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The governments of the Americas must make genuine commitments in the fight against corruption

With a view to the IV Summit of the Americas

With less than two months remaining before the IV Summit of the Americas to be held in Argentina and following the conclusion of the preparatory Regional Civil Society Forum, Transparency International (TI) highlighted the prime opportunity of governments in the hemisphere to illustrate their genuine commitment to implement measures aimed at strengthening governance and the fight against corruption in their respective countries.

Governments now have in hand the tools to commit to the fight against corrupt practices and to increase democratic participation, should they wish to strengthen governance. But their commitments to citizens must be genuine”, said Miguel Ángel Peñailillo, Regional Coordinator of TI’s Anti-Corruption Conventions Programme, at the Civil Society Forum in Buenos Aires.

The theme of this year’s Summit –the creation of jobs to alleviate poverty and strengthen governance– must address the demand for transparency and good governance. Corruption constitutes a serious threat to the stability of societies, to their democratic development and, most of all, to their economic growth. Poor allocation of public resources has a direct negative effect on the most vulnerable segments of society, and is one of the main obstacles in the fight against poverty and job creation in the region. In Argentina, for example, where the percentage of poor persons (households) hovers around 40 percent, or in Bolivia where six out of ten citizens live in poverty, resource allocation must be closely linked to policies of transparency and the fight against corruption.

For two days, more than 80 civil society organisations in the Americas debated and reached consensus on the wording of the document they presented yesterday to the delegation of member countries of the Organization of American States (OAS). The recommendations made included those drafted by TI’s National Chapters in the Americas:

  • The fight against corruption, and specifically against bribery, should be promoted in corporate responsibility initiatives;
  • Policies, mechanisms and standards of transparency that will strengthen labour administrations with a view to creating jobs should be put in place; and
  • Permanent mechanisms to assess implementation of the commitments undertaken at Summits should be established.

The Final Declaration of the IV Summit of the Americas should not disregard the commitments relating to the fight against corruption already undertaken upon ratification of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption (IACAC). In Berlin, Silke Pfeiffer, Regional Director of TI’s Americas Department, stated that, “the Summit provides a unique opportunity for the governments to give an account of advances made in implementing the Convention.” She added, “strengthening and ensuring transparency of the Follow-up Mechanism for the Implementation of the IACAC and establishing mechanisms necessary for civil society to have a formal role in which to participate, is vital to illustrating the political will needed.”

As 2006 will be the Inter-American Anti-corruption Year, this Summit can assume a role of leadership and ensure compliance with the provisions of anti-corruption conventions applicable to the hemisphere. Since 1996, TI has been active in the summit process by putting forth anticorruption proposals and emphasizing the need to promote, ratify and implement the IACAC and the United Nations Convention against Corruption.


TI is the leading global non-governmental organization devoted to the fight against corruption.

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