I am delighted to mark the International Anti-Corruption Day together. The fight against corruption is a huge priority for the OECD, it reverberates through everything we do.
Corruption is a threat to inclusive growth. It widens inequalities. It impedes the effective delivery of public services. It undermines the values of democracy.
And the COVID-19 crisis has revealed the urgency of tackling this challenge. Governments have been forced to take rapid and drastic measures as emergency responses to the crisis. This has sometimes led to overlooking regulations and procedures, leaving many services exposed to a heightened risk of corruption.
The OECD has been at the forefront in this global fight against corruption.
For 20 years, we have been working on cross-border bribery through the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and supporting countries enact corporate anti-corruption legislation.
The Convention’s inception in 1999 changed the global anti-corruption landscape. By the end of 2018, 615 individuals and 203 legal entities were criminally sanctioned for foreign bribery offences, with further 528 investigations currently ongoing in 28 countries.
We are also strengthening our efforts to fight corruption in crises through a new programme on “Global Law Enforcement Response to Corruption in Crisis Situations”.
When it comes to promoting integrity, the OECD is not standing still. Our Recommendation on Public Integrity is helping to change the concept of anti-corruption, shifting away from isolated measures to develop a “whole-of-society” integrity strategy.
The OECD Principles for Transparency and Integrity in Lobbying, the first international instrument in this area, offers guidance to countries on increasing fairness in policy making.
More recently, our Guidelines on Anti-Corruption and Integrity in State-Owned Enterprises are providing extensive advice on how the state, as an enterprise owner, can minimise the risk of corruption and other irregularities in its SOEs.
The OECD is also tackling tax crimes and other financial crimes by making it more difficult to hide the financial trail of such crimes. Last year, nearly 100 jurisdictions exchanged information automatically on 84 million financial accounts, involving total assets of around EUR 10 trillion.
With the OECD Recommendation for Development Co-operation Actors on Managing the Risk of Corruption, we are actively supporting donors to better co-ordinate with each other and jointly respond to incidents of corruption in partner countries.
Our work in the G20, including its Anti-Corruption Working Group, as well as other global governance fora, has been instrumental in fostering a convergence of views and promoting the application of OECD standards by developed and developing countries.
Corruption is a moving target. We must keep running. We must keep fighting. We must keep joining forces. The OECD stands ready to work with all stakeholders and continue to champion anti-corruption and integrity efforts.
So let’s work together to design, develop and deliver, better anti-corruption and integrity policies for better lives.