Rob Boone, Deputy Assistant Secretary
International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
Statement Before the Working Group on Probity and Public
Ethics, Organization of American States
Washington, DC, September 28, 2000
Thank you, Mr. Chairman:
First, I would like to congratulate you on your election to the Chair of this Working Group and offer congratulations to our distinguished new Vice Chair from Jamaica on her election. I pledge to both of you and to all our colleagues here the full support of the United States in our collective work together. Mr. Chairman, I would like to thank you and the members of the Working Group for this opportunity to express the continued support of the United States for the important work of this Group and to discuss briefly the viewpoints of the United States on the development of a monitoring mechanism for the Inter-American Convention against Corruption. We know this will not be an easy task.
Before turning to that specifically, I would like to make one brief comment on the draft Work Plan which we do support. On page 2 of that document, as it relates to Operative Paragraph 9, the United States would like to suggest that a representative of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) also be invited to participate given the CFATF's extensive experience with its own mechanism for monitoring implementation.
Mr. Chairman, when I last appeared before this Group in March to describe briefly what the United States was contributing to the global struggle against corruption, including our efforts to help implement the convention, we had not yet ratified the convention. I am now pleased to report that we have indeed ratified this most important convention and Ambassador Lauredo will be depositing our ratification instrument in a ceremony here tomorrow afternoon. Of course, ratification is only one step on the path to implementation, and we are determined to continue our efforts on that path.
In approving the convention for ratification, the United States Senate recognized the importance of the convention and its potential to be an effective tool to assist in the hemispheric effort to combat corruption. The Senate resolution also contains a provision that bears directly on the work of this Group, that is, the development of a process to monitor implementation of the convention. The Senate Report states that the President shall submit to the Congress a report before April 1, 2001, and for every year for 5 years thereafter, that will include an assessment of the progress being made to create an effective, transparent, and viable convention compliance monitoring process that includes input from the private sector and non-governmental organizations.
With your permission, Mr. Chairman, my delegation would ask that the Secretariat distribute a document that sets forth our views on a proposed framework for a monitoring mechanism. The requirements of the Senate are reflected in our proposal. I know that you will have the opportunity to examine closely our observations and proposals for specific elements of the mechanism. I am grateful to our colleagues here, including our Argentine and Canadian colleagues, for presenting other proposals. I am certain that all these and other ideas will inform and contribute to our work together in designing such a mechanism. For now, let me just present a few of the most salient aspects of our approach, which you will find in the document, to this very important process that the Group is undertaking.
First, we believe that the broadest participation by the largest number of OAS (Organization of American States) members in the development of the mechanism is essential to the success of the monitoring process. Even if members have not yet ratified the convention, their participation in designing the mechanism may encourage their ratification, and it can strengthen the mechanism. The very process of developing it will influence how effectively it is used.
Second, we believe that transparency in the development of the mechanism and in its implementation is very important. The convention itself calls for transparency in government as an essential element in the struggle against corruption, and this monitoring process must also be transparent. For this reason, we believe that the involvement of private sector and non-governmental organizations in the development of the monitoring mechanism, and in its implementation and its results, is crucial.
Third, we believe that the monitoring mechanism must be tailored to meet the special needs and characteristics of the convention. While much can be learned from the evaluation processes that other regional and international conventions, treaties, and organizations are using, this convention is unique in the breadth and variety of its penal and administrative provisions. The convention's evaluation process must be designed uniquely as well.
Our framework document is an effort to help the Working Group develop that unique design. I am confident that the Group will meet the challenge that the General Assembly has given it. I assure you of the United States' continued participation and support.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, the United States would appreciate it if the Secretariat would distribute a second document that my government has produced. It is entitled "Fighting Global Corruption: Business Risk Management," and it provides information for global businesses and organizations on navigating the international anti-corruption environment. I draw our colleagues' attention to page 14 of this brochure, where we have made explicit reference to the Inter-American Convention.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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