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Time for G-8 to step on the gas

Bold actions will put a dent in poverty

Bold actions by the Group of Eight industrialised nations (G-8) to attack corruption could make a dramatic impact on poverty, freeing up billions in aid money now lost to illicit activity.

“The G-8 has been running in slow motion for years, offering many anti-corruption promises that remain unfulfilled. It’s time they hit the fast forward button,” said David Nussbaum, Chief Executive of Transparency International. “They must act now to clean their own house, and put the crooked and the corrupt out of business.”

1. One standard for everyone.
No G-8 country has yet ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption, which was signed in December 2003. Ratification would send an unmistakable message that the G-8 lives by the rules it expects recipient countries to follow.

2. Stem the supply side.
Foreign companies are often the source of big-ticket bribe money in the developing world. G-8 countries have already ratified the OECD convention that criminalises this behaviour. Wealthy governments need to publicise and enforce their laws, to ensure that companies no longer view bribery as an acceptable way to win foreign contracts.

3. Tackling corruption hotspots.
The G-8 should develop provision for anonymous reporting of bribe requests, which could help identify hotspots where action to address corruption is urgently needed.

4. Publish details of aid given.
When the details of aid delivery are made public, civil society and independent investigators can follow the money trail to ensure fair usage. Aid packages should include funding for measures to fight corruption and build the capacity of local institutions.

5. Untie aid and follow rigorous procurement standards.
The conditions under which aid is given should encourage free and fair bidding. The aid process should include procurement standards that ensure transparent, quality-based bidding on public projects, not tied to vendors from a specific country.

6. Effective follow-up to Gleneagles.
The G-8 should report publicly on progress in implementing their anti-corruption commitments, on International Anti-Corruption Day, 9 December 2005.


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Jesse Garcia
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