I would like to begin by thanking the OECD and the French Presidency of the G-20 for the invitation made to the Government of Mexico, through the Ministry of Public Administration, to participate in this conference.
I am very honored to share this panel with two prominent presidents of multinational companies, with substantial work in this area, as well as representatives of two international organizations with whom we work closely in the fight against corruption as a global phenomenon, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the OECD.
We all agree that corruption is a global phenomenon that requires joint action of governments and the private sector to fight it.
Corruption threatens the integrity of markets, undermines fair competition, distorts the allocation of resources, destroys public trust and undermines the framework of the law. It is an obstacle to the development and competitiveness of countries and it also diminishes the efficiency of public and private institutions, deeply affecting the quality of life of the population.
It is precisely as a result of the serious consequences and threats posed by the phenomenon of corruption that the international community has taken important measures to prevent and fight corruption.
Countries such as Mexico, that have ratified the International Anti-Corruption Conventions from the United Nations, the Organization of American States and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, have been working hard to prevent and fight corruption in our countries.
At this point I would like to emphasize the imminent adherence of Russia to the Anti-bribery Convention of the OECD.
The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises or the OECD Good Practice Guidance on Internal Control, Ethics and Compliance are examples of how we can help to give clear guidelines to the private sector to fight bribery, through prevention.
The G-20 has a unique role to play in setting the fight against corruption as a priority issue in its agenda. Its leadership will allow to involve the most important actors and economies at a global level in this effort.
The ambitious Anticorruption Plan adopted at the G-20 Leaders meeting last November in Seoul is a clear call to promote a public and private sector partnership to jointly develop and implement concrete actions.
One of the possible issues for discussion is the formalization of peer review mechanisms, such as those used by the OECD.
I would like to highlight the work that France and Indonesia have done in just four months, leading the G-20 Anti-Corruption Working Group. This event and the upcoming meeting in Bali anticipate possible agreements and significant progress that could be presented during the Leaders' Meeting in Cannes.
During its G-20 Presidency in 2012, Mexico is ready to maintain the central role that has been given to the fight against corruption and we are directing all our efforts at a national and international level to achiev this objective.
As part of the efforts that the Government of Mexico is doing, I would like to emphasize that in March of 2011, President Felipe Calderon sent the Federal Anti-Corruption Initiative on Public Procurement and the Reforms to the Federal Law of Administrative Responsibilities of Public Servants to the Senate of the Republic. If these two initiatives are approved, they will become very strong legal instruments to fight corruption, through the creation of effective incentives to encourage the reporting and criminalization of corruption acts in public procurement, with exemplary penalties.
The Mexican government has also advanced in a set of initiatives to improve monitoring mechanisms in public procurement and to eliminate the excess of administrative regulations.
We have designed a strategy to promote transparency, through the figure of the Social Witness, which consists of the participation of civil society actors with broad social prestige as monitors in government procurement processes.
The Laws on public procurement were also reformed and this year new regulations were published. With these measures we head towards a more efficient government.
Innovative ways of contracting in the Federal Government were introduced, such as the Subsequent Discount Offers, Consolidated Procurement and Framework Agreements, which allow public institutions to improve hiring practices, generate savings and reduce the time of purchase, essential elements to improve services to citizens and to respond to their needs in a timely fashion.
The implementation of these new instruments has allowed the Mexican government to achieve savings by more than 2 billion dollars over the past 2 years in their procurement processes.
On the other hand, transparency in government procurement has also been strengthened. Now public institutions have the obligation to publish in a government procurement system online (CompraNet), the census of suppliers, products and business history. We are considering certifying those companies that have implemented ethic codes and integrity programs, and now providers have the option to access for free the electronic version of bidding documents.
Aware that excessive bureaucracy promotes the incidence of unlawful acts within public institutions, we made a deep Regulatory Reform concerning the rules that hindered the proper performance of public institutions. In this sense, we eliminated more than 15 thousand rules and 2 thousand procedures, simplifying the interaction between government and citizens.
The fight against corruption is a challenge shared by: businesses, citizens, international community and government. The leadership of the G-20 at the forefront of this fight is essential to coordinate efforts and develop a shared vision.
We are confident that the Working Group against Corruption, led by France and Indonesia, will promote agreements and will generate concrete proposals to bring to the consideration of the G-20 Leaders this year.
In this occasion, I would like to endorse the firm commitment of Mexico’s Government to promote the Anti-corruption International Agenda in order to maintain it as a G-20 priority issue. Mexico's Presidency in 2012 will allow us to serve as a bridge between OECD member countries and the G-20 countries that are not.
We must assume the fight against corruption as an integral strategy.
We must not only punish corruption acts severely, we must also eliminate opportunities by deregulating, simplifying procedures, and improving the interaction between citizens and Government.
In this process, it is essential to have the participation of the private sector.
The private sector should also promote integrity programs and ethic codes, according to the guidelines set hereof.
Society as a whole must participate in monitoring government performance and we must create an effective system of international evaluation and monitoring that allows us to measure progress and encourage best practices.