High-powered chief executives back UN anti-corruption pact

8 May 2009

In a letter addressed to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon chief executives from some of the world's leading companies have thrown their support behind a United Nations treaty aimed at combating corruption.

The CEO's noted that the UN Convention against Corruption – signed by 140 countries and ratified by 136 to date – holds “the promise of curbing corruption and creates a level playing field for all participants in the global economy.”

The letter characterized the Convention as “an essential instrument in the fight against corruption,” which is crucial in the current period of financial and economic turmoil to prevent an “erosion of ethical standards that will be hard to reverse.”

They also underscored the importance for the Conference of States Parties to the Convention, held in Doha in November, to establish an effective implementation review mechanism. “Hoping that the Convention's measures will work, without follow-up reviews, would be a dangerous mistake,” wrote the CEOs.

“The adoption of a rigorous implementation review mechanism will send a very positive message to international business,” read the letter, whose signatories included the CEOs of Fuji Xerox of Japan, General Electric Company of the United States, IKEA of Sweden, Royal Dutch Shell of the Netherlands, Sinosteel Corporation of China, Tata Sons of India and Zurich Financial Group of Switzerland.

The letter was written at the invitation of the four global, multi-industry, anti-corruption initiatives addressing the corporate sector: the International Chamber of Commerce, Transparency International, the UN Global Compact and the World Economic Forum Partnering Against Corruption Initiative (PACI).

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