Global corruption watchdog rewarded for its efforts in promoting coalition-building
Transparency International (TI) has won the prestigious Carl Bertelsmann Prize 2002, it was announced today by the Bertelsmann Foundation. TI, the world's leading non-governmental organisation fighting corruption, is being recognised for its work in promoting transparency at all levels of society and for advancing solutions to problems created by the failure of the market and the public sphere.
The Carl Bertelsmann Prize 2002 will be awarded to TI at a ceremony in Gütersloh, Germany, on 5 September 2002, one week after the launch on 28 August 2002 of the TI Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2002, the world-famous poll of polls on levels of perceived corruption around the world, which will include 102 countries, the highest number ever in the history of the CPI.
Peter Eigen, Chairman of Transparency International (TI), responded to today's announcement of the award by saying that "TI is honoured to receive this prize. Germany and the rest of the developed world have a lot to learn about raising ethical standards - in both the political and corporate spheres. Recent scandals have made that abundantly clear. Without civil society monitoring and coalition-building, the deficit of accountability will persist." This is the first time that the Bertelsmann Foundation has awarded the international award, which comes with monetary remuneration of €150,000, to an organisation headquartered in Germany. The prize is targeted at initiatives that could usefully be transferred to make an impact in Germany.
The Bertelsmann Foundation selection committee was particularly impressed by the worldwide impact of the Integrity Pact, a tool pioneered by Transparency International (TI) to maximise transparency in public tenders. Under an Integrity Pact, all bidders sign an affidavit that they will neither pay nor accept bribes. If it is discovered that they have bribed, sanctions come into force, including loss of the contract and blacklisting of the company from participating in future tenders.
"The all-regulating state has reached its limits," said Dr Stefan Empter, an executive at the Bertelsmann Foundation, on the announcement of the award to TI. "It is essential," he continued, "that business and civil society, together with governments, work together to solve socio-political issues. Transparency in decision-making is indispensable if the public is to have confidence in this coalition."
The award is also a tribute to Peter Eigen, founder of Transparency International. According to Eigen, "this award is a recognition to those who risk their lives fighting corruption. By advocating transparency and by promoting dialogue with coalitions of concerned parties, we can fight the scourge of corruption. For the sake of generations to come, we cannot afford to ignore the rot in our own backyards."
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