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On International Anti-Corruption Day, the Organization of American States (OAS) can be proud that in this area, the OAS was a pioneer when it adopted the first treaty on the subject, the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, in 1996. Since then we have opened up paths into previously unchartered territory, and today it is safe to say that we remain at the forefront of real and effective cooperation against this problem.
Now, we have not only the Convention, which is the most ratified of all the inter-American treaties, with the exception of the original OAS Charter; but we also have the Follow-up Mechanism for its Implementation (the MESICIC), a mechanism for evaluation and reciprocal cooperation among States, with extensive civil society participation, and which is fostering practical cooperation among all of its States Parties, regardless of their governments' ideological orientation, and producing concrete results.
From the outset, the States, within the framework of the OAS, have been aware that corruption is a thief that steals from us all and that to combat it, isolated actions would not suffice. Rather it would require a systematic and permanent process of cooperation among all of us who, in one way or another, are victims of it: states, civil society, and the international community.
Today, thanks to the peer evaluation process undertaken in the MESICIC, we have close to 100 country reports at our disposal, which contain diagnostic assessments and detailed recommendations regarding specific aspects of countries' institutions and legal frameworks that need improving. We also have hemispheric reports on the situation in the region and a very complete set of technical and legal cooperation tools, ranging from national action plans, model laws, and training programs, to networks and other instruments for technological support.
The importance and seriousness that states attach to cooperation against corruption in the MESICIC framework is evidenced, inter alia, by the fact that they committed (and are making good on their commitment) to report on progress made with their implementation of the recommendations formulated to them and for the MESICIC to pronounce on whether it considers that progress sufficient or whether further steps are needed. This has been made more apparent with the qualitative leap represented by the States' recent decisions to allow on-site visits as part of the MESICIC evaluation process and to allow the corresponding commissions to interview representatives of the public, private, and civil society sectors.
Thus far, successful on-site visits have been carried out in 19 countries: Brazil, El Salvador, Mexico, Bolivia, Paraguay, Peru, Costa Rica, Argentina, Trinidad and Tobago, Honduras, Panama, Chile, Uruguay, Colombia, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Canada, Ecuador, and Guyana.
The Second Hemispheric Progress Report, recently published by the MESICIC, lists 748 actions reported by States in their two most recent annual progress reports, regarding implementation of the Convention and the recommendations formulated to them by the MESICIC.
We know that we have taken important and effective steps toward hemispheric cooperation against corruption, but we are well aware that our collective efforts in this field still need further consolidation. The fight against corruption in the Americas is a road we have embarked upon with no going back: one that will allow us to strengthen democracy and the Rule of Law and create the necessary conditions for economic growth and the social development of our peoples.
Edition N° 157 - Dec. 2013
The Mechanism For Follow-up on the
Implementation of the Inter-American
Convention against Corruption, known as MESICIC for its Spanish acronym, is a tool to
support the development of the Inter-American
Convention against Corruption through
cooperation between States Parties.
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