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Transparency International head meets with German Chancellor

In a meeting yesterday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Transparency International Chair, Huguette Labelle, stressed the important leadership role that Germany should continue to play regarding the implementation of the anti-corruption commitments made by the Group of Eight (G8) leaders at the 2007 Summit in Heiligendamm, Germany.

“Germany did an excellent job of managing the 2007 presidency and presided over some of the strongest anti-corruption pledges in a G8 communiqué to date,” said Labelle. “We now hope that the German parliament swiftly approves legislation for an adapted paragraph 108e of the German criminal code, clearly prohibiting the bribery of parliamentarians, thus removing the technical roadblock to ratification of the United Nations Convention against Corruption, the only truly global anti-corruption instrument.”

Labelle met with Merkel, along with other civil society leaders - representing development and environmental organisation - to mark the end of Germany’s G8 presidency and to look back at the Heiligendamm Summit and the civil society consultation process leading up to it.

Transparency International’s involvement in the G8 process stems from an understanding that corruption is a primary challenge to a strong and stable global economy. Reducing it is essential to increasing the material well-being and human development of the world’s most disadvantaged communities, those who live at the edge of survival. It also plays a key role in fostering democracy, global security, protecting biodiversity, and strengthening the global investment climate.

Japan took on the G8 presidency at the beginning of 2008 and has begun consultations among the group of eight that will continue through to the 2008 Summit at Toyako on the northern island of Hokkaido. Whether the civil society consultation process will be carried forward remains unclear.

“We look forward to a continuation of the civil society consultation under the Japanese G8 Presidency, as we experienced it in Russia and Germany. Governmental support for this is essential to ensure that civil society from around the globe can participate in this process, so that the many voices of global civil society are heard.”

In addition to ratifying and implementing the UNCAC, Transparency International has urged the G8 to adopt a stronger policing of the global financial system, to prevent abuse, and put an end to bribery abroad by companies based in wealthy countries, a practice that was criminalised in the landmark OECD Anti-bribery convention.

The UNCAC establishes global benchmarks for regulation that are critical to stemming the supply side of corruption and assists some of the world’s poorest countries in recovering stolen assets. Ratification by all G8 nations will send a powerful signal that world leaders take the fight against corruption seriously. Beginning on 28 January, parties to the UN Convention will meet on Bali. Their decisions there on monitoring and implementation will make or break the future of this vital convention.

Labelle specifically underlined the importance of the three remaining G8 powers that have not ratified the UN Convention - Germany, Japan and Italy - doing so without delay.

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