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Leaders' Statement

Gretta Fenner

Managing Director

Basel Institute on Governance

Switzerland, Europe


Gretta is the Managing Director of the Basel Institute on Governance, an international not-for-profit organization that works with public and private sectors to counter corruption and improve governance. It is home to the International Centre for Asset Recovery and the B20 Collective Action Hub.


We need action, not statements

There’s truly no need to discuss why corruption is bad and wrong. Although the topic has only risen to global prominence some twenty-five years ago, we have since extensively observed and described its dramatic consequences on people’s welfare, on economic development, and on political stability and peace.

Wherever we see people suffering – whether they are dying from a fire in a garment factory, from terror attacks or from lack of access to health; whether they seek solutions in radicalization or drugs because of lack of opportunity and education; whether they are displaced because of environmental changes – corruption is too often part of, if not the primary cause for this despair. We know what it takes to eradicate corruption. Conventions have been signed, guidelines, good practices and principles have been endorsed, studies on corruption and anti-corruption are abundant. Why are we not seeing any progress? Because we have too many statements and not enough action. Because we have words, but real leadership is lacking.

End impunity by genuinely enabling law enforcement and the judiciary to prosecute large-scale financial crime and recover stolen assets, by ensuring that these agencies are able to operate free from any political or other undue influence; and ensuring that foreign, trade and business considerations never trump over anti-corruption measures.

Prevent corruption and provide a level playing field by implementing full transparency in government and business activities, without hiding behind the excuses of national or corporate security; and decisively enabling governments and business stakeholders to act collectively, without prejudice to political or business considerations.

Empower and support citizens by ensuring freedom of opinion and speech so that journalists and citizens can fully exercise their decisive role in revealing and reporting on corruption; and protecting individuals and organisations so that they may act decisively against corruption without fear of personal or institutional repercussions.

On our end, the Basel Institute on Governance will continue to work with law enforcement around the world to effectively investigate and prosecute corruption, and to foster effective international collaboration to make sure national boundaries no longer protect the corrupt. And we will continue to bring together governments, businesses and citizens when they are willing to genuinely work together and overcome entrenched mistrust. In all this, our focus will be on intelligent and meaningful action.

More statements

We are grateful to all the authors and contributing organisations within this Manifesto and to the partner organisations that helped to convene this landmark collection of anti-corruption statements from across a wide range of business and civil society leaders. The partners for the Leaders' Anti-Corruption Manifesto are The B Team, Thomson Reuters, the Global Organisation of Parliamentarians Against Corruption, the ONE campaign and the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council

This project is supported by a grant from the Omidyar Network.

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