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Declaration of the OAS General Secretariat on the International Anti-Corruption Day

  December 9, 2023

On this International Anti-Corruption Day we reaffirm the importance of fighting against this scourge. Corruption not only negatively impacts the economic growth and social development of our countries, but also erodes the rule of law and undermines democratic governance.

At the OAS we understand that the fight against corruption is everyone's task. Of course, public institutions have the greatest weight and responsibility, but each sector, each citizen, has a role to play. That is why it is necessary to continue articulating efforts with civil society, private companies, academia, young people, and women.

The fight against corruption is equally essential to ensure a level playing field in both the business and public spheres. Corruption distorts competition, favoring those with improper connections rather than rewarding innovation and efficiency. By eradicating corrupt practices, we foster healthier and more sustainable business environments, where meritocracy and ethics prevail. More broadly, by fighting corruption we lay the foundation for communities that are more just, inclusive and capable of facing global challenges with greater integrity.

Robust legal frameworks and strong, effective institutions are essential to prevent and combat corruption. The laws not only establish illegal conduct, but also provide consequences and sanctions for those who violate them. Simultaneously, strong institutions are essential for the effective application of anti-corruption regulations and public policies.

At the OAS we support our States to strengthen their legal frameworks and institutions with the purpose of preventing, detecting, punishing and eradicating corruption. We were pioneers in adopting the first Convention, with a comprehensive approach to the matter, today in force in 34 States of the Region.

Our Organization was also a pioneer in establishing the Follow-up Mechanism for the implementation of our Convention by the States, known by its acronym as the MESICIC. We have developed international legal cooperation tools, among which are model laws related to declarations of assets and interests; legislative guides on the matters referred to in the Convention; and indicators to measure the results of the States, as well as tools for the investigation and effective prosecution of corruption crimes and effective protection of whistleblowers and witnesses.

Its Committee of Experts has adopted 13 country reports with specific evaluations and recommendations, always working with a comprehensive approach of prevention, identification and sanction. With that same purpose, in the last two years, member states have shared 149 best practices to prevent or investigate, prosecute and punish corruption.

For all of these reasons, the fight against corruption is at the center of our efforts. Ethics in public and private action, integrity in the management of common affairs, are fundamental as a lighthouse and guide, and are the only way to achieve the purpose of dignity that we summarize as “more rights for more people.”

Reference: E-083/23