Secretary Clinton Marks International Anti-Corruption Day with Video Address to OECD Conference

Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
December 9, 2009

Urges New Steps to Curb Bribery and Improve Enforcement

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton marked International Anti-Corruption Day with a video address to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). She praised global efforts to curb corruption, including the 10-year old OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, and called for new measures to help governments provide effective enforcement mechanisms and help businesses develop robust internal controls and compliance provisions. Anti-corruption is a tenet of U.S. foreign policy because corrupt practices sabotage development efforts, lead to misuse of public resources, erode confidence in democratic institutions, and ease the way for transnational criminal and illicit networks and terrorists.

To watch Secretary Clinton’s video remarks, click here. To read a transcript of her remarks, click here.

Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria also spoke.

International Anti-Corruption Day commemorates the 2003 opening of the United Nations Convention against Corruption for signature. The Convention represents the first globally-applicable and comprehensive set of anticorruption commitments. Over 140 governments, including the United States, have become parties to the Convention, committing themselves to pursuing a wide range of measures, including criminalization, preventive measures, and the recovery of looted assets. Two weeks ago in Qatar, the United States worked with the other parties to adopt a mechanism to review implementation of the Convention that will spur reform at the country level and help combat both domestic corruption and transnational bribery.

The U.N. Convention complements the OECD’s Anti-Bribery Convention, which marks its 10th anniversary today. The Anti-Bribery Convention targets transnational bribery in the conduct of business, which robs our citizens of economic growth, democratic accountability, and the provision of essential public services. These conventions, along with other important treaties, create binding obligations on the parties to tackle corruption through criminal enforcement, international cooperation, and preventive measures. They are establishing the principle at a global level that corruption is not permissible and are creating the road map for reform.

The United States has strongly promoted anticorruption reform through bilateral diplomacy, multilateral engagement, and technical assistance. This includes support for the fullest possible implementation and enforcement of the U.N. and OECD Conventions, and other multilateral frameworks to address corruption. The United States has also worked to build consensus to deny safe haven to kleptocrats around the world, to bar their illicitly-acquired assets, and to give notice that continued theft from the poorest will not be tolerated.

PRN: 2009/1251