Bribery in international business

Regional Anti-Corruption Initiatives


Asia and the Pacific

The ADB leads, jointly with the OECD, the ADB/OECD Anti-Corruption Initiative for Asia and the Pacific. This Initiative supports since its inception in 1999 the implementation in the Initiative's currently 27 member countries and jurisdictions of international anti-corruption and anti-bribery standards set out in international instruments such as the UN Convention against Corruption, the OECD anti-bribery Convention. This support is guided by the Anti-Corruption Action Plan for Asia-Pacific, a non-binding instrument adopted in the framework of the Initiative in 2001 that the Initiative's member governments are committed to.

For its own operations, the Asian Development Bank applies an anti-corruption policy aimed at reducing the burden that widespread, systemic corruption exacts upon the governments and economies of the region. The ADB seeks to combat graft and corruption as part of its broader work on issues of governance and capacity building. Specifically, the policy is centered upon three objectives:(i) supporting competitive markets and efficient, effective, accountable and transparent public administration;(ii) supporting promising anticorruption efforts on a case-by-case basis and improving the quality of the Bank's dialogue with developing member countries on a range of governance issues, including corruption; and (iii) ensuring that the ADB's projects and staff adhere to the highest ethical standards.

APEC's main work on the fight against corruption is conducted by the Government Procurement Experts' Group (GPEG) and the Anti-Corruption and Transparency Task Force (ACT).

The GPEG developed a set of Non-Binding Principles on Government Procurement (NBPs); the original set of NBPs, adopted in 1999, included transparency; this has now been subsumed into the area-specific APEC Transparency Standards on Government Procurement. The purpose of ACT, established as a Senior Officials Special Task Group in 2005, is to steer APEC anti-corruption activities.


Council of Europe (CoE)

The Council of Europe is a key player in the international fight against bribery and corruption. There is on-going close co-operation between the Council of Europe's Working Group on Corruption (GMC) and the OECD through its Working Group on Bribery in International Business Transactions. The Council of Europe's Criminal Convention on Corruption was opened to signature on January 27 1999 and at least 27 countries have so far signed it. The Convention adopts a very broad concept of corruption, to include trafficking in influence, as well as, all passive and active forms of domestic and foreign bribery in both the public and private sector. The Criminal Law Convention also provides for a follow-up monitoring mechanism that is outlined in the GRECO Agreement, which entered into force on May 1, 1999. The first meeting of GRECO took place in September of this year. Furthermore, The Council of Europe's Working Group on Corruption has also completed its work on a Civil Convention on Corruption. The Council of Europe is now preparing for the 4th Conference of Specialised Services in the Fight Against Corruption, on the subject of international co-operation in the fight against corruption and offshore centres.

The European Commission adopted in May 1997 a Communication to the Council and the European Parliament on a Union Policy Against Corruption. This communication sets out the EC's comprehensive policy on corruption inside the European Union as well as in its relations with non-member countries. The communication deals with a number of actions, including the ratification of conventions criminalising the active and passive corruption of EC officials and officials of member countries, eliminating the tax deductibility of bribes, reforming public procurement and auditing systems. For non member countries, the European Union's policy aims at establishing anti-corruption programs with countries that have concluded co-operation or assistance agreements with the EC.

EBRD activities in the areas of combating corruption fall into four main areas: integrity of bank staff, integrity of the Bank in making operation-related decisions, integrity of Bank clients, project sponsors and suppliers, integrity of the investment environment in the Bank's countries operations. With regard to the promotion of integrity of the investment environment in the Bank's countries of operations, the Bank has issued corporate governance guidelines to set standards and to promote collective action among domestic and foreign investors and developed a programme to work with governments of the region to assist in the development of laws and institutions which enhance transparency and accountability with particular emphasis on bankruptcy, concessions, corporate governance and regulation of capital markets, secured transactions and regulatory reform. To promote integrity of the investment environment, the Bank has set up an Investment Climate Working Group under the chairmanship of the Chief Economist.

OSCE is a security organization with 55 member states dealing with a wide range of security related issues including arms control, preventative diplomacy, confidence and security building measures, human rights, election monitoring and economic and environmental security. Its approach to security is comprehensive and co-operative therefore decisions are made on a consensus basis where all states participating in OSCE activities have an equal status. Discussions have begun in this Organization about what steps the OSCE might take to stern corruption by promoting integrity and ethics in government, good governance and transparency. As a first step, consideration is being given to develop, approve, and enforce a set of norms to combat corruption. Active engagement of international and national NGOs to seek to build a stronger public and business consensus against corrupt practices will be a critical element in this process.

Latin America

Inter-American Development Bank (IADB)

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) provides direct support to Latin and Central American countries' corruption-fighting efforts. Bank-financed programs to reform government financial management, tax collection, customs and the judiciary aim at reducing opportunities for corruption in the public sector. Bank-funded programs in the areas of regulation, privatization and decentralization stress the importance of transparency and accountability.

The Inter-American Convention Against Corruption, negotiated in 1996 by delegates to a Specialized Conference of the Organisation of American States (OAS) and which entered into force in March 1997, represents the first international treaty dealing with the issue of transnational bribery and the leading example of regional action in the developing world. Building on the Convention, the OAS General Assembly adopted a comprehensive Plan Against Corruption at its meeting in Lima, Peru, in June 1997. Under this plan, the OAS provides support to its member countries and co-operate with local populations and other international organizations -including the OECD - in preventing and fighting corruption.


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