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Secretary General Insulza Highlighted Region’s Massive Support to the Convention against Corruption at the Opening of the Experts Committee’s Meeting held at OAS Headquarters

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, today underscored the great strength and massive support behind the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, during the opening of the 24th Meeting of the Committee of Experts of the follow-up on this international agreement held at the hemispheric institution’s headquarters in Washington, DC.

Secretary General Insulza said that the common interest in democratic governance and transparency, the desire to strengthen the rule of law in the region, the need for citizens to trust their governments and economies to thrive with clear rules led member countries to sign the Convention in 1996.

"The fact that to date, the Convention has been ratified by 33 of the 34 active OAS member states, which makes it the legal instrument most widely ratified in the Hemisphere after the Charter of the Organization, is another unequivocal indication of its importance for our countries," he added.

The OAS Secretary General said that the Mechanism for Follow-Up on the Implementation of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption (MESICIC) has also been strengthened through the support of new countries. "Suffice it to recall that when I took over the General Secretariat of the Organization in May 2005, this mechanism was made up of 28 states parties and today, with the integration of Haiti, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Antigua and Barbuda in 2012, the number has risen to 31," he asserted.

Since its inception, the Mechanism has been implemented in three rounds of review and the fourth is still in process. "During these rounds, important issues, such as the prevention of conflicts of interest; the obligation for public officials to report acts of corruption and for companies to establish internal controls to prevent bribery at the national and international levels; the participation of civil society and access to public information; public procurement processes; the criminalization of acts of corruption; and within the fourth round, the structure and functioning of oversight bodies responsible for the detection, investigation, prosecution and sanction of acts, were analyzed,” he recalled while noting that thus far the Committee of Experts has adopted 94 country reports.

Secretary General Insulza said that during his nine years as head of the OAS General Secretariat, states parties have benefited from plans of action to implement the recommendations made by the Committee and from two model laws adopted by the General Assembly of the Organization that served as the basis for the adoption of legislation in several countries in the region: the Model Law on the declaration of interests, income, assets and liabilities for those who perform public duties and the Model Law to facilitate and encourage the reporting of acts of corruption and to protect complainants and witnesses.

The MESICIC meeting, which will be held through Friday, September 12, plans to adopt the reports on Jamaica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Suriname, Belize and Haiti (for the first time). Secretary General Insulza underscored that “during this fourth round, on-site visits to states parties were conducted for the first time, and I commend once more the seriousness with which they have been received,” he added.

At another point in his speech, Secretary General Insulza expressed appreciation for the fact that the meeting of the Committee of Experts will continue the debate on the “collective interest regarding the responsibility of the private sector in preventing and combating corruption.” During the session on Thursday, 11, which will be Webcast here, presentations will be made by various institutions, among which the Center for Responsible Enterprise and Trade, the Fairfax Group, and the International Bar Association. Likewise, the distinguished delegation of Brazil will make a presentation on the “International Cooperation on Non-Criminal Matters in the Fight against Corruption,” and the World Bank will present “the Anti-Corruption Authorities (ACAs) Initiative.”

Secretary General Insulza reiterated the commitment of the OAS in the fight against corruption in the region and stressed that the Organization will continue to provide cooperation through its MESICIC’s Technical Secretariat. In addition, he called for the member states’ delegations to “take the necessary steps for their governments to make contributions” of a financial nature to MESICIC. He also thanked Canada and the United States for their contributions to the Mechanism from its inception, as well as other countries that have recently supported it, such as Brazil, Guatemala, Panama and Venezuela.

The 24th meeting of the MESICIC is chaired by Ecuador and, at the end of the session, it will elect its new authorities and adopt the reports on six Caribbean countries studied during this round of review.

The MESICIC is a cooperation mechanism between states, with wide participation of civil society organizations, established within the framework of the OAS, in which the legal and institutional framework of each country is reviewed for suitability with the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, as well as the objective results achieved therein. The incorporation of on-site visits, with the approval of the country host, as a stage and integral part of the review process represents an innovative and pioneering initiative in the context of the OAS, which, with the support of its Technical Secretariat, has further strengthened this reciprocal review mechanism among states.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

Source: OAS Press and Communications Department

For more information, please visit the Anti-corruption Portal of the Americas.

Edition N° 184 - September 2014

What is the MESICIC?

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.

Read more here




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