OECD Secretary-General

Joining Forces Against Corruption: G20 Business & Government (Opening remarks)


Remarks by Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General, delivered at G20-OECD Conference: Joining forces against corruption: G20 business and government

OECD Headquarters, 27th April 2011
Minister de Raincourt, Executive Director Fedotov, Distinguished Guests:
Good morning and welcome to the OECD. It is a great pleasure for us to host this anti-corruption conference for the private sector, co-organised with the French Presidency of the G20. We are also grateful to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for their support.
Last November, the G20 countries made another crucial commitment: to strengthen their efforts in fighting corruption. Together, they adopted an ambitious Anti-Corruption Action Plan. This Plan could help us reduce and control a cancer which costs the world around $2.6 trillion a year (more than 5% of global GDP). 

The global fight against corruption calls for closer cooperation between governments and business. That is why the French Presidency of the G20, the OECD and the UNODC, have decided to focus this conference on the partnership between the public and the private sector in the anti-corruption drive. Let me say a few words on where we stand.

As you know, the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention criminalises the bribery of foreign public officials in international business transactions. The 38 countries which joined the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention are taking decisive steps to crack down on bribery in international business, thereby levelling the playing field for business.

The G20 Anticorruption Action Plan has also made this particular fight one of its focuses; the OECD and the other international organisations are closely cooperating with the chairs of the G20 Anticorruption Working Group to meet these goals.

At the same time, we regularly meet with companies and business organisations to share ideas on how to fight bribery in international business.

During 2010, we intensified our efforts. We adopted a comprehensive Good Practice Guidance to help companies prevent bribery and corruption in their business dealings. It is the only anti-corruption guidance for business ever provided by an intergovernmental organisation.

This Guidance helps companies to develop effective internal controls, ethics, and measures for preventing and detecting bribery. These controls must be based on a risk assessment, addressing the individual circumstances of the company, in particular its bribery risks, such as its geographical and industrial sector of operation.

We know the devil is in implementation, so we are providing broader recommendations for better compliance in this Guidance. And we are requesting all signatory countries to make an extra effort to demonstrate to us more clearly that they are mobilising the necessary people and resources to apply the OECD Convention effectively.

What else can be done to ensure that, together, governments and companies minimize the potential for corrupt behaviour in international business?

To answer that question, we also need to look at issues related to public procurement. This is an area which is extremely prone to corruption because of the vast amounts of money involved. To give you an idea, governments spend an average of 13% of their GDP on public procurement contracts in OECD countries.

The OECD is taking measures to make public procurement systems more transparent and easier for companies to navigate. Our Principles for Enhancing Integrity in Public Procurement help to prevent corruption in the entire procurement cycle. And we are currently undertaking a peer review of public procurement in the United States, the largest public purchasing market in the world.

Through the framework of our Declaration on Propriety, Integrity and Transparency, we are also working to put anti-corruption into the broader context of the standards for business conduct. We recently launched the Initiative to ensure cooperation amongst international organisations to make their tools coherent and complementary.

And finally, the G20 Anti-Corruption Action Plan calls on its governments to consider how sector-specific initiatives like the EITI initiative could help fight corruption in business. That is why we have brought together representatives from four different initiatives, to help us take stock of this new, more focused type of anti-corruption action.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Your presence here is strategic for the world economy. By tomorrow morning, we hope that, together, we will be able to crystallise the principles on which companies and governments from G20 countries could commit to as part of a public-private partnership against corruption.

And, to start this conversation, I would like to introduce Henri de Raincourt, Ministre de la France chargé de la Coopération.

Thank you all for coming and I look forward to following your discussions over the next day and a half.


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