International anti-corruption initiatives

This section provides information on and links to international anti-corruption initiatives and agreements.

UN Convention against Corruption

The United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) was adopted in October 2003 and came into force in 2005. By December 2015, it had been ratified by 178 countries and the European Union.

Germany signed the Convention in December 2003 and ratified it in November 2014.

OECD Anti-Bribery Convention

At the end of 1997, the member states of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) signed the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. Apart from the 34 OECD states, seven other countries (Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Columbia, Latvia, Russia and South Africa) have signed and ratified the Convention.

Regional OECD initiatives

Other regional initiatives

Paris, Accra and Busan commitments to transparency

In the 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, donor and recipient countries made a commitment to transparency and accountability. This agreement was reinforced and extended in the Accra Agenda for Action 2008.

In the 2011 Busan Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation outcome document, the participants called for a culture of zero tolerance towards all forms of corruption (Article 33). To ensure transparency in governmental development cooperation, all information concerning financing, contractual terms and results is to be published (Article 23a).

World Bank Anti-Corruption Strategy

In 2007, the World Bank adopted a Governance and Anti-Corruption Strategy, which was then updated in 2012. The strategy is intended to tighten the monitoring of cash flows in all of the bank’s projects and loan programmes.

Group of Seven (G7) and Group of Twenty (G20)

The Group of Seven (G7) sees tackling corruption as being one of its most important tasks. In the words of the final declaration of the G7 Summit held in Elmau in 2015, "We recognize the importance of beneficial ownership transparency for combating tax evasion, corruption and other activities generating illicit flows of finance and commit to providing updates on the implementation of our national action plans."

Anti-corruption measures are also part of the G20’s agenda. At the group’s 2010 Toronto Summit, it adopted a declaration that stresses corruption’s destructive impact on the world’s economy and on development cooperation. An anti-corruption working group was also set up. Its work is based on the G20 Anti-Corruption Action Plan, which is revised every two years.

Initiatives in Europe

The European Union has adopted a range of anti-corruption treaties and protocols. In addition, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) also deals with corruption in the context of corporate crime.

In 1999, the Council of Europe founded the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO). The group uses a peer-assessment process to determine the extent to which its member states respect and comply with the Council’s anti-corruption standards.

U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre

The U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre helps development cooperation organisations incorporate anti-corruption measures into their work on the ground and promote appropriate strategies in their partner countries. Currently, organisations from nine donor countries use U4’s services, which include the centre’s own applied research and a web-based dialogue and knowledge platform.

Germany was a co-founder of the centre in 2002 and chaired the donor group in 2010 and 2011. The BMZ played a significant role in the drafting of the U4 2012–2016 Strategy and is represented on the donors’ steering committee.

Anti-corruption – a principle of the Global Compact

In 1999, the then Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, set up a worldwide alliance between the United Nations and business. Known as the "Global Compact", it is intended to put a "social face" on the globalisation process. One of its principles states that, "businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery".

Alliance for Integrity

The Alliance for Integrity (AfIn) was established in order to encourage compliance with rules in the private sector. It is a collective action initiative uniting like-minded players with a view to preventing corruption and strengthening transparency and integrity in the private sector.

The Alliance is supported by national and multinational companies, business associations, governmental and civil society institutions, and international organisations.

It fosters exchange among businesses and between the public and private sectors, it supports activities to raise awareness of integrity issues, and it carries out compliance and anti-corruption training in partner countries, thus making an important contribution towards a corruption-free business sphere.

Other initiatives

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
Working with the UNODC, Germany supports its partner countries in their implementation of the UN Convention against Corruption.

Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative
This initiative, founded by the World Bank and the UNODC, works to counter corruption and money laundering and helps developing countries recover assets lost to corruption.

Judicial Integrity Group (JIG): Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct
The JIG consists of chief justices and supreme court judges from around the world. With the help of GIZ, the group has drawn up a set of principles of judicial conduct, including an explanatory note as an aid to states looking to implement them.

OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
The OECD Guidelines give recommendations on how to conduct business responsibly and lawfully in other countries. They are not legally binding. More information is available here.

Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)
The aim behind the EITI is for extractive industry firms to disclose the payments they make to developing countries in order to prevent this money being misused.

Water Integrity Network
The Water Integrity Network was established in 2000, the aim being to combat corruption in the water sector. The network is intended to bring together governments, non-governmental organisations and private business in order to develop anti-corruption tools specifically for the water supply and waste water disposal sector.

Global Financial Integrity (GFI)
This network sets out to combat illicit financial flows. It produces studies on the topic and uses them to develop recommendations for international financial policies.

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