On 22 October 2020, it was for the first time that the G20 ministers with responsibilities for preventing and combating corruption gathered together. Russia was represented by H.E. Andrey S. Chobotov, Head of the Anti-Corruption Department of the President of the Russian Federation.
The meeting concluded with the adoption of a Ministerial Communiqué, where the ministers provided guidance on the future G20 anti-corruption action and affirmed their commitment to abiding by a set of documents drafted by the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group (ACWG) in 2020 and annexed to the Communiqué.
1. The fight against corruption in the context of the pandemic.
The document stresses that the global COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the disproportionate impact of corruption on vulnerable populations as public procurement, public finances, health services and access to medication are all vulnerable than ever to corruption in the times of crisis.
As a result, the ACWG drafted the Call to Action on Corruption and COVID-19 which identifies major areas of anti-corruption action under the current circumstances, along with the Good Practices Compendium on Combating Corruption in the Response to COVID-19 containing information on best practices of preventing and combating corruption in such fields as health care and provision of emergency assistance.
2. Riyadh Initiative for Enhancing International Anti-Corruption Law Enforcement Cooperation.
Highlighting the importance of international cooperation of law enforcement bodies, particularly in the preliminary stages of investigations, the participants of the meeting supported the Initiative developed by the current Saudi G20 Presidency to create a Global Operational Network of Anti-corruption Law Enforcement Authorities.
The Initiative provides for the establishment of a structure which would allow representatives of law enforcement authorities also from the G20 countries to informally cooperate. The document stresses that informal channels of communication are particularly convenient at the preliminary stages of investigation and provide swift, flexible and effective instruments for countering transnational corruption offences.
The Global Network is to be Vienna-based and operated by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. In addition, an online one-stop hub is planned to be created. It will constitute a secure platform of communication for exchanging information between anti-corruption bodies. The Global Network will develop anti-corruption learning programmes and tools, draft programme documents, guides and publications, gather various statistical data, hold regular meetings of law enforcement officials with anti-corruption responsibilities and other anti-corruption practitioners and experts, as well as liaise with other international organisations. Detailed information about the organizational aspects of the Global Network is provided in the relevant Concept Note.
3. G20 High-Level Principles.
The meeting endorsed a set of G20 High-Level Principles, drafted throughout the year under the Saudi Presidency. A summary of the principles set forth in the aforementioned documents is provided below.
- at the design stage, ensure diagnostic analysis of the strengths and gaps of the existing anti-corruption framework, assign clear responsibilities, maintain the required political momentum and ensure autonomy from undue influence during the design process,
- take steps to ensure an inclusive design process, i.e. engage a broad range of stakeholders also from civil society and the private sector,
- undertake a corruption risk analysis to apply a tailored approach to allocating resources and implementing measures to prevent or mitigate them in the sectors at greater risk of corruption, and, as appropriate, to strengthen the overall collection and use of data,
- adopt an approach to the design process that is tailored and ambitious but realistic in scope,
- articulate a clear vision, explaining to the public why proposed action against corruption is needed and how planned activities will contribute to the achievement of that vision,
- develop an action plan to address identified priorities of the anti-corruption strategy, where appropriate,
- dedicate sufficient resources to ensure successful implementation of the anti-corruption strategy,
- establish processes or mechanisms to monitor and evaluate the anti-corruption strategy including the use of specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely indicators,
- ensure that implementation is reported to a wide range of stakeholders, including the use of online platforms.
- provide digital public services to improve efficiency and reduce opportunities for corruption,
- promote e-procurement and open data standards to enhance transparency and promote fair competition,
- use electronic payment systems to reduce opportunities for corruption and increase transparency and traceability,
- ensure the availability of innovative ICT systems to increase the effectiveness of anti-corruption measures,
- promote the adoption and implementation of open government standards,
- facilitate the exchange of information and networking to better prevent, detect and respond to corruption risks,
- consider the use of new technologies to prevent, detect and investigate corruption,
- improve the monitoring of public finances, utilizing ICT and innovative technologies,
- establish ICT-based communication channels, measures and systems to facilitate reporting on corruption offences,
- promote the use of ICT in international anti-corruption cooperation,
- ensure that anti-corruption investigators, prosecutors and public officials with anti-corruption responsibilities are equipped with sufficient knowledge and appropriate digital skills, tools, guidelines and broad-based education.
- define clear rationales and frameworks for privatization and public-private partnerships (PPPs),
- ensure transparency, accessibility of information, and public consultation with concerned stakeholders regarding the costs and benefits of proposed and ongoing projects,
- ensure that the regulatory and competition frameworks of a certain sector are sound to prevent, detect and respond to corruption risks,
- ensure that criminal and non-criminal legislative measures exist to address corruption in frameworks applying to privatization and PPPs, policies and procedures are in place to eliminate conflicts of interest; ensure an effective division of roles, responsibilities and commitments among different supervisory, regulatory and enforcement authorities involved in privatization and PPPs, along with clear lines of accountability and separated risk management functions,
- use transparent methods to determine the modes of delivery, transaction and evaluation of assets,
- select participants involved in steering privatization and PPP transactions based on competency, experience and adherence to high standards of integrity; establish appropriate measures to prevent and manage any actual, potential or perceived conflict of interest situations; have appropriate risk management and due diligence processes in place for the engagement of external advisors,
- implement mechanisms to promote accountability, transparency and competition in tendering and sale,
- establish mechanisms for monitoring and evaluating privatization and PPPs,
- promote stakeholder scrutiny and enable access to information.
4. Accountability and transparency.
An Accountability Report was also presented in the meeting. It reviews the progress in implementation of previous G20 anti-corruption commitments. This year a new approach to the Report was adopted: instead of a general overview of a global progress of the ACWG a more detailed analysis of achievements made and challenges faced by the G20 countries in selected areas was conducted. In particular, the 2020 Report provides an overview of progress in international cooperation and recovery of stolen assets.
The document also highlights the following ongoing G20 anti-corruption priorities:
- international cooperation and asset recovery,
- beneficial ownership transparency,
- denial of safe haven to persons who have committed corruption offences,
- criminalization of bribery, increased efforts to effectively prevent, detect, investigate, prosecute and sanction bribery, engagement of the private sector in the fight against bribery also through raising awareness about corruption risks and deployment of effective mitigation and compliance systems,
- public sector integrity as related to procurement,
- engagement of the private sector and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the fight against corruption,
- stakeholder engagement in combating corruption: other international organisations, individuals and groups outside the public sector, including civil society, NGOs, community-based organisations, academia, media and the private sector.