passionate individuals committed to stopping corruption. Transparency International is indebted to them and all the people around the world who have helped build our global coalition against corruption. The following 10 individuals signed the Founding Charter of Transparency International in The Hague, the Netherlands, on 9 February 1993: Laurence Cockcroft, Peter Conze, Peter Eigen, Fritz Heimann, Michael Hershman, Kamal Hossain, Gerry Parfitt, Jeremy Pope, Roy Stacy and Frank Vogl. The Founding Charter was then formally recorded into the Register of Association of Berlin Charlottenburg, in Germany on 15 June 1993 (VR 13598 B). [top]

 

4. How is Transparency International financed and under which conditions does it accept funding?

The majority of our income comes from government agencies along with multilateral bodies and foundations. Other sources include the private sector and individuals. All donations to Transparency International Secretariat over €1.000 are listed in our annual audited reports which can be found here. A list of donors providing more than €10.000 to the TI Secretariat can also be found on our website.

The conditions under which we accept funding are captured in our donations policy which you can download here. In summary it is Transparency International’s policy to accept funding from any donor and whether monetary or in kind, provided that acceptance does not impair TI's independence to pursue its mission nor endangers its integrity and reputation. [top]

 

5. What has Transparency International achieved?

Our main achievement is to have placed corruption squarely on the political agenda in countless countries across the globe. In the early 1990s, corruption was very much a taboo subject. Private and public sector actors alike preferred to turn a blind eye to its existence, and it was never discussed at international gatherings.

Transparency International broke that silence. Since our beginnings in 1993, we have raised awareness about the far-reaching and devastating effects of corruption, and played a crucial role in lobbying for co-ordinated, multilateral action against it. We have created a coalition of organisations and individuals who are co-operating as never before to build just and honest governments, and sound and socially responsible business practices. And we continue to strengthen our knowledge base and resource network to assist the anti-corruption movement in its mandate.

Other achievements include:

  • The development of a comprehensive set of complementary indices to measure perceived levels of corruption in any given country. Our Corruption Perceptions Index and Global Corruption Barometer, for instance, are consistently used by academics, journalists and economists the world over.
  • Successfully lobbying to bring an end to the tax deductibility of bribe payments in OECD countries. This was written into the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention – the only international anti-corruption instrument that focuses on the supply side of bribery. It has been signed by all 34 OECD member states and a number of non-member countries. Each year we publish a progress report tracking the convention’s implementation.
  • Actively participating in the drafting of the UN Convention against Corruption – a powerful UN instrument that has created an international norm to create a stronger and more globally integrated legislative framework for the fight against corruption. The UNCAC obliges signatory countries to implement a wide range of anti-corruption measures affecting their laws, institutions and practices. It is unique in its global coverage and the extensiveness and detail of its provisions.
  • Co-developing a common anti-bribery code, the Business Principles for Countering Bribery. Its significance is acknowledged by global initiatives such as the UN Global Compact and the WEF Partnering against Corruption Initiative. By signing up and honouring these principles companies send a strong signal to investors, business partners and the general public that they are committed to clean, ethical business.     
  • Co-designing RESIST (Resisting Extortions and Solicitations in International Transactions) to help companies resist solicitation and extortion demands efficiently and ethically, and reduce the likelihood that such demands are made. RESIST was developed with more than 20 companies and organisations, and the WEF Partnering against Corruption Initiative, the International Chamber of Commerce and the UN Global Compact. [top]