The UK’s first Anti-Corruption Summit took place in London yesterday and was attended by representatives from more than 40 countries. John Kerry, US Secretary of State, Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari, representatives from Bermuda and the Cayman Islands were present; however there were no representatives from British Virgin Islands or Panama. In the opening remarks, Cameron, who is positioning himself as a champion against corruption stated that it is “one of the greatest enemies of progress in our time” and the “cancer at the heart of so many of the world’s problems.”The day long event covered a number of topics and issues including corruption within the sports industry, the importance of business transparency, why we should be encouraging whistleblowers as well as penalising offenders. The main takeaway from the summit was that there needs to be a global partnership between countries in order to tackle and put an end to corruption.Many attendees and speakers gave their opinion and analysis on the current corruption issues facing their local economies and presented plausible solutions for tackling corruption. John Kerry, US Secretary of State, stated that “corruption tears at the entire fabric of society.” He went on to speak about how shocked he is at the extent of worldwide corruption since taking his place within the Obama administration.
One issue which was dealt with in great detail was the importance of transparency within business. In Norway, transparency is, and has always been at the core of how they operate to battle corruption. For example, since 1863 they have made taxpayers details publicly available. Oil and Gas, along with other natural resource industries have been typically associated with being high risk to work with. Norway has a strict rule for transparency in procurement and licensing processes within these industries. However, Isha Johansen, president of the Sierra Leone Football Association had a valid point regarding transparency within developing countries. The definition of corruption varies depending on location, so people in countries where there aren’t rigid structures in place can not benefit from transparency because they're not aware that they’re breaking the rules.One significant outcome of the event was that the participants signed a commitment to agree to “expose corruption wherever it is found, to pursue and punish those who perpetrate, facilitate or are complicit in it, to support the communities who have suffered from it, and to ensure it does not fester in our government institutions, businesses and communities.” They also agreed to end the misuse of anonymous companies to hide income.Chief minister of the Isle of Man, Allan Bell commented on what he described as ‘the elephant in the room’ - the US. Bell went on to say that America needs to be a leader when it comes to tackling corruption and that it’s not enough to single out small jurisdictions anymore. The US needs to do a lot more in order to give other countries confidence when it comes fighting corruption. He strongly suggested that “we need actions not fine words.”It’s no secret that the Anti-Corruption Summit was a long overdue event, especially with the recent Panama Papers leak. Now, more than ever it’s imperative for influential members to bring corruption issues to the table and find a way to work together to build a beneficial global anti-corruption strategy.
We’re discussing more of what was explored in yesterday's Anti-Corruption Summit over on our Arachnys Discuss forum. Join the conversation now.