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Summit for Democracy: For democratic renewal, create conditions for meaningful civic participation during the year of action

Open letter to governments from Transparency International’s chapters around the globe

Dear Heads of States and Governments,

We, Transparency International’s national chapters from across the globe, along with its international Board and Secretariat, are writing to urge you to seize the opportunity offered by this week’s virtual Summit for Democracy to generate genuine momentum for the future of democracy.

The international community recognised that corruption undermines democracy almost two decades ago when states adopted the UN Convention against Corruption. And yet, inaction on corruption has ignited a new rise in authoritarianism, state capture and grand corruption with devastating consequences for human rights, lives and livelihoods.

In the worst affected countries, the failure to combat corruption has meant suffering for people who continue to be denied basic public services, deprived of economic opportunities and locked into poverty. In many others, it has meant policies and decisions that are increasingly skewed towards the interest of the few, while accountability mechanisms are weakened or even captured.

And affecting us all, corruption has been undermining climate action and making the COVID-19 crisis worse. Alarmingly, the pandemic has also been abused in many countries to weaken anti-corruption checks as well as to restrict civil and political rights.

We would not be facing problems of such scale today if previous anti-corruption commitments and pledges had been conscientiously implemented by governments.

Transparency International calls on you to be bold at the Summit’s global stage and explain to the public what is holding up progress – and how you plan to remove those obstacles. This high-level gathering should serve as a platform for honest reflection on the most pressing problems that have been fuelling the interlinked global crises of democracy and corruption, along with the associated human rights abuses.

Following the Summit, we appeal to you to be publicly accountable about your plans, provide for an inclusive and participatory process, and establish a clear timeline for action. It is imperative that the “year of action” – which the December 2021 Summit aims to kick off – allows for meaningful engagement with civil society and the catalysation of public support.

To that end, we urge you to heed Transparency International’s proposals for action in priority policy areas, and to design the new generation of commitments and strategies to meaningfully address the vicious cycle of corruption, human rights abuses and democratic decline.

One key area around which democracies need to urgently act is the defence of anti-corruption fighters around the world. With more countries now moving in an authoritarian direction than in the democratic direction, support to independent journalists and activists around the world is crucial. The future of democracy – especially in countries not represented at the 2021 Summit for Democracy – depends on this.

For democracy not to become the COVID-19 pandemic’s lasting victim, we need meaningful action against corruption now.


Board of Directors of Transparency International

Transparency International Secretariat

Transparency International EU

Transparency International's U.S. Office

Argentina: Poder Ciudadano

Armenia: Transparency International Anticorruption Center

Australia: Transparency International Australia

Austria: Transparency International Austria

Azerbaijan: Transparency International Azerbaijan

Bahrain: Bahrain Transparency Society

Bangladesh: Transparency International Bangladesh

Belgium: Transparency International Belgium

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Transparency International Bosnia and Herzegovina

Burundi: Association Burundaise des Consommateurs (ABUCO)

Cambodia: Transparency International Cambodia

Canada: Transparency International Canada

Chile: Chile Transparente

Colombia: Transparencia por Colombia

Republic of the Congo: Rencontre pour la Paix et les Droits de l'Homme (RPDH)

Czechia: Transparency International Czech Republic

Denmark: Transparency International Denmark

Ecuador: Fundación Ciudadanía y Desarrollo

El Salvador: Fundación Nacional para el Desarrollo, FUNDE

Estonia: Transparency International Estonia

Finland: Transparency International Finland

France: Transparency International France

Georgia: Transparency International Georgia

Germany: Transparency International Germany

Ghana: Ghana Integrity Initiative

Greenland: Transparency International Greenland

Honduras: Asociación para una sociedad más justa

Israel: Transparency International Israel

Jamaica: National Integrity Action

Kenya: Transparency International Kenya

Kosovo: Kosova Democratic Institute

Kyrgyzstan: Transparency International Kyrgyzstan

Latvia: Sabiedriba par atklatibu – Delna

Lebanon: Lebanese Transparency Association (LTA)

Lithuania: Transparency International Lithuania

Madagascar: Transparency International Initiative Madagascar

Malaysia: Transparency International Malaysia

Malta: The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation

Morocco: Transparency Maroc

Mexico: Transparencia Mexicana

Moldova: Transparency International Moldova

Montenegro: Network for Affirmation of NGO Sector (MANS)

Nepal: Transparency International Nepal

Netherlands: Transparency International Netherlands

New Zealand: Transparency International New Zealand

Nigeria: Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)

North Macedonia: Transparency International Macedonia

Norway: Transparency International Norway

Pakistan: Transparency International Pakistan

Palestine: The Coalition for Accountability and Integrity – AMAN

Panama: Fundación para el Desarrollo de la Libertad Ciudadana

Papua New Guinea: Transparency International Papua New Guinea

Peru: Proética

Portugal: Transparência Internacional Portugal

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Ligue Congolaise de lutte contre la corruption (LICOCO)

Dominican Republic: Participación Ciudadana

Rwanda: Transparency International Rwanda

Seychelles: Transparency Initiative Seychelles

Sierra Leone: Transparency International Sierra Leone

Solomon Islands: Transparency Solomon Islands

South Africa: Corruption Watch

Spain: Transparency International Spain

Sri Lanka: Transparency International Sri Lanka

Sweden: Transparency International Sweden

Taiwan: Transparency International Taiwan

Togo: Alliance Nationale des Consommateurs et de l’Environnement (ANCE)

Trinidad and Tobago: Trinidad and Tobago Transparency Institute

Turkey: Uluslararası Seffaflik Dernegi

Ukraine: Transparency International Ukraine

United Kingdom: Transparency International UK

Venezuela: Transparencia Venezuela

Zambia: Transparency International Zambia