G20: the anti-corruption record

G20: the anti-corruption record

“To see a group of the most powerful states on the globe, make such solid commitments creates the potential for unprecedented progress in the fight against corruption.”

Transparency International chair Huguette Labelle on the G20, read the full interview here

On 18 June 2012, the world’s attention falls on the summit of the Group of 20 leading economies, or G20. Accounting for 85 percent of the world economy, the G20 will discuss the most pressing issues of the day, such as the global economic and financial crisis, and, the world hopes, produce bold solutions to address them.

The 2010 summit in Seoul delivered one such bold measure: a nine-point anti-corruption action plan. The action plan included a committment to punish companies for bribing foreign officials and, by the end of 2012, better protect people who blow the whistle on corruption.

What made it different to the usual summit statement was that a G20 anti-corruption working group has been set up to monitor implementations. At the 2011 G20 summit in Cannes, it published an anti-corruption progress report.

As G20 leaders meet in Mexico a year and a half after the plan was announced, how have the G20 delivered on their promise to fight corruption?

G20 in numbers

11: number of G20 members who score less than five out of 10 on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index

56 per cent: of citizens in G20 countries think corruption has increased in their country in the last three years, according to Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer (Saudi Arabia was not covered by the survey). Only 29 per cent assess their government’s actions in the fight against corruption as effective.

US $4.8 trillion: the proceeds of financial crimes such as bribery and tax evasion that have flowed out of the G20’s 10 emerging economies from 2000-2009, according to Global Financial Integrity

451: number of anti-bribery cases completed in G20 countries signed up to OECD anti-bribery convention by the end of 2010, but the US and Germany together account for 80 per cent of this.

Three G20 Successes

Securing the return of stolen assets

The proceeds of corruption often find their way to the world’s financial centres, so the G20 can play a big role in preventing the laundering of stolen assets and aiding their return for countries that suffer their loss, such as the North African countries most affected by the Arab Spring.

The G8, for example, have agreed a stolen asset recovery action plan. Read more here. The G20 could follow this with further measures:

  • Visa denial: agree a common basis for denying corrupt officials safe haven
  • Agree principles for obliging public officials to disclose their assets
  • A mutual legal assistance guide for all G20 countries

Three G20 failures

“By failing to deliver on financial reform, G20 continues to tackle the symptoms and not the causes of the financial crisis”
Transparency International response to G20 Cannes Summit 4 November 2011

Looking ahead

To build on its achievements in fighting corruption, the G20 Cabo summit should make concrete commitments in three key areas:

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