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Anti-corruption is vital for prosperity in the Americas

New report shows faltering commitments in several countries

As the world faces a prolonged economic crisis the 34 heads of state meeting this week at the Summit of the Americas must ensure that transparency and accountability are an integral part of future actions to ensure prosperity in the hemisphere, according to Transparency International (TI).

Recent research conducted by TI shows that states’ promises to fight corruption are not being effectively translated into action. States do not report sufficiently on actions taken to implement mandates and as there is no standard reporting format, monitoring anti-corruption progress makes for a daunting task. Furthermore, civil society participation is not integrated into implementation reviews and is even dependent on domestic legislation in some countries, severely limiting independent and critical monitoring.

The TI analysis found serious gaps in the implementation of anti-corruption commitments, particularly as there is a lack of coordination among regional and national authorities responsible for the follow-up of Summit mandates and the implementation of the Inter-American Convention.

Nine countries were evaluated (Argentina, Bolivia, Canada, El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru and Trinidad and Tobago) on actions taken to fulfil goals set out during the previous four summits of the Americas. The report looks at varying indicators; from a country’s status on ratifying anti-corruption conventions to the level of implementation of recommendations put forward by the committee of experts within the OAS responsible for reviewing implementation.

Since the first Summit of the Americas fifteen years ago, heads of state have recognised corruption as a key challenge and made it an official priority in their plans of action. States that have signed on to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption (ICAC), and which have pledged to act in previous summits, have an obligation to report their advances on anti-corruption.

Additional report findings:

  • On the implementation of Inter-American Convention recommendations: the nine countries assessed received a total of 249 recommendations, from which only 59 per cent (148) were acted upon, yet of these only 20 per cent were considered sufficient.
  • Most of the recommendations implemented were related to oversight bodies and access to information, whereas those that were least implemented dealt with whistleblower protection, internationational cooperation and civil society participation in the review and implementation process.
  • The number of recommendations adopted into national law has improved but these have not been fed into national policy and practice.
  • Country visits, one of the criteria in the rules for follow-up on implementation, are not being carried out.

Corruption is inextricably linked to persistent high levels of inequality across the region despite robust economic growth in the last few years. Today nearly 200 million people, a third of the population of the hemisphere, live in poverty with 13 per cent of them surviving amidst extreme poverty, according to the Inter-American Development Bank. Weak institutions, low levels of governance and the influence of personal gain undermine efforts to promote economic equality and sustainable development. These issues must be addressed and change must be implemented if countries in the region are to have a realistic chance of meeting the Millennium Development Goals and improving citizens’ quality of living.

The study presented by TI at the Summit of the Americas Civil Society Forum was carried out by TI chapters in the nine countries under the auspices of the American Bar Association’s The World Justice Project (WSJ).

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Transparency International is the civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption.


For any press enquiries please contact

Gypsy Guillén Kaiser
T: +49 30 343820662
E: ggkaiser@transparency.org

Victor Hart, Chairman,Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute
T: +868 6323368