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New OAS Secretary General pledges action on corruption under democratic charter

Jose Miguel Insulza, the new Secretary General of the Organisation of American States (OAS), has pledged to fulfil the goal of the Inter-American Democratic Charter to strengthen democracy by reporting on its key elements, as described in the Charter.

In a meeting with representatives of Transparency International (TI), Mr Insulza singled out greater transparency and tackling corruption as fundamental to fulfilling the Charter’s intention of promoting and consolidating representative democracy in the Americas. He stated that annual progress reports to the OAS by individual governments would facilitate the monitoring of compliance.

“The fight against corruption will be an even higher OAS priority because it is essential to the development of democracy, and to rebuilding the people’s trust in their governments. Greater transparency in all aspects of public life is the key to this,” the Secretary General told the Transparency International representatives.

For its part, Transparency International offered to provide country “report cards”, with indicators of each country’s progress in meeting the anti-corruption targets defined in the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, a major roadmap for the region in its fight against corruption, and the United Nations Convention against Corruption. These publicly available reports would be based both on empirical data and on indicators of perceived levels of corruption in key areas such as public procurement and conflict of interest regulations.

TI pledged its support for the Secretary General’s renewal of the institution’s leadership in the fight against corruption. This work would continue the strong relationship TI has long had with the OAS, based on promoting and monitoring the Inter-American convention through TI’s national chapter network in the Americas. TI has helped to strengthen the Convention’s official monitoring mechanism by submitting independent reports on country compliance. The Secretary General welcomed this continued collaboration.

As the tenth anniversary of the Inter-American Convention approaches, 2006 has been designated the Inter-American Year against Corruption. Governments in the region have already committed to fight corruption by endorsing the Convention, which has been ratified by 33 of the 34 countries. Its implementation and enforcement will require real political will and a determination to translate its important mandate into action. 2006 is the time for governments to demonstrate progress, and thus signal to the public that they have taken their commitment seriously.

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


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