People are more engaged in the fight against corruption than ever, Transparency International said today on the 20th anniversary of its official launch in 1993.
From 4-6 May 1993, Peter Eigen and several dozen global dignitaries laid the cornerstone in the fight against corruption with the creation of Transparency International at a conference in Berlin. Frustrated by the failure of world leaders to publicly recognise the need to tackle corruption head-on, participants decided to turn the tables against secret dealings, bribery and the abuse of power, creating “an international coalition against corruption in international business transactions”.
“Who would have thought what a wonderful, beautiful, powerful organization Transparency International would become. I think with great appreciation and gratitude of all my partners of the first days,” said Peter Eigen, founder of Transparency International and Chair of its Advisory Council.
In the 20 years since, Transparency International’s daily efforts have moved far beyond shedding light on business transactions and now include a sweeping public sector efforts aimed at creating transparent governments and accountable leaders, a broad network of advocacy and legal advice centres, agenda-setting research and a presence in more than 100 countries.
On a national level independent chapters in 107 countries have successfully lobbied for whistle blower protections, access to information laws and other good governance reforms. On the local level the movement’s legal advice centres in more than 60 countries have offered free advice to victims of corruption and have pressed for systemic change. (read more about grass roots activities here)
In the last 20 years corruption has gone from a taboo topic to the most-talked about social challenge in the world. Two international agreements (the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, ratified by 40 countries, and the UN Convention against Corruption, ratified by 165) and several regional conventions between governments seek to stop the scourge of foreign bribery and corruption.
“Looking into the next 20 years Transparency International will pour its efforts into creating a corruption-free world where people can both truly hold their leaders to account and not to face the daily denigration of bribery,” said Huguette Labelle, the Chair of Transparency International. “Even though corruption still eats away at development around the world, many projects and laws against this scourge have shown we can give people a voice. We must ensure that global fora from the G20 to discussions on the future of development take steps to meet the growing calls for greater accountability.”
On 8 November 2013, Transparency International will hold a conference marking its 20th anniversary and charting the road ahead.
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