Recommendations to the OAS Special Committee
on Inter-American Summits Management:
Third Summit of the Americas
Chapter II Creating Prosperity
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for providing Transparency International
with the opportunity to contribute, once again, to the work of the
OAS Special Committee on Inter-American Summits Management as it
prepares for the Third Summit of the Americas. May we commend you
and the members of the Committee for organizing this series of
consultations with civil society.
Transparency International is an international non-governmental,
non-partisan coalition dedicated to combating corruption and
promoting government transparency and accountability. TI has over 70
chapters worldwide, with 17 in the Americas. I am the Managing
Director of the US chapter, which has broad support in the
corporate, legal, accounting, development and academic sectors.
Since the 1994 Miami Summit, there has been agreement that
bribery and corruption are obstacles to creating prosperity in the
hemisphere. Indeed, left unchecked, they can undermine all the
worthy objectives of the Summit process, whether strengthening
democracy, creating prosperity or realizing human potential.
The last time we had the honor to address this committee, we made
recommendations for Chapter I: Strengthening Democracy. What is most
striking is their similarity to those we respectfully put forward
today for Chapter II: Creating Prosperity.
Transparency is as essential to strengthening democracy as it is
to creating a hospitable business environment. Both require clear
and predictable rules that are easily accessible and published in a
timely fashion. Integrity and accountability of public officials is
as essential to building public trust, as it is to trade and
investment. And, just as corruption corrodes democracy, so it deters
foreign investment and economic growth.
#1 - Set benchmarks and timetables for implementation
At the past two Summits, Leaders committed to a broad range of
measures to increase transparency and accountability that could
benefit both civil society and the private sector. The challenge at
Quebec City is to set benchmarks and timetables for implementing
#2 - Accelerate the deadline for implementation of
Particularly on measures to enhance transparency, it is in our
mutual interest to move expeditiously and not to delay until the
FTAA current deadline of 2005 or even the earlier deadline under
discussion in 2003.
Leaders should agree to a clear and measurable set of
transparency-related measures with accelerated timetables and assign
responsibility so that progress can be assessed and officials held
#3 - Undertake Convention monitoring in 2001
Nowhere is this more critical than for the implementation and
enforcement of the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption. If
enforced, this Convention has the potential to reduce bribery and
corruption as factors in trade and investment. Therefore, the OAS
recommendation to create a monitoring mechanism should be supported
by a call from leaders for its realization by a date certain,
preferably by the June 2001 OAS General Assembly.
#4 - Institute a Summit implementation monitoring process
As to the other Summit commitments, a system of self and mutual
evaluation of progress on implementation should be instituted at the
Quebec City Summit with an annual progress report to ministers. This
system should provide for consultation and cooperation with the
private sector and other civil society groups and should make broad
use of technology to disseminate information.
#5 - Enhance Civil Society Participation
Steps must be taken at the Summit to create an institutional
mechanism for civil society consultation on the FTAA before and
between summits that provides for broad outreach, more interaction
with negotiators, and greater input to ministers. Opportunities for
domestic participation are essential and need to be strengthened,
but they are not a substitute for such a regional mechanism. Either
the mandate of the FTAA Committee of Government Representatives on
Civil Society Participation should be broadened to achieve these
objectives or it should be disbanded.
As to specific transparency-related measures, Leaders should
commit to take the following actions:
#6 - Require publication of information
Legal requirements should be promptly enacted to ensure the
publication in writing and electronically, of all laws, regulations,
judicial decisions, administrative guidelines and decisions,
licensing requirements and other information regarding procurement,
investment, services, customs and other relevant areas. A
transparent, independent and timely appeals procedure should be
available for erroneous or inequitable decisions.
#7 - Provide notice and opportunity for public comment
Proposed laws and regulations should be published and there
should be an opportunity for public comment prior to implementation.
Transparent review processes should be available.
#8 – Enhance economic efficiency in public service
Codes of conduct, conflict of interest standards, and asset
disclosure mechanisms should be instituted and sanctions for
non-compliance should be enforced in order to promote merit-based
decisions based on all trade and investment-related matters,
including procurement and privatization.
#9 - Promote impartial judicial decisions
Procedures should be instituted and training provided to promote
the independence and integrity of judges and prosecutors, including
merit-based criteria for selection, public review of candidates,
ethics training, and asset disclosure and oversight mechanisms.
#10 - Raise accounting and auditing practices
Accounting and auditing practices should be adopted that meet or
exceed international standards and audits of all public institutions
should be published.
#11 - Strengthen procurement transparency
Procurement legislation, practices and institutional, private
sector and civic mechanisms must be strengthened to guarantee that
public money is spent in the most efficient way. TI chapters in
Latin America are currently engaged in the development of a single
comprehensive framework to achieve this objective and will submit a
detailed set of recommendations in the near future.
Transparent procurement procedures will
promote competition and minimize the potential for irregular
practices. Advances in technology have opened wider opportunities to
enhance the transparency and efficiency of the process and should be
exploited for this purpose.
Steps should be taken as soon as possible at the national and
local level and should not depend on the final FTAA agreement. The
multilateral development banks should provide assistance where
Many of the necessary elements of transparency are set out in the
draft WTO Agreement on Transparency in Procurement that was agreed
to prior to the Seattle meeting. They build on those in the WTO
Government Procurement Agreement. Similar elements were agreed to by
the FTAA Procurement Negotiating Group and by the private sector
meeting at the Americas Business Forum.
This demonstrates the broad consensus on the elements of
transparency, including broad publication of rules, procedures,
deadlines, criteria and decisions; notice in ample time; the
application of objective, measurable criteria previously defined and
disseminated; civil society oversight; professional standards and
training; and dissuasive sanctions and penalties for non-compliance
by both public officials and private sector bidders.
Efforts to increase the transparency and integrity of public
procurement should not be limited to regulating the behavior of
governments. An obligation to have corporate
anti-bribery codes of conduct and compliance programs would
promote private sector compliance with legal requirements and the
highest ethical standards.
An "Integrity Pact" that commits all bidders to refrain
from bribery and that sanctions violations can also be effective
tool to support ethical behavior in procurement and its use should
In conclusion, we appreciate the opportunity to present
recommendations that we hope will contribute to the realization of
the Summit objective of creating prosperity in the hemisphere.