Transparency International marked the 20th anniversary of its founding today with a one-day conference and Integrity Awards ceremony, focusing on the road ahead in the global fight against corruption.
In 1993, Peter Eigen and several dozen global dignitaries laid the cornerstone in the fight against corruption with the creation of Transparency International at a conference in Berlin.
Twenty years later, leaders from international organisations, the private sector and civil society around the world joined together in Berlin to look ahead to the next 20 years of fighting corruption. Sharing past experiences, they focused on future efforts to ensure accountability and transparency on a global scale.
“Our work on defeating corruption and stopping those who get away with repeatedly abusing power, putting together secret deals and bribery remains crucial today,” said Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International. “The last 20 years have seen huge progress, but until we have corruption and its facilitators on the run, our work will not be done.”
The conference was followed by the Integrity Awards ceremony. Transparency International created the awards to recognise the courage and determination of the many individuals and organisations confronting corruption around the world, often at great personal risk. Since being launched in 2000, the awards have honoured journalists, government officials and civil society leaders, all united by a shared belief: corruption can be challenged.
Winners this year include Chinese journalist Luo Changping who, while working in a difficult environment, summoned the courage to expose corruption via his personal blog. Our second winner, Angolan journalist and human rights activist Rafael Marques de Morais, was imprisoned in 1999 after denouncing his government for corruption and embezzlement in a newspaper article. Both hold their governments to account and both do so with tremendous courage and tenacity.
Since 1993, the dialogue around corruption has led to concrete action. Two international conventions have been ratified, the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and the UN Convention against Corruption. In addition, several regional conventions focus on bringing an end to foreign bribery and corruption.
On a national level, our chapters in 107 countries have successfully lobbied for access to information laws, whistleblower protections and other good governance reforms. The Movement has grown too; legal advice centres offering free advice to victims of corruption have received over 150,000 complaints in more than 60 countries.
The fight against corruption has come a long way in 20 years, but the need for greater transparency and accountability is as timely now as it was in 1993.
While continuing to guide businesses and government towards greater transparency, renewed focus is being given to the role of individuals in holding those in power to account. As the world around us grows and develops, so must the ways in which we seek to tackle corruption. With the rise in social media and the technological advancements of the past decade, people can be more engaged than ever before in the fight against corruption.