Building integrity at the World Economic Forum

Shared norms

The (WEF) holds its annual meeting from 26-30 January in Davos, where 2,500 leaders of government, business, media, academia and civil society discuss and look for solutions to pressing global challenges.

The theme of WEF 2011 is , and the challenge is to identify which shared norms should be prioritised. Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International (TI) and Cobus de Swardt, managing director of TI will be part of that discussion.

TI believes that integrity is exactly the “shared norm” with which global governance needs to be equipped in the 21st century.

The fight against corruption requires a shared commitment by governments and businesses to act with integrity.

Today, people have little faith in governments’ ability to fight rising corruption, according to TI’s 2010 Global Corruption Barometer. Future economic growth and political stability depend on restoring trust in global governance with a renewed shared commitment to integrity.

Integrity can become a “shared value” if world leaders lead by example and set the highest standard of accountability and transparency.

Civil society @ WEF

WEF has become one of the more influential and open forums attended by world leaders and opinion makers: ideas discussed here can lead to real action in both the public and private sectors.

This year there will be about 250 civil society organisations in Davos. These organisations are on the front line of the fight against inequality and poor governance, the greatest risks facing the planet, according to WEF’s , published in the run up to Davos.

WEF can give civil society a high profile platform to make its case, but civil society needs to be heard among the more than 1,400 business leaders, 35 heads of state or government, eight central bank chiefs, 35 international organisations and 200 academics.

TI will raise its voice at WEF about its approach to fighting poverty and improving governance: building a barrier against corruption with integrity.

Integrity in practice

Integrity has very practical meanings for TI:

There are also very practical ways for governments and businesses to commit to integrity.

International are global standards of integrity for all governments to live up to. Thirty-eight governments are party to the , 148 to the UN Convention against Corruption,

The same global frameworks exists for business in the shape of the and WEF , launched by WEF CEOs to develop a common language and commitment on corruption.

Leading by example

There will be heads of state or ministers from 19 of the Group of 20 leading world economies (G20) at WEF. The G20 has a leading role in global governance; in 2010 it committed to lead by example. Will its action speak louder than words?

The G20 accepts that the way out of the crisis involved . In November it announced an to curb illicit financial flows, eliminate tax havens and criminalise private sector foreign bribery and bring in whistleblower protection rules by the end of 2012.

TI welcomed this, but also called on the G20 to follow through on its anti-corruption commitments.


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