Anti-corruption measures are integral to fighting both poverty and climate change, said Transparency International (TI) Managing Director, Cobus de Swardt, speaking to Group of Eight (G8) government and global NGO representatives at the Civil G8 Dialogue, a civil society forum for integrating the views and recommendations of civil society ahead of the 2008 G8 Summit at Toyako, Japan (click here to access Dr de Swardt's speech).
“Hunger and illiteracy cannot be eradicated as long as corruption continues to sap resources from the world’s poorest countries,” said de Swardt. “And environmental regulation, including CO2 controls and forest protection, will not be effective as long as law enforcement and other decision-makers can be bought. The possibility of a world where all countries and all people can share in the wealth of the global economy hinges on fighting corruption, strengthening public institutions and improving governance, particularly in the poorest countries.”
In his speech in a special Civil G8 session on corruption and development, de Swardt argued that the Millennium Development Goals would remain out of reach without concerted global anti-corruption policies. De Swardt highlighted the terrible cost of corruption in the provision of education and clean drinking water, and in the fight against HIV / AIDS.
Addressing another dominant theme for this year’s summit, climate change, TI Japan expert Professor Toru Umeda spoke of corruption as a cause of deforestation and illegal trafficking of endangered species (click here to access Prof. Umeda's speech). “Fighting corruption and strengthening oversight institutions are prerequisites for effectively curbing environmental degradation and illegal transactions,” said Umeda. “Only when law enforcement works, and when environmental and corruption measures are factored into development strategies, will we achieve clean, sustainable development.”
Transparency International has been calling on the G8 to move swiftly on a number of anti-corruption measures, including the promotion of the United Nations Convention against Corruption, cracking down on overseas bribery by G8-based multinationals, harmonising and strengthening anti-corruption measures in the work of national and global aid institutions, and safeguarding the international financial system against misuse by corrupt officials.
The Group of Eight has increasingly recognised corruption and governance as a priority in its documents over the past decade, but has yet to benchmark its own progress on those commitments. For this reason, Transparency International and its chapters in G8 countries and Africa have issued a call for the G8 to report back on its progress at the 2008 Summit in Toyako, Japan.
“The G8 has a special responsibility to demonstrate leadership in the fight against corruption, particularly as it continues to demand greater accountability from developing nations,” said de Swardt. “We are therefore calling on the G8 to report back at the Summit in July on progress made towards the anti-corruption pledges made since the 2002 Kananaskis Summit. As long as the world’s wealthiest and most privileged countries fail to practice what they preach, the most detailed and sophisticated commitments will remain empty. With the crushing pressure of poverty and climate change bearing down on the global community, there is no time to equivocate.”
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