Our work on the G20

Filed under - Intergovernmental bodies

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Corruption is a severe impediment to sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction and can threaten financial stability and the economy as a whole.”

– St Petersburg G20 Declaration, 6 September 2013

What’s at stake?

The Group of 20 (G20) started in 1999 as a meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis. The global financial crisis in 2008 spurred the G20 Leaders to engage in discussions on enhancing cooperation and implementing international measures and reforms to stabilise and grow the global economy. Home to two-thirds of the world’s population, the G20 are responsible for 80 per cent of world trade and more than 85 per cent of the world economy.

Tackling corruption is crucial to the G20’s goal of generating inclusive growth and establishing a cleaner, safer, more sustainable economic framework. Opacity in the global financial system hides corrupt and criminal acts, such as asset flight, bribery and money laundering. The cross-border nature of the problem requires global solutions, ones that the G20 must lead on.

In 2010 the G20 adopted its first two-year anti-corruption action plan, renewed in 2012. The G20 members adopted a third action plan in November 2014 for the term 2015-2016.

What we’re doing about it

Drawing on an international network with presence in 19 of the G20 members (including a liaison office at the European Union), Transparency International is actively advocating for the G20 to show global leadership in tackling corruption by establishing a cleaner and more rigorous financial system. This includes calling for more stringent enforcement of foreign bribery and anti-money laundering regulations, more transparent reporting from companies and governments, faster return of stolen assets, and making it harder for individuals to enjoy the proceeds of crime and corruption. The UN Convention against Corruption – which has been ratified by all G20 members except Japan – provides the legal framework for our work.

Our advocacy includes:

  • Constructive national and international engagement with the G20 governments on our policy recommendations through public letters and meetings with relevant G20 representatives
  • Targeted media and press work to communicate what is at stake to citizens
  • Collaboration with the business sector as well as other civil society organisations to broaden our impact.

Who’s involved

We implement our G20 advocacy strategies through TI’s representation in 19 of the G20 members.

In 2012, our then Chair Huguette Labelle was invited by the Mexican G20 Presidency to join the Business 20 (B20) Anti-Corruption Task Force as the only civil society member. The invitation was extended again in 2013 under the Russian Presidency, the Australian Presidency in 2014 and once again under the Turkish Presidency in 2015. The B20 is organised in various thematic task forces which come up with recommendations to the G20 leaders relevant for the business sector. The B20 Anti-Corruption Task-Force was discontinued under the Chinese presidency in 2015.

In 2013 the Civil 20 (C20) was established by the Russian presidency as the main platform for civil society organisations to access G20 decision-making. Transparency International co-chaired the first C20 Anti-Corruption Working Group. The Civil 20 format was continued under the Australian presidency, in which our Australian chapter co-chaired the C20 Governance group. Under the Turkish Presidency in 2015, the C20 will continue as an official G20 engagement group for civil society organisations. TI Turkey co-chaired the Governance group and was a member of the steering committee. We call on the G20’s Chinese Presidency to recognise a C20 as a formal engagement group in 2016.

Our approach

G20 flags

Public scrutiny and pressure is needed to make progress on the individual and collective commitments G20 members have made in the G20 Anti-Corruption Action Plan 2015-2016.

Transparency International and our chapters make recommendations and provide research and information on key priorities to the Anti-Corruption Working Group, the G20 Sherpas and through the finance track, both in international contexts but also on a national level. In both 2012 and 2014 we successfully advocated for the adoption of a new Action Plan for the ensuing terms. We hope that a strong, focused Action Plan will be adopted for 2017-2018 under the Chinese presidency.

Key successes

  • In 2015, the G20 Principles for Promoting Integrity in Public Procurement were endorsed by leaders in Antalya. In addition, the National Implementation Plans on beneficial ownership transparency were published.
  • The 2015-16 G20 Anti-Corruption Action Plan was adopted by leaders in Brisbane. The Plan covers six priority areas: Beneficial ownership transparency, public sector transparency and integrity, private sector transparency and integrity, foreign bribery, international cooperation, and high risk sectors. For the first time it is accompanied by a detailed Implementation Plan  which sets out the work-plan for the next two years including a list of deliverables.
  • The G20 adopted G20 High Level Beneficial Ownership Principles requiring action on secret company ownership.
  • Each G20 country now publishes their accountability reports outlining exactly what they have done to implement their commitments from previous years.
  • In line with commitments in the G20 Anti-Corruption Action Plan, all but one G20 country (Japan) have now ratified UNCAC. Fourteen of 17 G20 members which have undergone reviews have allowed or agreed to country visits for their UNCAC reviews. Fifteen of 17 are engaging with civil society on their UNCAC reviews.  Several G20 members (Australia, France, South Africa, the UK and the US) have published their UNCAC reviews in full. 
  • In line with commitments, non-OECD countries China, India, Indonesia and Russia have begun to work with the OECD Working Group on Bribery with Russia fully acceding to the OECD convention in April 2012. As far as non-signatories to the OECD convention are concerned, China amended its criminal code in 2011 to make the bribery of foreign officials an offence, and India has begun the process of passing such legislation.
  • Several G20 countries have adopted or strengthened whistleblower legislation in line with G20 commitments including both India and China in 2014.
  • We called on G20 countries to provide for automatic exchange of financial information and overcome barriers to legal assistance. A major success of the 2013 G20 Summit was the formal adoption of the OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) plan, which is a step towards enhanced tax transparency.

Timeline and results

  • 2018: 2018: We released a position paper with recommendations for the G20 on state-owned enterprises.
  • 2017: We released policy positions on several topics falling within the purview of the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group: anti-money laundering, real estate and luxury goods sector, open contracting in healthcare procurement, open data, and clean supply chains
  • 2016: The first G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group meeting in China will happen in January followed by the second in June and the third later in the year. The B20 Summit on corruption and the Global Anti-Corruption Summit (United Kingdom) will take place in April. The G20 Summit in China will be in September 4-5. We call on the G20’s Chinese Presidency to recognise a C20 as a formal engagement group in 2016.
  • 2015: The Civil 20 was endorsed as an official engagement group of the G20 for the third year. Transparency International Turkey was a member of the steering committee and co-chair of the Civil 20 Governance Group. Transparency International successfully advocated for the endorsement of the G20 Anti-Corruption Open Data Principles and the G20 Principles for Promoting Integrity in Public Procurement with the aim of ensuring the integrity and transparency of public sectors. In addition, the Individual Implementation Plans on beneficial ownership transparency were published.
  • 2014: We successfully advocated for an extension of the Anti-Corruption Working Group’s mandate and the adoption of a third G20 Anti-Corruption Action Plan 2015-2016 as well as the adoption of the G20 Beneficial Ownership Principles. Transparency International Australia co-chaired the Civil 20 Governance group. Transparency International was a member of the Business 20 (B20) Expert Group on Anti-Corruption.
  • 2013: Civil society organisations were formally integrated into the G20 process through the creation of the Civil 20 (C20), long advocated by Transparency International. We co-chaired the C20 Anti-Corruption Working Group and were invited to take part in the B20 Task Force on Corruption and Transparency.
  • 2012: We were invited by the Mexican G20 Presidency to join the B20 Task Force on Improving Transparency and Anti-Corruption. We successfully advocated for an extension of the Anti-Corruption Working Group’s mandate and the adoption of a second G20 Anti-Corruption Action Plan.
  • 2010: We were rewarded with the publication of the G20 Anti-Corruption Action Plan at the Seoul G20 Summit in which the G20 committed to lead by example in achieving individual and collective progress on their anti-corruption commitments by 2012.
  • 2008: The G20 was convened at heads of state level for the first time by then US President George W. Bush to address the global financial crisis. Transparency International constructively engaged with the G20 leaders to emphasise the lack of transparency, accountability and integrity by public and private actors which contributed to the global crisis.


Contact us

Maggie Murphy
Global Outreach, Advocacy and Campaigns Coordinator

List of communications to the G20

May-October 2015, G20 position papers: Beneficial ownership principles | Open data | Role of the financial sector in preventing corruption | Transparency in public procurement

10 November 2014: Open letter to G20 leaders: Stop corruption and close loopholes in the financial system to help the world’s poorest

May 2014, G20 position papers: Asset recovery | Beneficial ownership | Denial of entry | Natural resources | Whistleblower legislation

1 April 2014: Letter to G20 Ministers of Finance and Governors of Central Banks ahead of April 2014 meeting (Sample from Australia)

September 2013: Transparency International Ideal Communique to G20

August 2013: C20 Position Paper (Five pager)

15 May 2013: C20 Position Paper (One pager)

8 April 2013: Letter to the Ministers of Finance and Central Banks Governors ahead of meeting in Washington, D.C.

31 July 2012: Transparency International Submission to the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group, suggesting priorities for its Action Plan 2013-2014

3 April 2012: Letter to the Ministers of Finance and Governors of Central Banks meeting in Washington D.C. on April 20, 2012 in the forum of the International Monetary and Financial Committee

8 February 2012: Civil Society Submission to the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group

13 October 2011: Transparency International, CDM Watch and ETC Letter to Jacob Zuma, G20 on occasion of COP17 in Durban

25 August 2011: Joint Civil Society Submission to the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group (Carta en español)

August 2011: Transparency International’s recommended criteria for G20 Anti-Corruption Action Plan Progress Report

20 May 2011: Letter to Nicolas Sarkozy, G20

11 February 2011: Joint Civil Society Submission to the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group

3 January 2011: Letter to G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group

26 August 2010: Letter to Stephen Harper and Lee Myung-bak, G20

August 2010: Recommendations to the G20 (updated)

19 May 2010: Letter to Stephen Harper and Lee Myung-bak, G20

February 2010: Recommendations to the G20

Country / Territory - International   |   Argentina   |   Australia   |   Brazil   |   Canada   |   China   |   France   |   Germany   |   India   |   Indonesia   |   Italy   |   Japan   |   Mexico   |   Russia   |   Saudi Arabia   |   South Africa   |   South Korea   |   Turkey   |   United Kingdom   |   United States   
Region - Global   |   Sub-Saharan Africa   |   Middle East and North Africa   |   Americas   |   Asia Pacific   |   Europe and Central Asia   
Language(s) - English   
Topic - Asset recovery   |   Civil society   |   Intergovernmental bodies   

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