Today -- and every day -- we celebrate the work of activists, businesses, and government officials who tirelessly fight to end corruption and promote open and transparent government. From a fruit vendor in Tunisia who inspired a popular uprising, to the daily work of activists from Latin America to Asia, people around the world are showing that they will not accept the corruption that prevents too many from living with dignity and having opportunities to realize their potential.
2011 marked significant events in the global fight against corruption. In May, at the 50th Ministerial of the OECD, we focused on ways to use the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and other tools to reduce corruption—fostering global economic growth while ensuring a level playing field for businesses that play by the rules. In September, President Obama and partner nations from around the globe launched the Open Government Partnership (OGP), a program that supports national efforts to promote transparency, fight corruption, and empower citizens. At the State Department and USAID, we launched a new initiative called Domestic Finance for Development that will help developing countries create reforms in tax administration, budgetary transparency and anticorruption to attract private investment, create jobs, and reduce poverty. And in the G20, the U.S. worked tirelessly with the largest emerging economies to create concrete, practical anticorruption commitments.
International Anticorruption Day commemorates the 2003 opening of the UN Convention against Corruption for signature. Since that time, 158 governments have joined, making commitments to prevent corruption, criminalize corrupt acts, and help recover stolen assets. This year, the United States and other countries completed the first-ever reviews to monitor implementation of the convention.
The events of this past year have reminded us of the difference that ordinary citizens can make. We must continue to draw from their inspiration and stand up for the rights of those who don't have the opportunity to realize her or his potential. We must strengthen our own commitment as we fight corruption around the world.