This morning in Vienna, I facilitated a panel discussion at the ‘World Economic Forum (WEF) on Europe & Central Asia 2011‘ on new ways of tackling corruption around the world.
Held under Chatham House rules, the conversation was frank and honest. With representatives of government, civil society and business in the room, the role of each sector was examined.
The general view was that a matrix approach is needed to tackle this most thorny of issues. It is imperative to have rules and to enforce them whether you are in government or in business.
But rules alone will never be enough. A vital component is to change the culture to create one where corruption is just not cool.
In this aspect, civil society can play a huge role in changing public attitudes towards and acceptance of corruption. Also, prevention is better than cure. Technology can transform the situation by: a) making transparent processes that previously where opaque and b) by removing human intervention in the chain. Paying Afghan police direct to their mobile phones left them with 30% more money in their pockets than they were used to.
The audience in this session felt that the cross-sector and international approach that is now being taken against corruption (as evidenced by the enforcement of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and the potential introduction of an extra territorial bribery act in the UK), as well as the pressing need to remove this gross inefficiency from a world system already overstretched, gave us the best opportunity we’ve had for a generation.
IBLF is working hard to translate the optimism in the room into action on the ground. Take a look at some of our global work around anti-corruption here and watch this space.