Countries must fight corruption, warn international leaders

27 Mar 18

Countries must fight corruption and restore public trust to meet the sustainable development goals, an OECD forum in Paris heard this morning.

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norway_cropped.jpg

Norway PM at OECD anticorruption forum, March 2018

Credit: Simone Rensch

 

Governance, transparency and accountability are the key to tackling corruption, a panel of premiers and vice-premiers agreed, kicking off the in a session called ‘integrity for fair globalisation’.

Erna Solberg, Norway’s prime minister [pictured above], warned: “Corruption distorts competition and trade, reduces investments and slows development…[it] widens economic and social inequalities, it feeds a sense of injustice, discontent, exclusion and polarisation.

“I urge all countries to eliminate incentives and opportunities for those seeking to stash away the proceeds of corruption.”

She said each country had the responsibility to fight corruption at home but should also work together to combat it at a global level.

Solberg added: “There is enough money around the world to meet the sustainable development goals if we make sure it’s not stashed away by someone who is stealing it from their own country.”

Countries around , which are 17 goals, including ending poverty and protecting the planet.

Prime minister of Iceland Katrín Jakobsdóttir said gaining public trust was important, especially for a country like her own, which has been hit by numerous political scandals over the past decade.

She said: “Integrity is an essential component of any democratic system, and the public expects the mandate to be for the common good.”

Corruption should also be a key driver in meeting the UN 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, she and the rest of the panel agreed.

Secretary-general of the Ángel Gurría OECD said only 42% of OECD citizens trust their government, as a result of the financial crisis, tax evasion scandals and the decline in public services. The panel agreed that this trust must be restored.

He added: “There is also a widespread feeling that the global system has been stacked for the benefit of a privileged few.”

Delia Ferreira, chair of Transparency International, who also spoke at the event said the issue with fighting corruption was not coming up with rules but enforcing them.

She said: “We have the rules; we have the agencies – what we are missing is enforcement and implementation.”

Frans Timmermans, first vice president of the European Commission, who agreed that anti-corruption measures and the SDGs go hand in hand, told the forum of nearly 2,000 participants that transparency was key.

He said he would “urge all nations” to adapt transparency measures for a fairer society.

The panel also included the vice president of Argentina Gabriela Michetti.

 

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