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Diplomacy in Action

The Sixth Global Forum On Fighting Corruption And Safeguarding Integrity


Press Statement
"Strength in Unity: Public-Private Partnerships to Fight Corruption"
Doha, Qatar
November 7, 2009

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We, Ministers and senior officials from Governments, representatives from international organizations, business leaders and civil society participants, attending the Sixth Global Forum on Fighting Corruption and Safeguarding Integrity, held in Doha, Qatar, from 7-8 November 2009, increasingly committed to combat corruption and safeguard integrity at every level of society and to strengthen international cooperation:

Express our most sincere gratitude to His Royal Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani and H.E Dr. Ali Bin Fetais Al-Marri, Attorney General, and the Government of Qatar, for hosting a successful Global Forum. We also express our appreciation to the previous host governments of the Global Forum, as it traversed the world -- the United States (Washington D.C., 1999), the Netherlands (The Hague, 2001); the Republic of Korea (Seoul, 2003), Brazil (Brasilia, 2005), and South Africa (Johannesburg, 2007) – for their joint efforts to mobilize the world community against corruption;

Since the convening of the First Global Forum on Fighting Corruption and Safeguarding Integrity in Washington, D.C., in 1999, the Global Forum process has helped bring the international community together to renew its commitment to the prevention and fight against corruption; promote responsible governance and enhance integrity; share good practices; discuss the latest trends related to good governance and anticorruption; explore novel approaches to prevent, investigate and prosecute corruption; reinforce international cooperation; and to highlight partnerships with the nongovernmental sector. Over the past 10 years, the Global Forum has provided the political impetus to break down barriers for governments, international organizations, and non-governmental groups to strengthen cooperation and freely discuss corruption and related law enforcement and good governance issues. The spirit of the Global Forum, as noted by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore during the opening keynote address in 1999, remains important today: “no nation is immune from corruption; no nation has a monopoly on virtue or has the right to lecture any other. To effectively combat corruption globally, no nation could seal itself off from the impact of corruption beyond its border and must work with every other nation to fight corruption wherever it is in the world.”

THE DESTRUCTIVE IMPACT OF CORRUPTION

Recognize that corruption is a complex economic, political and social challenge that threatens democracy, sustainable development, the rule of law, the welfare and health of our citizens, a clean environment, and global security across both developed and developing countries, whose corrosive influence extends to the spread of transnational organized crime, terrorism, and other illicit areas that pose threats to the security, good order and well-being of many of our societies;

Are aware that corruption impedes development, endangers human rights, impedes the democratic process and undermines good corporate governance. Corruption’s impact is most profoundly felt by the poor as it denies them access to funds and resources allocated for their benefit and necessary for a brighter future, including the right to participate fully in political and economic processes, making it difficult for governments to build just, fair, and equitable societies;

Are cognizant that the prevention of corruption is a key tool in combating emerging transnational criminal threats and illicit networks. Today, criminals imperil the function and legitimacy of the state when they harness public institutions to facilitate their illicit activities and create a culture of impunity. In the most extreme cases, they subvert and undermine state functions. To gain an advantage in our battle against such transnational criminal threats, we must root out corruption at every level of government involving the public trust – particularly in the security, law enforcement and criminal justice sectors, as well as in the economic, financial and business sectors – in full partnership with non-governmental and civil society organizations, so as to establish a culture of legality and reinforce the rule of law in our societies;

Urge the global community to redouble efforts to promote national integrity systems and strategies that combat all forms of corruption, and the laundering of illicit proceeds;

At the opening of Global Forum V in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2007, President Thabo Mbeki underscored the urgency for the international community to deal with the “problem of corruption, which obstructs the achievement of the important objective we all share, the objective of liberating billions of human beings from the scourge of poverty. The theme that informs the work of this conference, fighting corruption and safeguarding integrity’, correctly presumes our ability as political leaders, business leaders, civil society, public intellectuals and academics, and others, to identify the root causes of corruption and accordingly work out the most effective ways and means to combat it. All of us are agreed about the negative consequences of corruption on the lives of especially the ordinary people but also all the citizens of our countries. We are equally agreed that for corruption to occur there must also exist mutual agreement and collusion between the corruptor and the corrupted. Indeed, both the corruptor and the corrupted would, as a matter of principle, agree to subject their souls to the dictates of graft, illegally to line their pockets against the interests of the people to whom the stolen resources are due. . . . We know of many examples where corruption robs a large section of humanity of their right to homes, food, transport, education, health, clean water, and many other essential services.” President Mbeki further noted that corruption “emasculates development and democracy and undermines the fight against poverty by diverting key resources away from programs designed to improve the quality of life especially of the poor, globally. . . . We have an obligation properly to understand and to fight corruption in all its forms and manifestations, as we seek to create a new world order that will be responsive to the needs and aspirations of the poor billions we represent. . . . Accordingly, we need to seize the opportunity provided by this Global Forum constructively to strengthen the foundation for carrying out our historic task to rid our world of the ravages of poverty, disease and underdevelopment.”

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION AND PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SECTOR FRAMEWORKS FOR DETERRENCE

Voice our concern that corruption involving officials from the private and public sectors is a grave and corrosive abuse of power that destabilizes the social fabric of communities;

Acknowledge that corruption has evolved into a transnational and trans-sectoral phenomenon, and that a holistic approach is needed to address it, which not only involves the public sector but also the private sector, civil society, academia, the media, and relevant international organizations;

Encourage business leaders and businesses to adopt and enforce anti-bribery compliance policies and programs, conduct their enterprises in a more ethical manner internationally, and move toward independent verification processes, to enhance the credibility of the systems;

Recommend that steps be taken to provide incentives to business to cooperate with law enforcement authorities, such as measures by governments to mitigate penalties for such cooperation or for adopting such programs;


At the opening plenary of Global Forum III in Seoul, South Korea, in 2003, Minister of Justice Kang Kum-Sil underscored how the Global Forum process had become an indispensable tool to mobilize attention to the causes of corruption, develop guiding principles to fight it, and to exchange effective methodologies. Minister Kang also noted that corruption in the era of globalization threatened many of the international community’s shared interests in security, economic prosperity, democracy and sustainable development: “It has become increasingly apparent that issues such as money laundering, organized crime, and terrorism are deeply interrelated to corruption. The results of these vices have shown the world how harmful they can be – not just to individual countries but to the global community as well. Corruption in the private sector is also a serious problem that has emerged as an urgent matter to address. Several corruption cases in the private sector, such as the series of accounting scandals that . . .have[had] a negative impact on the world economy. To eradicate corruption at the national level, the public sector, private sector, and civil society have to actively interplay their respective roles.”

Note with concern the increasingly transnational nature of corruption and agree on the need for sharing of good practices in formal and informal cooperation arrangements for the prevention, investigation and prosecution of corruption cases;

Also agree to implement and enforce laws against transnational bribery of foreign officials, including those promulgated to implement the provisions of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) and the OECD Convention on the Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions;

Further recognize that integrity is a core prerequisite to a secure and clean international supply chain, that corruption undermines international trade and development, and that collaboration in preventing and fighting corruption by all parties is crucial;

STRENGTHENING ANTICORRUPTION AUTHORITIES

Are aware, in line with the UNCAC and other international treaties, of the important role that specialized anticorruption institutions can play in the prevention and control of corruption, as well as in establishing and monitoring sound anticorruption strategies and policies;

Express concern over instances in which anticorruption authorities are being weakened and even threatened;

Urge the international community to remain vigilant against attempts to undermine the role and functions of anticorruption authorities;

Encourage governments diligently to take all necessary measures to ensure that anticorruption authorities can effectively contribute to the prevention, detection, investigation, and prosecution of corruption and related offences, as well as to the identification, tracing, seizure, confiscation, and return of the proceeds of corruption, within their respective mandates;

At Global Forum II, held in The Hague in 2001, chaired by H.E. Benk Korthais, Minister of Justice of the Netherlands, delegates welcomed the United Nations General Assembly’s decision to begin the elaboration and negotiation of an effective international legal instrument against corruption, which lead to the UNCAC. Minister Korthais further elaborated on the scope of Global Forum II during his opening remarks: “I believe that we have established a balance here by paying attention to everyone’s role [in the fight against corruption]. The various branches of Government, but also civil society, the private sector and the media have a role to play. In this respect, I want to emphasize that I fully respect the demands from especially the developing countries that the rest of the world must help them in fighting corruption: when companies based in the industrialized world are actively involved in corruption, they should be punished, even if they are engaged in bribery of foreign officials. When former dictators use the banks located in the big financial centres to hide the resources stolen from their country of origin, we should find the right way to help to repatriat[e] such embezzled funds. The key word here is close international cooperation based on clear criteria.”


PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS AND A CULTURE OF INTEGRITY

At Global Forum IV in Brasilia, Brazil in 2005, Waldir Pires, Minister of Control and Transparency, gave the following inspirational message: “In a country like ours, corruption annihilates the lives of children – stealing their school lunches – or kills the oldest among us by blocking access to medications that are diverted from public health services. We must combat corruption with courage. Corruption, after all, does not respect borders, nor does it distinguish between rich or poor nations. We have to confront it, therefore, shoulder to shoulder, until we can declare victory in the battle for democracy and human civilization. For there cannot be democracy without citizenship. There cannot be citizenship without respect for fundamental social rights for the existence of the human person. Democracy means the inclusion of all people in our world today. It is my hope that the Global Forum will continue to serve as a privileged venue where we can reflect on our common problems and forge paths for solving them together, on behalf of proper administrative conduct, of ethics. Specifically, the ethics that solidify the human condition, that see in the human person more than simply the objective of building a human civilization, but rather the end, the essence of this effort”.

Encourage leaders at all levels of society to strengthen their will and resolve against corruption, and to support public campaigns that mobilize all segments of society to eradicate corruption in all of its forms and manifestations;

Reaffirm the need to establish and nurture a culture of integrity among citizens, public officials and private sector officials;

Point out the benefits of anticorruption educational initiatives to foster a culture of integrity, including through programs for youth, through well-constructed long-term strategies, the mainstreaming of ethics and anticorruption in professional and post-graduate programs, and the provision of specialized training for practitioners;

Highlight the crucial role of the media to both accurately inform and educate the public as well as to expose corruption;

Stress the fundamental importance of strengthening the integrity and independence of the judiciary and investigative and prosecution services; as well as the importance of the vigilance of parliaments in the fight against corruption, including by greater a commitment to conflicts of interest and abuse of power;

PREVENTION OF CORRUPTION

Are aware that priority should be given to the adoption of broad prevention measures, which are crucial to any comprehensive strategy for fighting corruption;

Recognize Chapter II of UNCAC as providing a strong model for the types of measures that governments should take to prevent corruption; and urge governments to redouble their efforts to implement Chapter II of UNCAC, develop long-term and pragmatic strategies, and establish strong systems to promote integrity;

Reaffirm the need for strong systems to promote integrity among public and private sector officials, including context-sensitive and enforceable codes of conduct, clear rules for post-government employment, relevant financial disclosure requirements, and relevant compliance and inspection programs;

CLEAN GOVERNMENT: PUBLIC PROCUREMENT AND TRANSPARENCY

Recognize that corruption in public procurement diverts resources from the global community’s most pressing basic needs, such as health, education, environment, and energy, thereby denying services and resources to the world’s most needy;

Note with serious concerns that corruption in procurement in vulnerable sectors, such as defense, engineering, public health, energy and infrastructure can be a serious threat to public security;

Urge governments to safeguard against corruption in public procurement through stringent transparency and accountability measures, as prescribed in the UNCAC and following existing good practices and open criteria, in close partnership with the private sector and local communities;

PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS IN INSTITUTION-BUILDING AGAINST CORRUPTION

Recognize that corruption in the developing world erodes resources intended for development and private investments alike, thereby depriving developing countries of prospects for sustainable development and economic growth;

Further note that corruption not only has a detrimental impact on developing economies, but undermines donor and corporate efforts to promote development and generate opportunities for growth;

Urge business leaders to ensure that the highest standards of integrity are upheld by all actors in the supply chain, including sub-contractors, agents and intermediaries;

Urge both donor and business communities to join forces to provide developing countries with anti-corruption infrastructures consistent with UNCAC, thus safeguarding investments and helping to ensure aid effectiveness;

BRIDGING THE PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SECTORS’ EFFORTS

Recognize the importance of transparency and dissemination of information to oversight bodies, parliaments, media, civil society, and electoral accountability;

Note the power as well as positive contribution of new information technologies to increase transparency, asset traceability, oversight, and participation;

Call for study, dissemination, and implementation of good practices to protect those who provide information to competent authorities, consistent with the whistleblower provisions of UNCAC;

Agree on the value of developing new and more sophisticated approaches to assessing challenges and progress related to the fight against corruption, its incidence, costs and other consequences, as well as the value of properly recognizing the contributions of anticorruption leaders;

GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS, ASSET RECOVERY AND NO SAFE HAVEN

Are convinced that the recovery and return of the proceeds of corruption to their legitimate owners must be a fundamental objective in our fight against corruption;

Agree to prohibit and deter the concealment of illicitly acquired assets and highlight the importance of facilitating international cooperation with respect to asset recovery consistent with the provisions of the UNCAC;

Note the increased responsibilities of the financial sector in this regard and encourage all relevant financial institutions to fully cooperate in such endeavors;

Recommend that governments deny safe haven to corrupt officials, those who corrupt them, and their assets, and to strengthen international cooperation on extradition, mutual legal assistance and the recovery and return of proceeds of corruption, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the UNCAC and other relevant instruments;

UNCAC’S IMPLEMENTATION

Welcome the emergence of the UNCAC as the primary global framework for international action and co-operation on corruption among governments and between governments, the private sector and other non-governmental actors;

Reaffirm our commitment to the effective implementation of the UNCAC, wishing every success to the Third Conference of the State Parties as it considers important topics such as implementation of the UNCAC, including review of implementation, prevention, technical assistance, and asset recovery, and urge them to dedicate their utmost efforts to accomplish the objectives established by the Second Conference of States Parties;

Urge governments to utilize the provisions of the UNCAC to facilitate mutual legal assistance, extradition, asset recovery, and other forms of international cooperation relating to the fight against corruption, by providing appropriate specialized training to criminal justice and other relevant officials;

Recognize the positive inter-relationship between global, regional, and sub-regional legal instruments against corruption and the need for appropriate financial and technical assistance for the implementation of these instruments in countries with limited resources;

Support emerging initiatives on the key issues identified above, including but not limited to the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (STAR) and other efforts to promote implementation of Chapter V of the UNCAC, such as the planned International Anticorruption Academy, calling for it to make implementation of the UNCAC a top priority and encouraging innovative curriculums such as pragmatic workshops on combating kleptocracy and asset recovery;

Recommend that utmost vigilance be exercised by governments and their parliaments to ensure that national anti-corruption authorities or bodies have the necessary authority, resources and level of independence to properly exercise their functions;

Express concern over actions taken to threaten, harm, or undermine leaders and officials of these bodies, or illegitimately frustrate their work, as well as other governmental oversight officials, investigative journalists, civil society advocates, and other good governance reformers, and call for redoubled efforts to safeguard them from harm in carrying on their duties;

THE WAY FORWARD: GLOBAL PARTNERSHIPS

At the opening of the Global Forum VI in Doha, Qatar, His Royal Highness The Emir, stated: “To change or reform culture means to implant solid values that fight against corruption and nepotism, while consolidating transparency; it means to build institutions for the maintenance and reinforcement of the rule of law; it means to respect and safeguard basic human rights; it means also to broaden the scope for dialogue and open the way for sharing responsibilities. It is, therefore, not a culture for the few but for all; not for the governed alone but for the governor as well, under the principle of equality before the law….We consider this Forum as a platform for constructive dialogue between government decision-makers, academic experts, leaders of the private sector and representatives of the civil society. We view it as a nucleus of interaction, not only for enriching knowledge, but also for opening new horizons for more effective policies and practices so as to build new bridges and create new partnerships among peoples from different parts of the world, in order to help alleviate their suffering, narrowing existing technological and institutional gaps and thus contributing to a favourable environment for the requirements of sustained development. Hence, our insistence that sustained development be linked with sustainable governance. This means more transparency, more accountability and more integrity, all necessary ingredients required to foster a culture of rejection of corruption.”

Applaud the leadership and commitment exhibited by the governments of the United States, the Netherlands, Brazil, South Korea, South Africa and Qatar in hosting successive ministerials of the Global Forum;

Reaffirm our unity of effort to fight against corruption and to continue to collectively mobilize the international political will on this important issue, as well as our determination to continue to strengthen international cooperation;

Encourage continued vibrant global anticorruption networks to enhance our fight against corruption, such as, the IAACA, the OECD Working Group on Bribery, the OECD-ADB regional anticorruption initiative for Asia, the APEC Anticorruption and Transparency Task Force, the Inter-American Convention against Corruption Follow-up Mechanism (MESICIC), the AU Convention Against Corruption, the Council of Europe’s Group of the States Against Corruption (GRECO), the MENA Anti-Corruption and Integrity Network (ACINET), the OECD Anti-Corruption Network for Eastern Europe and Eurasia, and Transparency International; and recommend greater inter-regional cooperation and interaction between them;

Welcome the initiative of Thailand to act as host of the 14th International Anticorruption Conference (14th IACC) in Bangkok on November 10-13, 2010. We also acknowledge the important work of the International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC), first held in 1983, in bringing together civil society, government and business from around the world to find effective solutions for responsible governance and tackling corruption. The Global Forum has long recognized the value of partnering with civil society and the private sector in the common effort to prevent and combat corruption and promote the full implementation of UNCAC. In this light, we also support the inclusion of a high-level “Community of Nations” segment in the IACC as a useful platform for government officials to continue their engagement with civil society and the private sector;

Agree on the central and prominent place occupied by the UNCAC as the principal global instrument to fight corruption and support the processes related to the Conference of State Parties;

Finally, we are satisfied that the mandate of the UNCAC fully reflects and extends the objectives of the Global Forum on Fighting Corruption and Safeguarding Integrity and – trusting that it is in the best interest of economy and efficiency – that henceforth its spirit be integrated into the framework provided by the COSP, IACC and other important global anticorruption initiatives, we decide – with great appreciation for the work accomplished – to bring to an end the Global Forum series with the successful conclusion of Global ForumVI, at Doha, Qatar, on 8 November 2009. We also decide to endorse all of its recommendations, which are contained in the Annex, for submission to the Third Session Conference of the States Parties, along with this final statement.


Doha
8 November 2009


ANNEX – DOHA RECOMMENDATIONS

Plenary Sessions

Roundtable 1. The Fundamentals of Deterrence: Raising the Risk and Combating Impunity

Roundtable 2. Creating and Maintaining a Culture of Integrity

Roundtable 3. Public-Private Partnerships in Procurement: Leveling the Playing Field

Roundtable 4. Public-Private Partnerships for Institution-Building against Corruption

Roundtable 5. Bridging the Public and Private Sectors’ Efforts for Reform

Roundtable 6. Global Finance Crisis and Corruption

Youth Forum



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