2014

NGO alliance urges G8 leaders to go further in anti-corruption pledges

LOUGH ERNE, Ireland and WASHINGTON, June 18, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- G8 commitments to fight tax evasion and global corruption are welcome, but the world's most powerful leaders must go further and attach enforcement mechanisms and implementation deadlines to their promises, said NGO alliance InterAction on Tuesday.

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G8 leaders met in the exclusive golf resort of Lough Erne in Northern Ireland on June 17-18, where they discussed a range of core issues from the war in Syria to challenges posed by the global economy, tax, trade and the need for transparency.

"Commitments in the G8 Lough Erne Declaration could provide a blueprint for improving the fight against corruption and tax avoidance. Unfortunately, they lack deadlines and benchmarks. Without these, they will have limited impact on the ground, particularly among poor populations who were hoping for more," said Samuel A. Worthington, president and CEO for InterAction, the largest alliance of U.S.-based international NGOs.

The G8 committed to 10 policy reforms including sharing tax information, eliminating the shifting of company profits, making company ownership information available to law enforcement and tax administrations, requiring companies and governments to report on extractive industry payments, and increasing land transaction transparency. The G8 action plan principles to prevent the misuse of companies and legal arrangements provide additional recommendations, but leave out key elements. For example, a central registry of companies "could be achieved," but is not required. This allows reluctant companies to opt out of a central registry, which would require a great deal more effort on the part of law enforcement agencies to gather important information.

"Without these additional commitments it is not likely that the policies will be implemented in a timely or effective fashion, which is a great pity. To use a golfing analogy, this was not a hole in one, or even close," added Worthington.

The G8 said several member nations would partner with seven countries from the Global South to implement guidelines on land governance and rightful claims to land. The United States has been paired with Burkina Faso on this issue. Agreements were also reached with eight countries to improve transparency around extractive industries. The United States will work with Guinea and Myanmar in this area.

InterAction is concerned that not all G8 countries have signed on to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), which is the only legally binding universal anti-corruption instrument. The convention covers prevention, criminalization, law enforcement measures, international cooperation, asset recovery, technical assistance and information exchange.

"Despite the fact that their 2006 action plan supported global ratification of this plan, two G8 countries – Germany and Japan – have still not yet ratified UNCAC. It appears no progress was made on this front at the summit," said Worthington.

InterAction is the largest alliance of U.S.-based nongovernmental international organizations, with more than 180 members. Our members operate in every developing country, working with local communities to overcome poverty and suffering by helping to improve their quality of life. Visit www.interaction.org.

SOURCE InterAction



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