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Lima Declaration

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7 - 11 September 1997

Lima, Peru

Ama sua, ama llulla, ama quella. Don’t be a liar. Don’t be a thief. Don’t be lazy. The ancient laws of the Inca were the watchwords chosen by the Peruvian Organising Committee for the 8th International Anti-Corruption Conference, which took place 7-11 September, 1997, in Lima, Peru. The Conference, which was organised by a Peruvian Organising Committee (consisting of public and private sector institutions as well as civil society organisations) with the programmatic and technical assistance of the IACC Council, brought together over 1000 delegates from 93 countries - including eighty TI delegates - to discuss anti-corruption strategies and to work on common approaches. It culminated in the formulation of an unprecedented international anti-corruption work programme - the Lima Declaration Against Corruption.

The theme of the Lima Conference "The State and Civil Society in the Fight Against Corruption" emphasised the importance of coalition-building between governmental, non-governmental and private sector organisations in working at the international, regional, national and local levels to increase government accountability and transparency; to curb corruption in private sector actions; and to involve civil society organisations more strongly into anti-corruption initiatives.

In plenary sessions, workshops and presentations, a wealth of projects and ideas were discussed and papers presented relating to anti-corruption work currently undertaken by a wide range of organisations. The audience included representatives of international and regional institutions (including all major funding and development assistance organisations), national and local governments, private sector organisations and civil society (including professional organisations).

Highlights of the opening ceremony were the message of support sent by United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan and the speech of commitment by the Secretary General of the OAS, Cesar Gaviria. The first plenary session was opened by a live teleconference speech of World Bank President James Wolfensohn who reiterated emphatically the Bank’s priority for the fight against corruption and paid tribute to TI. High ranking representatives of the World Bank, IMF, UNDP, OAS, OECD, Council of Europe, the International Customs Organisations (WCO) and many more made interesting and valuable contributions both in plenary sessions and workshops. Many of these institutions also co-ordinated workshops on topics ranging from procurement reform to regional co-operation to use of surveys.

Among the public officials from the executive, legislative and judicial branches, and from all continents, who gave accounts of their experiences in anti-corruption work, one of the most striking contribution was that of the Peruvian Attorney General Miguel Aljowin. He caused a stir in the meeting of Attorney Generals which he was to chair by resigning the chair at the start of the meeting after making a statement accusing the Peruvian government of obstructing his work.

From the private sector, speakers included Francois Vincke, CEO of Petrofina and Chairman of the ICC Standing Committee on Extortion and Bribery, who challenged the assembled delegates to extend the scope of their anti-corruption work and to include corruption within the private sector. Another speaker, Shell International’s Vice President Karen de Segundo described her company’s code of conduct. The role of the private sector was also addressed in workshops organised by international associations including the International Chamber of Commerce, the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) and the International Bar Association.

More than at previous IACC Conferences, civil society made its point of view heard at the 8th IACC and enriched the agenda tremendously. There were numerous speeches by NGO representatives, including one by Transparency International Chairman Peter Eigen, which contained a moving tribute to TI Advisory Council Chairman Olusegun Obasanjo, imprisoned in Nigeria since 1995. At Eigen’s request, the audience stood for a minute of silence in solidarity with Obasanjo. Among the contributions by media representatives, there was a frank and stirring speech by Kenyan journalist John Githongo, which was given a standing ovation by the audience. From the world of academia, several interesting studies were presented by Jolanta Babiuch-Luxmoore, Daniel Kaufmann, Johann Lambsdorff, and Shang Jin-Wei. It was repeatedly stressed that without the participation of civil society, and with a special role attributed to the media, in anti-corruption programmes the effectivity and sustainability of these would be very much at risk.

In a memorable closing ceremony, the IACC "torch" for the 1999 Conference was passed from Peru to South Africa, with Vusi Mavuso, Chairman of TI-South Africa, representing South Africa in this ceremony. Another torch was also passed, that of the Chairmanship of the IACC Council which is an advisory body to the organisation of the series of IACCs: this was transferred from Australian MP Peter Nagle to the American Kevin Ford, of the New York City Dept.

The Lima Conference generated considerable excitement amongst the participants by providing an invaluable opportunity for the exchange of information and experience in the anti-corruption field. The emphasis was essentially on practical measures to combat corruption, and the participants took with them new ideas and energy for reforming procedures and approaches in their countries. The event also provided a unique occasion for networking, across and within the borders of the different countries and across and within the different sectors. The debate was informed by the delegates’ conviction that real progress can be made if each of the component parts of the coalition plays its essential role. This is amply reflected in the Lima Declaration Against Corruption, a comprehensive document produced jointly by representatives of all interest groups and regions present at the Conference and overwhelmingly endorsed at the final plenary.

The enthusiasm generated by the Conference can, we believe, be sustained through continuing interaction and by looking forward to a review of progress when the 9th Conference is held in two years’ time. We had hoped that the Conference would serve to start to concretise an emerging international coalition - but to see it come together with such commitment, and extend over such a wide range of peoples, governments and institutions was to raise hopes for an even more exciting and productive event in South Africa in two years’ time.

The International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) is a series of biannual conferences which sprang from a first meeting at the Hong Kong ICAC in late 1981 between several international agencies. The participants decided to hold an expanded international conference to improve liaison and facilitate the flow of information between agencies concerned with prevention and investigation of corruption. The first conference was hosted by the Inspector General of the District of Columbia, USA, and attracted some 20 agencies from 13 countries. During the following years the IACC gained considerable importance and attracted an ever wider spectrum of organisations and more individuals, with the private sector organisations and civil society featuring more prominently, culminating so far in this year’s IACC in Lima (see above). The other IACCs were held in New York (1985), Hong Kong (1987), Sydney (1989), Amsterdam (1991), Cancun (1993), Beijing (1995). In Beijing, representatives of the former host organisations came together to establish the IACC Council (an advisory body to the future host organisations) in order to provide the Conference with more continuity and sustainability, as the previous conferences had been organised on an ad-hoc basis. This in mind the IACC Council invited TI in Beijing to serve the Council as its Secretariat thus giving the Conference an institutional home. Honoured with this challenge, TI accepted this additional task being convinced that it can support to turn this series of leading international anti-corruption events into not just another conference but into a high-quality and professional international forum for experts. The Peru conference was just the first and promising step into this direction.