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Press Release


  June 25, 2008

Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General José Miguel Insulza has told a group of anti-corruption experts that preventing and combating the scourge of corruption calls for more transparency in public institutions.

Lack of citizen confidence is a major factor contributing to a weakening of institutions in member countries, Insulza noted. On the other hand, when institutions are managed with probity and in a transparent manner, not only does it tackle corruption but it also gives citizens a perception that there is transparency, and this builds confidence in institutions, the head of the OAS argued.

Secretary General Insulza made the remarks Wednesday while addressing anti-corruption experts from around the Americas, during the 13th Meeting of the Committee of Experts of the Mechanism for Follow-Up on Implementation of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption (MESICIC). The weeklong meeting at OAS headquarters in Washington opened on Monday.

Argentina’s delegate Nicolás Raigorodsky is chairing the meeting that is reviewing country reports on Canada, Guatemala, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the United States. The reviews involved evaluating the progress being made by the countries in their efforts to implement the provisions of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption—covering, among others, government hiring and procurement of goods and services as well as whistle blower protection.

According to the OAS Secretary General, MESICIC is the “perfect complement” to the decision by the states party to sign the hemispheric anti-corruption treaty. The Mechanism facilitates technical cooperation and sharing of information, experiences and best practices, as well as harmonization of laws among the participating states, Insulza stated.

Praising the Committee of Experts, the Secretary General described its work as “an invaluable contribution towards attaining one of the primary objectives of the OAS agenda”—consolidation of democratic governance in our member countries. As a result of the work undertaken by MESICIC, Member States now have specific recommendations concerning how to increase transparency in government by improving their legal systems and strengthening control agencies to function more effectively and with greater independence and objectivity while being accountable to society, the Secretary General emphasized.

He further explained that the OAS has been supporting efforts for modernize the public sector in the region via such initiatives as the Network of E-Government Leaders in Latin America and the Caribbean (Red Gealc) and the Inter-American Network for Government Procurement. The OAS has also been collaborating on state modernization, encouraging the use of new technologies and adoption of quality control systems in government.

Insulza said that in order to put concrete expression to the concept of democracy in action, democratically-elected leaders need not only the rule of law but also strong institutions with a supporting role in tackling the grave problems that continue to affect many of the citizens of our countries. In citing other OAS initiatives, he noted that over the last four years the organization has trained and certified nearly 4,000 public officials from Latin America and the Caribbean in how to apply new technologies in state modernization.

The experts wrap up their meeting on Friday after a final review and adoption of the six country reports of the MESICIC, which was created in 2001 to monitor compliance with the 1996 Inter-American Convention against Corruption.

Reference: E-250/08