Rebuilding trust in governments, businesses crucial in stemming corruption – OECD

Dr Angel Gurria, Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has identified re-building public trust in governments and businesses through greater integrity and accountability as a key pillar of the framework for action on inclusive growth, as crucial in stemming corruption in the public space.

This is why the anti-corruption fight is critical for the productivity-inclusive nexus, she says, indicating it is also at the core of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 16).

Dr Gurria made these statements on live stream monitored during the 6th Global Anti-Corruption and Integrity Forum in Paris on March 28, under the theme, “Planet Integrity: Building a Fairer Society.”

It was organised by the OECD and supported by the United Kingdom government, partners from business and civil society, OECD’s Business and Industrial Advisory Council (BIAC).

Others were, Transparency International, the Business for Social Responsibility, the Centre for Public Impact and the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI).

She said integrity cultivates a level playing field of business; it helps to reduce socio-economic inequalities and makes public policies more effective.

To achieve this, Dr Gurria says “We need to invest in people throughout the life-cycle by improving education and skills, ensuring access to quality universal healthcare and providing adequate social safety nets.”

The Secretary-General said bringing human dimension to the core of integrity is also about embracing new approaches to understanding and combating corruption.

“Corruption is often a faceless and borderless crime. Illicit financial flows, cyber-crimes and human trafficking are the ‘dark’ side of globalisation.”

She said “Tackling this must be a global priority, particularly, in 2018, as we seek to refound multilaterism. Corruption is a moving target and we have to ensure we constantly update our instruments and remain useful as a multilateral form to promote integrity.”

Dr Gurria said integrity, transparency and the fight against corruption have to be part of the culture, and taught as fundamental values.

Ms. Delia Matilde Ferreira Rubio, Chair of Transparency International said the formula for fighting corruption includes more information and integrity as well as less impunity and indifference.

“One thing they keep on hearing from politicians that they are committed to fighting against corruption. My impression is that they are aware of what corruption means but not so much aware of what commitment means.”

She said “Politicians are aware of the meaning of corruption, but they are not aware of the meaning of commitment. Commitment is not just a speech – commitment is working hard in order to produce change.”

Norwegian Prime Minister, Erna Solberg stresses the importance of transparency even if it slows down democratic processes, saying that transparency helps promote equality.

“We need to improve the governance of globalisation and its role in curbing corruption and unethical practices in areas such as trade, competition, infrastructure, development cooperation and revenue collection.”

By Maxwell Awumah

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