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Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland with President Buhari of Nigeria

The Commonwealth brings together global leaders for anti-corruption conference

11 May 2016

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland today rallied global support for the fight against corruption in all its forms at a high-level conference that brought together government, civil society and business leaders from around the world.

The Secretary-General, who opened the conference on Wednesday at Marlborough House, urged all three groups to combine forces, and announced a number of practical measures including a new “Commonwealth standard” against corruption.

President Buhari of Nigeria gave the keynote speech at the Tackling Corruption Together conference, which the Commonwealth Secretariat is hosting in partnership with Transparency International, Thomson Reuters, Omidyar Network, the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council, the B Team, and the ONE campaign.

“It’s going to take all of us to tackle corruption in all its forms,” Secretary-General Scotland said during her welcome address. “This isn’t just about money. It’s about the corruption that sees women have to trade sexual favours for access to goods and services, it’s the corruption that sees children abused so they can stay in the classroom, it’s the corruption that blights so many lives in so many different ways.”

“Collaboration and cooperation between different nation states will be critical if we are to successfully meet the challenge bribery and corruption creates for us all,” she added.

Speakers at the Tackling Corruption Together conference include Prime Minister Joseph Muscat of Malta, Jose Ugaz from Transparency International and Mo Ibrahim, Founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, which assesses the quality of governance in African countries.

Announcing the development of a Commonwealth Standard to tackle corruption, the Secretary-General said that she would like to bring together partners to develop an international scheme for better procurement across the public and private sectors. The scheme will be used to identify which bodies and institutions are adhering to best practice in procurement and differentiate between those that do not protect against corruption.

The Tackling Corruption Together conference precedes the Anti-Corruption Summit: London 2016 on Thursday 12 May, hosted by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, which aims to agree a package of practical steps to expose and drive out corrupt practices.  

Secretary-General Scotland described today’s conference and tomorrow’s summit as “outward and visible signs of the fresh determination, renewed vigour and practical commitment to eliminating fraud, bribery and corruption.”

Cobus de Swardt, Managing Director of Transparency International, one of the organising partners, commented: “Governments cannot tackle corruption alone, and we welcome the lead given by the new Secretary-General in putting corruption on the agenda, and including business and civil society as part of the discussion.

“Today’s event will showcase some highly effective initiatives that show it is possible to fight corruption, often collaboratively. When the dust settles after the Summit, such partnerships will be crucial to seeing bold words turn into practical action.”

Notes to Editors:

At the Tackling Corruption Together conference, the civil society, business and government leaders will set out their commitments to end impunity, prevent corruption, empower victims and support activists, in an effort to bolster good governance and transparency and support sustainable development. More than 300 delegates will be in attendance with around 70 speakers addressing the conference

Find out more about the Commonwealth’s work in anti-corruption.