Media Center

Press Release


  September 26, 2005

Experts in the fight against corruption today began a weeklong meeting at the Organization of American States (OAS) to consider and adopt reports on progress against corruption in five countries: Canada, Guatemala, Jamaica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and the United States.

When these reports are approved, the process of reviewing anti-corruption efforts will have been completed for 23 of the 28 countries that participate in the Mechanism for Follow-Up on the Implementation of the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption (known as MESICIC, by its Spanish acronym). Jamaica’s Solicitor General, Michael Hylton, is chairing the Eighth Meeting of the Committee of Experts of MESICIC, which ends on Saturday, October 1.

Enrique Lagos, who is in charge of the OAS Department of International Legal Affairs, said at the opening of the meeting that this process has produced concrete results in the implementation of the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption, adopted by the OAS member states in 1996. Through its analyses and recommendations, the Committee of Experts “provides guidance to the states parties which, within a framework of technical cooperation, seek to reach a common objective of combating corruption effectively,” said Lagos, who welcomed the delegates on behalf of OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza.

“The work that you have undertaken has reached the highest political levels at which the OAS member states have addressed the complex problem of corruption,” Lagos told the experts. He reminded them that at the Special Summit of the Americas, held in January 2004, the hemisphere’s leaders expressed their commitment to increase cooperation against corruption and to strengthen the follow-up mechanism.

Before the meeting formally began today, the anti-corruption experts met with civil society representatives from Canada, Guatemala and the United States, to hear their opinions and concerns. The Canadian and U.S. branches of Transparency International spoke on behalf of a number of nongovernmental organizations, while Acción Ciudadana de Guatemala (Citizen Action of Guatemala) spoke for civil society groups in that country.

In addition to analyzing the five national reports, this week the government experts will consider proposals to reform their rules and procedures with a view to further strengthening the MESICIC process.

The OAS Department of International Legal Affairs provides technical and administrative support to the process. Through a new project funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the OAS also offers countries technical support to carry out the MESICIC recommendations.

Reference: E-213/05