Urging leaders to act against corruption in the Americas

Urging leaders to act against corruption in the Americas

This week, presidents, prime ministers and other senior government officials from across North and South America are gathering in Lima, Peru for the eighth Summit of the Americas. The hot topic? How governments can combat corruption at the highest levels throughout the region.

A region at a turning point against corruption?

Convened every three years and hosted by the Organization of American States (OAS), this year’s summit highlights the theme, “Democratic Governance against Corruption,” which also serves as a driver for any political commitments and outcomes from the event. 

Advocating for change

Kicking off the week, Transparency International along with our chapters in Peru, Venezuela, Brazil and other Latin American and Caribbean chapters, hosted a series of anti-corruption side events for participating civil society organisations (CSOs) to highlight a way forward in the fight against corruption in Latin America.

As part of these efforts, chapters prepared several key policy recommendations, and urged governments to make anti-corruption a priority and promote transparency and inclusivity across the region.

At a parallel CEO summit organised by the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), President Luis Alberto Moreno of IADB quoted our chair, Delia Ferreira Rubio, in his opening remarks, citing her “4 I” formula for fighting corruption: more information, more integrity, less impunity and less indifference.

Our chair, Delia Ferreira Rubio, speaking at a side event at the Summit of the Americas 2018

Prioritising integrity

Given recent corruption scandals in Latin America, including the highly publicized Lava Jato case, which exposed a massive bribery and money laundering scheme by a Brazilian construction cartel and is also now a Netflix series, the chapters’ recommendations focus on three strategic areas: political campaign financing, public procurement and justice systems.

During the course of the week’s events, a clear priority emerged within these three areas. Latin America should move towards a system of integrity that includes the creation or strengthening of institutions, as well as transparent, inclusive and democratic values and practices. In order for a new integrity system to be successful, it must also be sustainable. This is the only way to prevent reoccurring scandals.

Panelists at a side event at the Summit of the Americas 2018

Top policy recommendations

To truly turn the tide against corruption in Latin America, many improvements and changes are necessary. Some of our key recommendations include:  

  • Improve national oversight by creating an autonomous and independent institution to oversee all public and private resources for political parties and campaigns. Include proper financial, human and technological resources to empower this entity.
  • Institute citizen consultation and monitoring mechanisms during the public procurement process and encourage public authorities to respond to relevant citizen recommendations. 
  • Strengthen independent, transparent, efficient justice systems capable of cooperating beyond national borders to investigate, prosecute and punish corruption in the region.

For a full list of recommendations, please download our position statement (Spanish).

Photo: Government Palace in Lima, Peru (Flickr / Leng Cheng)

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