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CEOs Call for Greater Adherence to UN Anti-Corruption Convention

(New York, 7 May 2009) - In an unprecedented move, chief executives from some of the world's leading companies have called on governments to more effectively and robustly implement the United Nations Convention against Corruption.

In a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the CEOs threw their support behind the world’s only universal anti-corruption instrument, stating that it "holds the promise of curbing corruption and creates a level playing field for all participants in the global economy". They praised the Convention, describing it as "an essential instrument in the fight against corruption", but they underlined the need for the establishment of an implementation review mechanism at the next Conference of States Parties to be held in Doha in November 2009.

"Especially now, in a period of deep financial and economic turmoil, an effective implementation review mechanism is essential. The economic crisis will inevitably place severe strains on worldwide competition, threatening an erosion of ethical standards that will be hard to reverse," they warned. They cautioned that any further delay in establishing an effective review mechanism (as called for in the Convention) "would damage the credibility of the Convention and its ability to build momentum in overcoming corruption".

The CEOs provided ideas on how the mechanism should work. They highlighted three factors: adequate and dependable longterm funding; country visits with peer reviewers from other countries; and a transparent process with input from the private sector and other stakeholders, and with published reports.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed this initiative and has asked Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, to transmit the CEO letter to all State Parties to the UN Convention Against Corruption through the Intergovernmental Working Group on the Review of Implementation of the Convention , which will be meeting in Vienna from 11-13 May.

"I deeply appreciate the leadership demonstrated by the corporate community in this critical matter," said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in response to the letter by the CEOs. "The business advocacy for an effective review mechanism and the growing number of States adopting and implementing the Convention are evidence of a shared commitment to tackle corruption."

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 United Nations Global Compact, and the World Economic Forum Partnering Against Corruption Initiative (PACI) .

Also today, the Global Compact has initiated a broader campaign inviting business leader across the globe to sign the statement in support of the Convention.


Matthias Stausberg
UN Global Compact
+1(917) 367-3423