Ambassador’s Remarks on the OECD Anti-Corruption Network for Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Ladies and gentleman,

I am pleased to be here during OECD integrity week to congratulate you on your efforts to fight corruption and encourage you to keep fighting.  I will keep my comments brief, as I know you have a full day ahead.

Put simply, why does the U.S. care?

First, corruption and bad governance fuel instability – feeding organized crime and violent extremist groups.  It endangers U.S. and global security.

Second, the social challenges are overwhelming: it destroys faith in our institutions.  It destroys opportunities for women, contributes to human trafficking, and undermines communities.

Finally, as Secretary Kerry said, it has cost the global economy more than an estimated trillion dollars a year. That is money out of the pockets of businesses and our citizens.

That is why the U.S. is committed to fight corruption around the world – whether through establishing standards that increase transparency in the public sphere, opening up government data to the public, or supporting prosecutors holding public officials accountable.  And that is why the United States supports the ACN.

This forum provides an opportunity to exchange information and best practices in the fight against corruption.  This work is not easy and not always popular, but weeding out corruption and prosecuting high-profile and complex cases is essential to building trust.

And the ACN has had success:  Latvia, which started as an ACN country, recently completed its accession to the Working Group on Bribery.  Romania is making progress in anticorruption law enforcement.  Ukraine has started to show encouraging results in investigating high-level cases.

But our fight doesn’t end there.  As with so many issues we face, this is not just a government problem, but a societal problem.  One we must combat together – among partner countries, civil society groups, and business leaders – to advance our common interests of democratic accountability, transparency, and the rule of law.  That is why the United States has been, and will continue to be, a strong supporter of the ACN.

We congratulate you on developing an ambitious work plan for the next five years and we look forward to working with you to achieve results.  I encourage countries around the world to support this valuable work.

Thank you so much for having me today.