On the occasion of the VIII Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru, last week, IACA’s Dean and Executive Secretary, Mr. Martin Kreutner, urged senior parliamentarians from across the region to continue playing leadership roles in the collective fight against corruption.
Delivering the keynote address at the 3rd Gathering of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network (speech available for download below), Mr. Kreutner observed that anti-corruption and compliance developments in this region are making global headlines almost every day.
These include, on the one hand, multi-billion dollar scandals such as the Petrobras/Car Wash and Odebrecht cases, and prosecutions at the highest levels of politics and business, generating huge popular demonstrations; and — on the other — new momentum and new anti-corruption laws and institutions in several countries.
“These are truly unprecedented times for the Americas, and the world is watching closely. Will this region become a global anti-corruption leader, a trendsetter to admire and follow? Or will it be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of corruption news, adding to the crisis of trust and leadership that we currently see all around the world?” Mr. Kreutner asked.
The answer, he continued, depends partly on whether parliamentarians can seize the opportunity, and indeed the responsibility, to become anti-corruption leaders and “Sherpas of good governance” within their countries and beyond.
In this regard Mr. Kreutner highlighted five priorities in the fight against corruption, each of which are equally important. They are inclusivity in working together with all stakeholders; transparency to help build trust in legal systems and political institutions and maintain public support; defending the independence of anti-corruption institutions; demonstrating integrity as parliamentarians; and having the curiosity to constantly challenge their anti-corruption approaches and those of others.
“I am convinced that by working together we have the power to make a difference in the fight against corruption — in this region and beyond. So let us celebrate our successes and not be deterred by setbacks. And, in a spirit of partnership, let us redouble our collective efforts towards a better future,” he concluded.
The ParlAmericas event, which took the theme of “Open States for Democratic Governance Against Corruption”, was opened and chaired by H.E. Mr. Luis Fernando Galarreta Velarde, President of the Congress of the Republic of Peru. The ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network comprises the national legislatures of the member states of the Organization of American States (OAS) from North, Central, and South America and the Caribbean.
“Democratic Governance against Corruption” was also the main theme for Heads of State and Government at the Summit. This culminated in the Lima Commitment, which underscored “that the prevention of and fight against corruption are fundamental to strengthening democracy and the rule of law”, and that “corruption weakens democratic governance and citizens’ trust in institutions, in addition to having a negative impact on the effective enjoyment of human rights and the sustainable development of the peoples of our Hemisphere as well as other regions of the world”.
IACA currently has alumni from 23 Member States of the OAS, and from 155 countries and jurisdictions in total.