Transparency International (TI) released its ninth annual progress report on the enforcement of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention Tuesday.
The report presents an independent assessment on the status of enforcement in all of the 40 Parties to the Convention. There are four countries (United States, Germany, United Kingdom, and Switzerland) in the active enforcement category and another four (Italy, Australia, Austria, and Finland) in the moderate enforcement category.
However, in half of the Convention countries there is little or no enforcement against bribery of foreign officials and in another ten countries there is limited enforcement. According to TI, for the Convention to reach the tipping point, there needs to be active enforcement in countries with over half of the world’s exports. The Convention depends on the collective commitment by all parties and a lack of consistent enforcement may endanger the success of the Convention.
The enforcement status as described in this report differs considerably from that of the 2012 report. This results primarily from changes in methodology which now classifies countries based on the enforcement activities in the past four years, and not cumulative totals since adoption of the Convention. Further, the prior moderate enforcement category has been divided in two by adding a new limited enforcement category to provide better differentiation between levels of enforcement.
While the overall level of enforcement is inadequate, there has been some progress. Notably, Russia and Colombia have acceded to the Convention. There has also been legislative reform in countries such as Brazil and Canada. Building the momentum needed for enforcement, however, takes time. Improving enforcement is important to tackle bribery and corruption to ensure that development goals in countries where bribes are paid are not undermined and also so that the market opportunities for honest businesses are not reduced.
TI’s report also includes recommendations to improve enforcement such as: building political support by increased high-level advocacy with government leaders in the lagging countries with support of the OECD Secretary General; provision of adequate funding and staffing for enforcement activities; reviewing sanctions to ensure that they are effective, proportionate, and dissuasive; and encouraging G20 countries such as China, India, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia to join to the Convention.
Read the executive summary or download the full report here.
Shruti Shah is a contributing editor of the FCPA Blog. She’s a Senior Policy Director at Transparency International-USA, responsible for the promotion of TI-USA’s anti-corruption law and regulation policy agenda. She can be contacted here.