G7 Ministers’ Statement on the UN General Assembly Special Session Against Corruption

The text of the fol­low­ing state­ment was released by the G7 min­is­ters of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, and the High Representative of the European Union.

Begin Text:

We, the G7 Ministersrec­og­nize that cor­rup­tion is a press­ing glob­al chal­lenge. As the UN Convention against Corruption notes, cor­rup­tion threat­ens the sta­bil­i­ty and secu­ri­ty of soci­eties, under­min­ing the insti­tu­tions and val­ues of democ­ra­cy, eth­i­cal val­ues and jus­tice, and jeop­ar­diz­ing sus­tain­able devel­op­ment and the rule of law. Corruption presents seri­ous threats for indi­vid­u­als and soci­eties and often enables oth­er forms of crime, includ­ing orga­nized crime and eco­nom­ic crime, includ­ing mon­ey laun­der­ing. These threats have been height­ened by COVID-19. As the world con­tin­ues to recov­er, it is crit­i­cal that we do not let cor­rup­tion threat­en our efforts to build back bet­ter and address glob­al chal­lenges espe­cial­ly the achieve­ment of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

We are look­ing for­ward to the G7 min­is­te­r­i­al meet­ing in September this year, where there will be a dis­cus­sion on our joint efforts to address corruption.

Corruption is a chal­lenge faced by all coun­tries. Its effects are felt at local, nation­al, and glob­al lev­els and it is our com­mon and shared respon­si­bil­i­ty to take action. We as the G7 stand up for an open soci­ety, with a strong civ­il soci­ety and free media. We are con­vinced that these actors are cru­cial in pre­vent­ing and com­bat­ting cor­rup­tion. Thus, it is our goal to acknowl­edge the role of civ­il soci­ety and free media and to pro­mote their free­dom and pro­tec­tion in the UNGASS dec­la­ra­tion. We recog­nise that progress will catal­yse pros­per­i­ty, secu­ri­ty and development.

G7 Foreign Ministers com­mit­ted to work col­lec­tive­ly to strength­en the foun­da­tions of open soci­eties and pro­tect against threats, includ­ing cor­rup­tion, and illic­it finance, and the clo­sure of civic space. In this regard, we reaf­firm the fun­da­men­tal role of the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) and its sup­port­ing bod­ies play in the glob­al fight against cor­rup­tion.  It is the only legal­ly bind­ing uni­ver­sal instru­ment on cor­rup­tion, nego­ti­at­ed on the basis of con­sen­sus. The Convention is the cor­ner­stone of our inter­na­tion­al anti-cor­rup­tion frame­work. It forms an inte­gral part of the inter­na­tion­al anti-cor­rup­tion archi­tec­ture which, when ful­ly and effec­tive­ly imple­ment­ed, will robust­ly com­bat corruption.

We ful­ly sup­port the aims of this Special Session of the General Assembly against cor­rup­tion to address chal­lenges and mea­sures to more effec­tive­ly pre­vent, detect, pros­e­cute, and pun­ish cor­rup­tion and strength­en inter­na­tion­al cooperation.

We wel­come the adop­tion of the action-ori­ent­ed polit­i­cal dec­la­ra­tion and com­mit to achiev­ing its aims. Given our inter­na­tion­al respon­si­bil­i­ties, we as the G7 recog­nise the need to enhance our efforts to pre­vent and com­bat cor­rup­tion by lead­ing by exam­ple. We must con­tin­ue to make real progress on this issue. We will ensure strong and effec­tive imple­men­ta­tion of UNGASS com­mit­ments.  To this end, we com­mit to:

  1. Prevention: As the G7, we will work to ensure there are strong mea­sures in place to pre­vent cor­rup­tion and oth­er forms of illic­it finance to pro­tect our finan­cial cen­tres and deny safe haven to the pro­ceeds of crime. We will sup­port oth­er coun­tries’ efforts to do the same, includ­ing anti-cor­rup­tion safe­guards and trans­paren­cy mech­a­nisms in the deliv­ery of human­i­tar­i­an aid to ensure that aid, required in times of nat­ur­al dis­as­ter and oth­er emer­gen­cies includ­ing the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic, reach­es intend­ed ben­e­fi­cia­ries. We also reaf­firm our com­mit­ment to putting in place mea­sures that pro­mote trans­paren­cy in the ben­e­fi­cial own­er­ship of legal enti­ties. We fur­ther com­mit to pro­mot­ing the effec­tive imple­men­ta­tion of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Standards, the glob­al stan­dard set­ter for com­bat­ting mon­ey laun­der­ing, ter­ror­ist financ­ing and pro­lif­er­a­tion finance.
  2. Transparency: Comprising many of the world’s most open soci­eties, we note that enhanc­ing trans­paren­cy ben­e­fits cit­i­zens and soci­eties and is the foun­da­tion on which effec­tive anti-cor­rup­tion efforts are built. As such, we reaf­firm our com­mit­ment to imple­ment­ing mea­sures that afford a high degree of trans­paren­cy in gov­er­nance, includ­ing mea­sures to enhance trans­paren­cy in pub­lic pro­cure­ment, and sup­ply chain trans­paren­cy in the pri­vate sec­tor. Consistent with our legal oblig­a­tions, we will pro­tect and pro­mote access to infor­ma­tion for all cit­i­zens, includ­ing civ­il soci­ety organ­i­sa­tions, media and journalists.
  3. Law Enforcement Cooperation/Criminalization:
  4. Foreign bribery: As major cen­tres of pri­vate enter­prise, we com­mit to active­ly enforc­ing our domes­tic and for­eign bribery laws and ensur­ing effec­tive imple­men­ta­tion of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and we urge all G20 coun­tries to do the same.  We rec­og­nize the pos­i­tive impact that incen­tiviz­ing robust pri­vate sec­tor cor­po­rate com­pli­ance can have on the goal of effec­tive­ly pre­vent­ing cor­rup­tion. We also recog­nise the cor­ro­sive effect of bribe solic­i­ta­tion and call for greater pre­ven­tive action includ­ing aware­ness rais­ing and training.
  5. Denial of Safe Haven: As some of our finan­cial cen­tres and indus­tries can attract cor­rupt actors and the pro­ceeds of crime, we com­mit to strength­en­ing inter­na­tion­al coop­er­a­tion to deny safe haven to cor­rupt indi­vid­u­als and their ill-got­ten gains, includ­ing through infor­ma­tion shar­ing, and the appro­pri­ate use of sanc­tions and visa restrictions.
  6. International Cooperation and Technical Assistance (TA):  As many of the world’s largest donors, we recog­nise the role of Official Development Assistance and com­mit to using our pro­grammes effi­cient­ly to build capac­i­ties and pro­vide time­ly, sus­tain­able, ade­quate and effec­tive tech­ni­cal assis­tance that meet needs. We call on our part­ner coun­tries to take a lead in the coor­di­na­tion of TA at coun­try lev­el, includ­ing by, pub­lish­ing needs iden­ti­fied by the imple­men­ta­tion review mech­a­nism, involv­ing all rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers and, main­stream­ing gen­der in analy­sis and the deliv­ery of programmes.
  7. Civil Society (includ­ing pro­tec­tion of jour­nal­ists and role of the media): We com­mit to cham­pi­oning the role of civ­il soci­ety and media free­dom as a vital part of uphold­ing democ­ra­cy and human rights around the world. We con­demn all attacks on those who work to expose cor­rup­tion, includ­ing jour­nal­ists, civ­il soci­ety and indi­vid­ual whis­tle-blow­ers, and com­mit to sup­port and pro­tect those who report and stand up against corruption.
  8. Asset Recovery:  As home to many of the world’s lead­ing finan­cial cen­tres and as recip­i­ents of some of the largest vol­umes of mutu­al legal assis­tance requests in the world, we renew our com­mit­ment to counter mon­ey laun­der­ing linked to for­eign cor­rup­tion and to effec­tive­ly recov­er pro­ceeds of crime, par­tic­u­lar­ly mon­ey laun­der­ing pro­ceeds. We fur­ther under­line the impor­tance of ensur­ing con­fis­cat­ed stolen assets, when returned, are returned in a trans­par­ent and account­able man­ner, with­in the frame­work of the UNCAC, that ulti­mate­ly ben­e­fits those harmed by cor­rup­tion. We will pro­mote and sup­port inter­na­tion­al co-oper­a­tion among rel­e­vant law enforce­ment agen­cies includ­ing in asset recovery.
  9. Rule of Law and Fundamental Freedoms: We recog­nise that the fight against cor­rup­tion must be based on respect for the rule of law, sup­port for demo­c­ra­t­ic gov­er­nance, fun­da­men­tal free­doms and human rights includ­ing due process rights of those accused of and sought for cor­rup­tion. Rule of law is an essen­tial com­po­nent to achieve sus­tain­abil­i­ty, to counter abus­es of pow­er and to fos­ter an envi­ron­ment need­ed to effec­tive­ly achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda.
  10. Implementation of anti-cor­rup­tion con­ven­tions and oth­er ini­tia­tives: As glob­al lead­ers in the fight against cor­rup­tion, we recog­nise the impor­tance of inter­na­tion­al and region­al con­ven­tions and oth­er ini­tia­tives to fight cor­rup­tion and empha­sise our indi­vid­ual and col­lec­tive respon­si­bil­i­ty to step up our efforts towards their effec­tive implementation.
  11. Commit to con­sult­ing civ­il soci­ety in our coun­try reviews and pro­mot­ing their inclu­sion as observers in sub­sidiary bod­ies of the UNCAC and Conference of States Parties.
  12. Call all coun­tries under review by UNCAC to pub­lish their full UNCAC coun­try reports and invite inputs from a wide range of stakeholders.
  13. Support UNODC to pre­pare a com­pre­hen­sive report on mem­ber state imple­men­ta­tion of UNCAC, after com­ple­tion of the cur­rent review phase, and report its find­ings to the COSP.
  14. Support the effec­tive imple­men­ta­tion of exist­ing region­al anti­cor­rup­tion frame­works and the FATF stan­dards, includ­ing their review mech­a­nisms for compliance.
  15. Urge those who have not rat­i­fied the UNCAC to join the 187 oth­er state par­ties who have done so.

We firm­ly reit­er­ate the impor­tance of strong and uni­fied lead­er­ship in address­ing cor­rup­tion. We look to forth­com­ing process­es in rel­e­vant fora with close coop­er­a­tion with oth­er stake­hold­ers such as, the US Summit for Democracy and the Open Government Partnership 10-year Anniversary Summit in South Korea and the UK pres­i­den­cy of the G7 to build on these com­mit­ments. We com­mit to work­ing with­in these forums, as well as through the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group, to con­tin­ue to dri­ve progress on this impor­tant agenda.

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