The Anti-Corruption Summit: a global opportunity

The Anti-Corruption Summit: a global opportunity

The 12 May Anti-Corruption Summit in London coincides with one of the biggest corruption scandals this century: the Panama Papers. This revelation of how the corrupt launder their illicit wealth using secret companies should strengthen world leaders’ resolve to take concrete action to stop global corruption.

Already some governments have taken this opportunity to announce anti-corruption initiatives.

The US will introduce a package of steps to strengthen financial transparency, and combat corruption and money laundering. Nigeria is supporting the creation of public register of the real owners of companies to end secrecy, as are South Africa and Australia. The Commonwealth – a group of 53 countries, many from the developing world – announced new measures to strengthen members’ ability to fight corruption.

A group of 300 economists, including Thomas Piketty and Jeffrey Sachs, added their intellectual weight to the argument for an end to secret shell companies.

Is this enough? From our point of view, it’s a strong start but only a start. When the summit is over and world leaders return home, then the real work will have to begin.

Fighting corruption is the first step to reducing inequality, safeguarding human rights, ending poverty and stopping those who act with impunity. It’s not an easy task, but it is not something world leaders can afford to ignore.

“We hope that world leaders will listen closely to the recommendations of civil society when deciding a way forward. Civil society represents the voice of the people, people who suffer the pain and indignity of corruption on a daily basis.”

– Jose Ugaz, Chair of Transparency International

People won’t accept corruption any longer. In a Transparency International survey of 60 countries, the majority of people in 58 said their governments should not allow the money of corrupt politicians and businesses to be spent on luxury goods in their country. Only in Panama and Colombia was there a majority of people who said that was acceptable.

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Summit checklist

Transparency International has a checklist for success at the summit. We believe there need to be real commitments and a timetable for action to prevent, punish and protect:

Prevent

Punish

Protect

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Civil Society and Business come together for action

One day before the summit there will be a pre-Summit event, organised by the Commonwealth, Transparency International, Thomson Reuters, the One Campaign, and the Bteam. Many Transparency International chapters will attend to share their experiences of fighting corruption around the world to contribute to the decisions taken the next day. This conference will send a strong message to world leaders: collaboration with civil society and business is key to limiting corruption. 

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