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Summit for Democracy: Opportunity for governments to recommit to anti-corruption

Transparency International calls on participating leaders to announce actions to improve implementation of their anti-corruption commitments

At the second Summit for Democracy beginning this week, Transparency International is calling on leaders to strengthen transnational cooperation and endorse the recommendations of the Cohort on International Cooperation for Anti-Corruption.

From the 28th to the 30th of March, the summit will include the plenary day in the United States and four regional meetings in South Korea, Costa Rica, the Netherlands and Zambia. The Indo-Pacific Regional Meeting in South Korea has a focus on anti-corruption, including financial transparency and international cooperation – recognising their critical importance for upholding democracy around the world.

The lack of meaningful action to combat corruption and the unchecked flow of dirty money has contributed to the rise of authoritarian regimes, state capture and human rights abuses – with devastating effects. In order to defend democracy, peace and security, governments must take immediate collective action.

Gillian Dell, Global Advocacy Lead at Transparency International said:

"Corruption is one of the greatest threats to democracy. It’s the enemy of good governance, precipitates conflict and sets back sustainable development around the world. Now is the time for governments to take bold action against it.

“States must protect democracy by combating transnational corruption and illicit financial flows – through concrete measures like transparent beneficial ownership registers and greater cross-border cooperation.”

As co-lead of the Summit for Democracy Cohort on International Cooperation for Anti-Corruption, Transparency International calls for:

  • Strengthening compliance with international standards by improving implementation review mechanisms and demanding more accountability from non-cooperative states.
  • Widening the scope of international standards and related domestic legislation, which includes recognizing grand corruption offences as serious organised crimes, closing loopholes by utilising centralised beneficial ownership registers and ensuring more oversight of the professional enablers of transnational corruption.
  • Establishing operational coordination and cooperation between states using informal channels and providing technical assistance to countries with limited capacity, as well as promoting early engagement with foreign jurisdictions and cooperation between law enforcement and non-state actors.
  • Enhancing domestic enforcement and asset management capacities by ensuring authorities have the independence and resources to trace assets following convictions; as well as protecting and rewarding whistleblowers from the public and private sectors who report on corruption and granting independent CSOs legal standing to represent the public interest and to pursue corruption cases, including claims on behalf of victims of corruption.

Notes to editors

Transparency International has played a role in this year’s summit, including co-leading the Cohort on International Cooperation for Anti-Corruption, providing inputs to the Indo-Pacific meeting. You can watch the full summit here, including Session 4 on Financial Transparency and Integrity.

Ahead of the Indo-Pacific meeting, Transparency International’s Asia Pacific chapters developed an open letter for Indo-Pacific governments, calling for specific actions in the region, which you can see here.

The full list of recommendations from the Cohort on International Cooperation for Anti-Corruption can be found here. In addition, the Cohort on Financial Transparency and Integrity calls for beneficial ownership transparency and countering the misuse of professional service industries to enable corruption.