Remarks by Ksenia Yudaeva, Russian G20 Sherpa, Chief of Presidential Experts' Directorate, Russian Federation
Delivered at the Third Annual High-Level Conference on Anti-corruption: G20 Governments and Business
Paris, France, 25 April 2012
(As prepared for delivery)
Ladies and gentlemen, dear colleagues:
It is a great pleasure for me to take part in the Third Annual High-Level Anti-Corruption Conference for G20 Governments and Business and to welcome you on behalf of the G20 Russian Presidency. First of all, I would like to thank our international organization partners – the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for their invaluable role in organizing this event. Let me also thank all of you - the representatives of governments, business and civil society for coming here to share your experience and consider possible ways forward in combating corruption.
Within the framework of its G20 Presidency Russia puts a great emphasis on identifying and disseminating effective anticorruption measures. We absolutely believe that success of various economic and regulatory measures being discussed by G20 Leaders depends to a great extent on whether we are able to arrive at workable solutions in fighting corruption.
Since its establishment in 2010 the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group has made significant contribution to curbing corruption. Under the auspices of G20 a number of high level principles and guidelines were developed that already helped to enhance international cooperation in the anti-corruption field and set up the common standards in such important areas as financial disclosure, recovery of assets, mutual legal assistance, etc.
In 2012 a new ambitious G20 Anti-Corruption Plan was approved by Sherpas. It commits G20 member-countries to continue working on a number of diverse and complicated issues.
First, G20 will further promote the ratification of the United Nations Convention against Corruption by all its members. It will also encourage countries to be active participants of the UNCAC peer review mechanism and to bring more transparency and accountability to the review process.
Second, G20 will stick to combating bribery and solicitation, both domestically and internationally. In the next two years the focus will be on implementation and enforcement of important high-level principles, multilateral agreements, and anti-bribery legislation that have been adopted in recent years.
Third, G20 will strive to further enhance international cooperation in the anti-corruption field. Special attention will be paid to the measures that render it difficult to conceal and take advantage of proceeds of corruption. To this end G20 will support and further strengthen the efforts to combat money laundering, to recover proceeds of corruption stowed abroad, and to deny entry and safe heaven to corrupt persons.
Fourth, G20 will continue to promote integrity and accountability in the public sector with a special emphasis being put on such issues as combating corruption in public procurement, improving financial disclosure systems, providing anti-corruption education and training, etc.
Fifth, G20 will focus on ensuring the independence and effectiveness of the institutions at the forefront of the fight against corruption – first of all, the specialized anti-corruption authorities and judiciary.
Finally, building on the Anti-Corruption Action Plan the Russian Presidency has put forward certain initiatives aimed at opening up new vistas for G20 work in anti-corruption field. They include:
- Studying the impact of anti-corruption measures on economic growth.
- Assessing corruption risks in privatization of state-owned assets.
- Combating corruption in sporting, cultural, and other major international events.
We are sincerely grateful to our international organizations partners for supporting our proposal and making it possible to include a series of roundtables on combating corruption in sports in the Agenda of this conference. We believe that discussion of such challenging topic will yield valuable results.
Let me assure you that Russia does not limit its anti-corruption activities to participation in international initiatives. At the domestic level, in the last five years Russia has significantly revised its anti-corruption legislation and introduced a plethora of anti-corruption tools with some of them being absolutely new for our country.
Just to give you an impression of what is being implemented in the anti-corruption field in Russia I would like to briefly describe certain initiatives that were launched only this year, in the first four month of 2013.
First, the Federal Law “On controlling spending of public officials” came into force on January 1, 2013. According to new legislation certain categories of public officials are now required to disclose any acquisition of real estate, means of transport, and securities with a price over a specified limit. For any such transaction the sources of income used to acquire property in question should be disclosed.
Whether the price of acquired property does not match the official income of a public official and his immediate family civil litigation may be initiated to expropriate the inexplicable assets. This legislation compliments in important way the financial disclosure regime in Russia as it makes possible to apply sanctions to those officials whose way of life does not match their legal income.
Second, in the beginning of April new measures were introduced to protect public servants as well as employees of state-owned companies who blow the whistle on corruption. In particular, it is prescribed that any measures of disciplinary responsibility may be applied to the whistleblower by an agency head only with consent of the relevant Conflict of Interest Commission. This is a first step to renew the system of whistleblower protection in Russia.
Third, new law on contractual system in public procurement was signed by the President of the Russian Federation on the 5 of April. In fact, this new legislation implies the most significant upgrade of the Russian public procurement system since 2005. The new law contains a wide array of novels, including additional provisions aimed at enhancing transparency and preventing corruption.
Fourth, on the 1st of January new legislation came into force that provides for regular rotation of certain categories of the Russian Civil Servants. The new measures will primarily apply to the public officials that exercise control and oversight functions. The rationale behind these measures is to prevent close relations between regulators and regulated organizations working in the same region.
Finally, new draft legislation on combating illegal financial operations is now being considered by the Russian Parliament. The main goal of this initiative is to streamline the Russian legislation in accordance with the recent Financial Action Taskforce (FATF) guidelines. One of its most important provisions is to introduce the beneficial ownership concept that has never existed in the Russian legislation before.
Russia fully understands that neither international, nor domestic anti-corruption initiatives cannot be effectively implemented by governments alone. Close cooperation with business and civil society is a necessary precondition for success. That is precisely why Russia within the framework of its G20 Presidency has implemented a number of concrete steps to improve cooperation with private sector on anti-corruption issues.
In particular, to streamline the outreach activities a comprehensive Outreach Strategy of the Russian G20 Presidency has been adopted. Its core principle is “to allow that proposals from all our partners are carefully studied, discussed and transmitted to the G20 decision-making level”.
In order to achieve this goal we decided not to limit ourselves to the outreach activities undertaken by previous presidencies, but also to provide some new formats for cooperation. In particular, for the first time the Anti-Corruption Working Group meeting in Moscow was preceded by official meetings of the B20, C20 and G20 working groups’ co-chairs. A special outreach session was included in the Agenda of the ACWG meetings and for the first time the C20 representatives were invited to the Group meeting.
The Russian Presidency considers the High-Level Anti-Corruption Conference for G20 Governments and Business to be an extremely valuable element of the G20 Outreach Strategy. This Conference provides a unique platform for sharing the views on combating corruption from different countries and from both the public and private sector perspectives. Fighting corruption to foster growth, combating corruption in sport, dealing with bribery solicitation, promoting anti-corruption compliance – all these and other issues that would be discussed here are of highest importance. I believe that this event will help to find new synergies and to move forward the G20 work on anti-corruption.