Closing Address of 17th IACC

Filed under - Politics and government

Speech by Elena Panfilova, 5 December 2016 – 17th IACC, Panama City, Panama
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Dear friends, dear Madame Vice President, dear Akere and dear colleagues thanks for giving us such a great welcome here.

We have come to the end of four days of very intense and passionate work. We are about to go our separate ways, but I wanted to take these last minutes to reflect on what we have done and what we can do in the future.

First I want to thank the government of Panama, ANTAI and all our sponsors for making this happen. And I want to thank Panama and our Panamanian friends who helped us for make this conference a success and really comfortable for all. I want to thank the IACC team and Transparency International for all the hard work to make this happen.  

As I said we have had four days of intense, hard work. We have looked at all the progress made since our meeting in Malaysia last year – and there has been a lot – but we have also seen how much more we have to do in this year to change the landscape even more.

We have celebrated the champions in the fight against corruption.

The courageous and dedicated prosecutors – in particular the Lava Jato Car Wash team who yesterday received the Transparency International Anti-Corruption Award. They are forever my personal heroes.

And we have realised how fragile success can be. Just this week their great efforts have been challenged as Brazilian politicians seek to muzzle their work.

We come together to support them in their call to stop that from happening and we pledge to do that.

We have celebrated the investigative journalists who uncover corruption – and have been inspired by their stories.

We have heard from ICIJ whose work on the Mossack Fonseca Papers has reshaped the debate about global illicit financial flows, and the need to stop the corrupt from living off corrupt wealth.

We have shown that by coming together – journalists and prosecutors – information and action can lead to real change.

It is tempting to celebrate in words and statements our successes in the anti-corruption movement but we need to be very clear: you don’t fight corruption with statement.

  • You fight corruption with actions, smart and focussed actions;
  • You fight corruption with strong and new policies and laws, but not only laws but the enforcement of those laws;
  • You fight corruption with investigations;
  • And you fight corruption when civil society comes together with joint actions globally and by creating partnerships.

Of course the louder we speak out the more the corrupt fight back. And they do fight back. Whether it is individuals, corrupt businesses or captured governments, they will try to introduce laws to stop our work.

They will attack our individuals, our colleagues and organisations who are exposing corruption.

Today we pledge not to let them stop our work, and our purpose, and to protect each other in our daily work.

And we have allies. We see more and more ordinary citizens joining us because our message goes far beyond just the fight against corruption. It speaks to the fight for our values.

And this year more than any other we have seen a clash of values in the world; a time when the meaning of truth itself is threatened. The war on values is ongoing.

We need to reaffirm our values loudly and boldly. We are not naïve or idealistic; and though sometimes people say we are stupid to do this work, we are not stupid. We are committed.

At Transparency International we have a new 2020 vision – Together Against Corruption – This speaks to the heart of the message we need to send from wonderful Panama City to the outside world here today: it is a defence of decency we have to protect it

And we all need to work together to protect, promote and pressure for this to happen: to defend accountability, integrity, solidarity, courage, justice and democracy.

What has most impressed me personally here at the IACC is the blend of knowledge and innovation that have been presented here – both in-depth research and new uses of technology in the fight against corruption.

I have seen the anti-corruption activists of the older generation working hand in hand with the new generation of young leaders in the movement.

We see the familiar faces both inspiring and being inspired by new friends and co-fighters. And that is the future of anti-corruption work.  That is our tomorrow.

We look forward to our next gathering in 2018 to see how these new relationships flourish. And bring real Impact.  

As I said at the beginning: you cannot only fight corruption with statements – we have to act.

Thank you all for being here and I wish you courage, good faith and inspiration as you take the ideas, connections and partnerships that have been started and have been reconfirmed here this week forward into the world to fight corruption.

Only by working together can we achieve our goals. And let me be clear: we will never, never give up.

Country / Territory - International   |   Panama   
Region - Global   
Language(s) - English   
Topic - Civil society   |   Politics and government   
Tags - Elena Panfilova   |   Panama   |   Mossack Fonseca   |   17th IACC   |   Operation Car Wash Task Force   

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