From Advocacy to In-country Action
To prevent corruption and create a level playing field, the government leaders at the Anti-corruption Summit are right to focus on compliance, enforcement, money laundering, tax avoidance and transparency. At the same time, to have a significant and lasting impact in countries facing corruption challenges, this regulatory emphasis needs to be combined with equally essential collective action at local level in each country.
Basic understanding and experience of compliance and anti-corruption principles, techniques and tools in many countries is patchy, dialogue between business, government and other stakeholders is weak and experience in collective action is very limited. Indeed, most countries simply do not have organisations to catalyse and coordinate implementation of anti-corruption best practices and, even in those that do, the organisations tend to be weak in capacity, funding and reach. Nor do many countries have a culture of integrity, which takes a long time to build. There are, of course, several successful local projects but these are fragmented, uncoordinated and insufficient.
The urgent requirement is for a new initiative, in which leading governments, with the active support of international and local business and other stakeholders, catalyse the setting up of an interconnected network of independent and properly funded Anti-Corruption Action Centres (ACACs).
ACACs may vary from country to country, but should include the following common functions:
Act as an enabler, facilitator and convenor of companies, governments and civil society to develop and manage joint practical projects (e.g. implementation of G20/B20 recommendations on public procurement, customs, beneficial ownership), and introduce codes of conduct, integrity pacts and other examples of collective action that will have a measurable, positive impact on sustainable economic growth.
Provide a neutral forum for the open exchange of knowledge and experience in anti-corruption and compliance policies, management techniques and tools between companies.
Develop practical, experience-based business ethics and compliance training programmes for business and law schools, corporate training centres, government agencies and state-owned enterprises, including anti-corruption toolkits for government officials, corporates and SMEs.
Our specific proposal is the development of an initial network of fully operational ACACs in 25-30 countries by 2020, starting with 4-5 pilots in 2016. This could be part of the announcement of follow-up actions at the Summit.
Using its experience in setting up ACACs and arranging collective action projects, IBLF Global can contribute to catalysing this programme.