More than two-thirds of the promises made by states and organizations to fight corruption at the May 2016 London Anti-Corruption Summit are now either complete or have seen progress, according to a report by Transparency International.
Forty-three countries and six international organizations made a total of 648 promises. These ranged from introducing strong anti-corruption legislations to returning stolen assets and outlawing secret companies.
Transparency International looked at 453 commitments from countries and multilateral organizations to find out what progress has been made.
Leaders at the summit pledged to revisit progress at the UN General Assembly in 2017 and Transparency International has launched an online pledge tracker and report that shows where we are and what more needs to be done.
Spain has proved the most successful having fully completed 74 per cent of its 27 commitments.
Indonesia is best performer
Indonesia was the best performer of the sample, with 84 per cent of its commitments completed and the remainder ongoing. However, only 13 per cent of Indonesia’s commitments were new.
All of Indonesia’s six ambitious commitments have been completed. Indonesia has strengthened its whistleblower systems to protect those who have provided information on corruption, as well as strengthening its central databases of public contracting companies with final convictions.
All of China’s commitments are ongoing. On asset recovery, China pledged to adopt more flexible approaches through domestic legislation for recovery of the proceeds of corruption, including mutually recognition and enforcement of non-conviction based forfeiture orders.
But three major financial centers – the US, Switzerland and Japan – where the corrupt are known to try to launder their illicit wealth have unfulfilled pledges. Switzerland has not started to address three quarters of the promises it made, many relating to the recovery of stolen assets.
The US has completed just 10 per cent of its commitments and Japan has completed none.
“The 2016 Summit was a good day in the fight against corruption because so many countries came together with a common cause – fighting corruption. It is pleasing to see serious progress has been made. But more needs to be done. For a start, major financial centers must take action to find and repatriate stolen assets and to stop the corrupt laundering illicit wealth,” says José Ugaz, chair of Transparency International.
Despite hosting the Summit, the UK has missed its own deadline on three commitments, although over one third of the 16 pledges have now been completed.
Most common theme
The most common theme that states made promises on was beneficial ownership, with the Panama Papers underlining the role of anonymous companies in global corruption. However, just 13 per cent of all commitments made in this area have been completed.
There has been more progress on tax transparency, with 30 per cent of pledges made in this area complete. Likewise, on the protection of whistle-blowers, 36 per cent of promises are complete.
“Today we are presenting our findings in New York ahead of the UN General Assembly to underscore that it is possible to track anti-corruption commitments and it is possible to complete them. We know corruption is at the root of many of the world’s ills including conflict and inequality. Fighting corruption is the best pathway to ensure a prosperous and peaceful future and we are calling on the countries represented here to recommit to living up to their anti-corruption commitments,” said Ugaz.