Remarks by Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General, delivered at the dinner of the B20 Task Force on Improving Transparency and Anti-Corruption.
Paris, Wednesday, 10 October 2012
(As prepared for delivery)
Thank you Nanni, distinguished members of the G20, the B20 and the OECD Working Group on Bribery, colleagues,
It is a pleasure and an honor to receive all of you here at the OECD. I warmly thank BIAC and my good friend, Charles, for hosting tonight’s dinner.
It is wonderful to see the OECD Working Group on Bribery, the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group and the B20 Task Force on Anti-Corruption come together under one roof to discuss a hugely important and urgent topic – the global fight against corruption.
Corruption eats away at the moral and ethical reputation of our governments and business. But most importantly, it has been identified as a major obstacle towards restoring growth in G20 countries - because it is so costly!
Corruption adds up to 10% of the total cost of doing business globally, and up to 25% of the cost of procurement contracts in developing countries. Countries and companies can simply not afford to waste money on bribes and other unproductive payments.
I would like to congratulate Mexico and the United Kingdom for their excellent job of steering the G20 Working Group on Anti-Corruption towards the implementation of the Seoul Action Plan. Under their leadership, great progress has been made on many fronts. We welcome the focus placed on tackling the concrete challenges which impede the full implementation of the international legal framework. These challenges lay in areas such as ensuring proper enforcement, tackling solicitation, protecting whistleblowers and piercing the corporate veil by guaranteeing transparency of ownership of legal entities.
I would also like to praise all the members of the G20 Working Group for undertaking a difficult assessment exercise and therefore holding themselves accountable for implementing their commitments under the Action Plan. This model should be extended to other areas of the G20 work.
Let me say that I have been following closely the G20 progress made on anti-corruption, first under French and Indonesia leadership, and now under Mexico and the United Kingdom.
I believe that this is something of which G20 countries should be proud. I’m grateful to know that the OECD has been able to support your work.
The OECD has broad expertise on establishing effective instruments to fight all facets of corruption. The OECD Anti-bribery Convention, of course, aims to eliminate the supply side of the bribery equation. The other side of the equation is to ensure government integrity. We also focus on clean and efficient administrations that help minimize the risks of corruption. This is why we developed the Principles on Enhancing Integrity in Public Procurement and Guidelines for Managing Conflict of Interest in the Public Service.
But at the OECD, we know that principles and guidelines have no impact without solid follow-up mechanisms to help countries implement them and make concrete progress. The monitoring process under the Anti-Bribery Convention and the Integrity peer reviews can help countries identify their gaps and challenges and make appropriate reforms to strengthen their national frameworks against corruption.
We are happy to contribute this wealth of expertise and our analysis to G20 countries' efforts. We supported the adoption of principles on asset disclosure, which will help G20 governments address transparency and integrity in their administrations. We are working closely with countries who are not yet Parties to enhance their foreign bribery framework and engage with the OECD Working Group on Bribery. In fact, Russia joined the OECD Convention last year. Here, I would praise the OECD Working Group on Bribery members, and their chair, Mark Pieth, for their excellent work carried out to support Parties and non-Parties reach the highest standards on foreign bribery.
This shows once more how the G20 can rely on the OECD for our work by extending their reach and taking advantage of the substance.
Finally, the OECD has long encouraged a regular and constructive dialogue between governments and business. In this regard, I have to congratulate the B20, under the leadership of General Electric and Fluor Corporation and with the support of the World Economic Forum and the International Chambre of Commerce, for the breadth and depth of their proposals throughout the year. In fact, the B20 Task Force on Anti-Corruption has shared dialogue with its G20 counterparts more effectively than any other B20 group.
This dialogue culminates every April in a joint high-level conference where businesses and governments take stock of progress and identify remaining gaps. We co-organized the 2011 edition with the French Presidency here at the OECD and supported Mexico in 2012. We now offer our assistance to the Russian Presidency for the next "April conference."
Thanks to the B20, greater emphasis has been placed on the importance of strengthening the international legal framework, ensuring transparency in procurement, and also exploring other initiatives addressing solicitation and collective action.
These successes pay homage to the value that coordinated policy and business input bring to the fight against corruption. Only by uniting our knowledge and experience can we truly achieve concrete progress.
Tonight’s dinner serves as a model for the format of discussions the OECD can facilitate between government, business and civil society to discuss sensitive and complex issues.
The next two days will be a landmark in the global fight against corruption as the G20 Working Group will discuss and agree on its new Action Plan. The partnership with business remains a cornerstone of this fight, and we look forward to continue supporting it under the Russian presidency.
I wish you very successful meetings and bon appétit!
See more OECD work on corruption at: www.oecd.org/corruption