Opening Remarks by Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General
June 12, 2013
Ladies and Gentleman:
Thank you for your hard work and participation in today’s 11th Annual International Bar Association Anti-Corruption Conference. It is a real privilege, and a great opportunity, to have such a distinguished group of representatives from the legal profession and the Working Group on Bribery (WGB) together in one place.
The fight against bribery and corruption demands a collective response. We need to assemble the brightest minds and keep sharing knowledge to combat this curse. Especially now that our countries are struggling to recover from the crisis. Especially now that record youth unemployment is scarring a whole generation and especially now when corruption, coupled with growing inequality, are causing a serious loss of trust in our societies and in the institutions we have built in the last 100 years.
Recent studies put the cost of corruption close to $2.6 trillion dollars a year (more than 5% of global GDP), with over US $1 trillion paid in bribes each year. A fraction of these resources could create millions of jobs.
The collaboration between the OECD and the IBA is a strategic one to strengthen our countries’ defences against corruption. Our joint efforts enhance the effectiveness of the WGB’s recommendations. They also ensure that lawyers across the world are on board in this fight and are well educated on the risks of corruption in their work.
This cooperation also allows us to share with you the extensive anti-corruption work of the OECD: our Anti-Bribery Convention, our Principles on Transparency and Integrity in Lobbying, our CleanGovBiz Initiative, or our growing support to the G20 Anti-corruption Group.
It’s less than a year since we signed a memorandum of understanding, and our engagement has already born fruit. Together, as part of the IBA-OECD-UNODC anti-corruption strategy for the legal profession, we have held 'train the trainer' workshops in 20 countries.
These workshops have been very effective, and we have planned another 7 for the end of this year. At the next IBA conference in Boston, the OECD and IBA will join forces again, but this time to focus on the globalisation of tax standards.
And this is only the beginning. We want to keep increasing our collaboration to strengthen the OECD’s analysis of anti-corruption laws. I’d like to warmly invite you to participate in our country evaluation visits conducted by the WGB or by sharing your perspective with us during the WGB’s annual consultations with the private sector and civil society.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
There are few areas where creativity and inventiveness reach such high levels of sophistication as in the realms of corruption and bribery. We are facing a moving target. And we will only succeed if we stay well connected and well informed.
This is the third year that the IBA has held its annual anti-corruption conference at the OECD alongside the spring meeting of the OECD Working Group on Bribery. Let’s keep increasing the relevance of these meetings. Let’s keep delivering concrete results.
I want to thank the IBA and the co-chairs of the IBA Anti-Corruption Committee, Timothy Dickinson and Nick Benwell, and all of our guests here today, for joining us at the OECD, and for your work on such a vital cause.
I’d also like to note that at this year’s spring WGB meeting, the Working Group will select a new Chair to succeed Professor Mark Pieth, who has ably sat at the Group’s helm for almost 20 years. We look forward to these developments and of course are grateful to Mark for his committed and effective leadership.
Thank you Mark, and thank you everyone.