G8 must account for its promises, says Transparency International
As leaders of the Group of Eight (G8) convene their 2007 summit in Heiligendamm, Germany, Transparency International urges them to recognise governance and anti-corruption as the foundation for success on their larger agenda, from growth in Africa to environmental protection to hedge fund regulation.
“Good governance is the golden thread that links all the issues on the summit agenda, particularly on Africa,” said Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International. “Efforts to secure economic growth in poor countries and reduce global environmental degradation are doomed without transparency and accountability at all levels. Corruption will stop the best-laid plans for development dead in their tracks.”
G8 progress report: rhetoric exceeds action
Transparency International yesterday released a G8 Progress Report that assesses follow-through on anti-corruption promises from 2002-2006. The conclusion: rhetoric has far exceeded action. To drive greater accountability, G8 leaders should be required to publicly report on their progress on anti-corruption and transparency at the 2008 summit in Japan.
“At next year’s summit, G8 leaders should account to the people for their progress in fulfilling their anti-corruption promises,” said Cobus de Swardt, Managing Director of Transparency International. “Simply offering more promises is not enough: it’s time to start producing results.”
Stop foreign bribery: a cynical mixed message
Companies based in OECD countries once bribed abroad with impunity. Since the 1999 entry into force of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, bribery has been criminalised in OECD countries, including all G8 nations but Russia, which is not yet an OECD member. Almost ten years later, their track record on enforcing anti-bribery legislation remains disappointing, particularly in Canada, Japan and the United Kingdom.
The G8 must step up their efforts when their own companies bribe abroad, particularly in developing countries. Overlooking the supply side of bribery sends a cynical mixed message: on the one hand, the G8 demands better governance from developing countries; on the other, its companies undermine sustainable reform and growth with their illicit practices.
G8-based companies must get serious about adopting and enforcing anti-corruption codes and implementation programmes.
Four G8 countries fail to ratify landmark anti-corruption convention
The 2005 entry into force of the landmark United Nations Convention against Corruption established a global legal framework against corruption that commits signatory countries to assist each other in investigating and prosecuting corruption. A key provision is to assist developing nations in recovering stolen assets and preventing kleptocrats from retaining them. Yet four of the eight G8 nations have yet to ratify the convention, including this year’s host, Germany. Canada, Italy and Japan must also ratify without delay, as they pledged to do two years ago at Gleneagles.
Harness resources for development
Africa’s considerable mineral wealth has yet to provide millions of its citizens even the most basic public services, including access to clean water, healthcare and education. To reverse chronic corruption and mismanagement and to turn natural resources into a motor for growth, initiatives such as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and the NGO coalition Publish What You Pay have urged countries to publish full information on the oil and gas revenues they receive, and companies to disclose the royalties they pay.
G8 nations, home to some of the world’s largest oil and gas companies, have a special responsibility to support initiatives to promote revenue transparency. Increasing knowledge about revenue flows can strengthen the hand of civil society and the media to trace the wealth created by natural resources – wealth that should benefit the people.
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