Public Sector Transparency and Accountability: Making It Happen
Ministers, senators, senior government officials and business leaders came together with representatives of international organisations, non-government organisations (NGOs) and the media to approve policy recommendations on key areas of good governance.
The Policy Recommendations approved by the Forum reflect the shared experience of OECD and OAS countries and give guidelines for concrete action. They particularly support OAS states' efforts to implement preventive measures defined by the Inter-American Convention against Corruption. The Policy Recommendations also list key principles, and crucial factors to
- ensure impartiality in the decision-making process by a credible conflict-of-interest policy;
- increase transparency in the preparation and execution of the budget; and
- promote freedom of information and participation of citizens in the formulation and implementation of public policies.
The Forum took place on 5-6 December 2001 in Brasilia; it was hosted by the Government of Brazil and organised by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Organization of American States (OAS). It was opened by Marcus Marcel, Vice-President of Brazil and addressed by Martus Tavares, Minister of Planning, Budget and Management of Brazil, and César Gaviria, Secretary General of the OAS.
In his opening remarks, Seiichi Kondo, Deputy Secretary-General of the OECD emphasised that "high standards of public governance are seen by all OECD Member countries as the essential foundation for achieving sustainable economic growth, social cohesion and a healthy environment. Without high standards, there can be no trust or confidence in the integrity of public institutions or indeed in the value of democratic processes in promoting and protecting the interests and well-being of citizens."
He concluded that "good governance and the fight against corruption should not be just new catchwords in international co-operation. They represent the keys for successful reform and for equitable and sustainable development."
Forum participants stressed the importance of a comprehensive approach when preparing national measures for implementing the Recommendations. Stuart Gilman, Director at the Office of the Inspector-General of the US Treasury Department, underlined that "Modern anticorruption programmes must balance integrity and compliance, multiple programmes, intersecting laws and authorities and institutional responsibilities -- nonetheless, we know that all anticorruption regimes must have institutions of prevention, investigation, prosecution and protection.
Engaging the public in budget planning is an emerging requirement, and citizens play a crucial role in scrutinizing the spending of public money. "The second generation of fiscal reforms aimed both to increase transparency and limit the Executive's discretion in the use of public resources" emphasized Marcelo Tokman, Chief Economist of the Budget Office of Chile.