November 18, 1997
LIMA, PERU, 7 - 11 SEPTEMBER 1997
THE LIMA DECLARATION AGAINST CORRUPTION
WE, over 1000 citizens drawn from
93 countries, coming from all the continents and from countries large and
small, in every stage of development, rich and poor, and from varied backgrounds
in government, the private sector, and civil society,
AFTER a searching discussion of
the means to contain corruption in all its manifestations around the globe
and united in our vision of an era of international and national co-operation
in the twenty-first century in which the evil of corruption is suppressed,
NOW JOIN TOGETHER in this Declaration
of the 8th International Conference Against Corruption held in Lima, Peru
from 7 - 11 September 1997.
CONVINCED that corruption
- erodes the moral fabric of every society;
- violates the social and economic rights of the poor and the vulnerable;
- undermines democracy;
- subverts the rule of law which is the basis of every civilised society;
- retards development; and,
- denies societies, and particularly the poor, the benefits of free and
open competition -
- fighting corruption is the business of everyone throughout every society;
- the fight involves the defence and strengthening of the ethical values
in all societies;
- it is essential that coalitions be formed between government, civil
society and the private sector;
- a willingness to enter into such a coalition is a true test of an individual
government's commitment to the elimination of corruption;
- the role of civil society is of special importance to overcome the
resistance of those with a stake in the status quo and to mobilise people
generally behind meaningful reforms;
- there must be a sustained campaign against corruption within the private
sector as, with greater privatisation and deregulation, it assumes a greater
role in activities traditionally performed by the state;
- and that top leadership sets the tone in all societies, as "You
clean a staircase by starting at the top" -
WE NOW CALL UPON governments, international
and regional agencies and citizens around the world to mobilise their efforts
and energies to join us in achieving the following actions:
Actions at the International and Regional
- International institutions must support more fully the creative role
civil society has to play in advancing the development of good governance
and work with them in partnership to this end. They must work together
to emphasise the positive aspects of globalisation, and to contain its
- Tax deductibility of bribes by which exporting countries actively subsidise
and encourage the corruption of officials in other countries must be ended.
- The OECD should complete a convention to criminalise the bribing of
foreign officials by the end of this year, and its member states should
implement its provisions before the end of 1998. The OECD must then carry
out a strong monitoring programme to ensure strict enforcement of the convention,
with participation by civil society to ensure transparency.
- All states of the Americas should ratify the OAS Inter-American Convention
Against Corruption before the Summit of the Americas in Santiago in April,
1998. We urge the OAS to promote and monitor implementation of the convention,
and commend it as an excellent example of regional cooperation against
corruption for consideration by other regions.
- The World Bank and the IMF should accelerate implementation of their
new policies against corruption initiated by President Wolfensohn and Managing-Director
Camdessus, and particularly the suspension of lending to governments who
do not adequately address the corruption issue.
- The European Union should accelerate implementation of its own anti-corruption
policies recommended by the Commission of the European Communities in May,
1997; all EU member states should ratify the European Union Convention
on Corruption adopted on 26 May 1997; and all member states of the Council
of Europe should join in the work of its multi-disciplinary group against
corruption to ensure that the Council's summit in October yields
- The work of the United Nations on action against corruption must be
supported. States must implement the United Nations Declaration Against
Corruption and Bribery and the International Code of Conduct for Public
Officials. International funding agencies and donor governments must further
support the technical co-operation activities of the UN.
- The World Trade Organisation must itself join in the global struggle
and begin to address the serious impact of corruption on world trade.
- All multi-lateral and bilateral aid agencies, together with their development
partners, must find practical ways of overcoming corruption in their development
- Funding agencies should increase the assistance they give to strengthen
national integrity system programmes to combat corruption. In particular,
the transparency of international and national government procurement programmes
must be strengthened. Governance and civil service reform must have a focus
on suppressing corruption as an essential element, and assure the political
neutrality of the civil service itself.
- International institutions must realise that their international procurement
practices are not yet fully satisfactory, and that they should further
develop imaginative and new approaches to procurement in partnership with
individual governments and the private sector, including the use of anti-bribery
and integrity pacts. Bidders who bribe should be blacklisted. The Global
Coalition for Africa should continue its imaginative work with Transparency
International and governments in this area.
- International organisations with mandates in the area, including INTERPOL
and the World Customs Organisation, should take steps to strengthen international
law enforcement co-operation.
- Regulation of the operations of all international banking centres must
be improved so as to ensure that assets under their control are governed
by agreed international norms and that illicitly gained assets can be traced,
frozen and forfeited. This should include exclusion from the international
monetary system of off-shore banking centres which fail to meet these standards.
Banking secrecy must not provide a shield for criminals and obstruct the
exposure of corruption.
- The reform and modernisation of customs systems, with an emphasis on
transparency and integrity, is still urgently needed in many countries.
Assistance should be increased by the donor community, and particularly
through the World Customs Organisation (WCO). Members of the WCO should
implement fully the Arusha Declaration of 1993 and the Columbus Declaration
of 1994 and co-operate to ensure that transparency and integrity feature
in all international trade transactions.
- The International Chamber of Commerce must promote widespread acceptance
by companies of codes of conduct and compliance programmes to combat extortion
and bribery at home and abroad. We urge the adoption of codes of conduct
and effective compliance programmes as a requirement for the right to bid
on major projects.
- The International Association of Prosecutors and the International
Bar Association should develop model laws whereby the prosecution of corruption
cases in each of our various legal systems can be rendered less complex
and more expeditious, while being consistent with international human rights
- Shareholders around the world should insist that the companies in which
they invest subscribe to the objectives of the corporate governance movement.
- The various international associations of accountants and auditors
and the international associations of security regulators must develop
clear and universal accounting standards with widespread international
recognition. It is particularly important for the fight against corruption
that all financial transactions are recorded, and that there are no "off
the books" or secret accounts.
- International professional societies should take a much closer interest
in their national affiliates and use their influence to ensure that national
professional standards are protected, strengthened and raised.
- The international financial and donor agencies should co-operate with
civil society in developing world-wide indices of the costs of goods and
services to identify anomalies created by bureaucracy and corruption.
- Regional and international institutions must do all they can to advance
our Declaration and develop programmes to this end.
Actions at the National and Local Levels
- All governments should operate in a transparent and accountable manner
at all levels, with the public having access to information to the maximum
extent possible. They should ensure that public accounts are open to public
scrutiny. The role of civil society is most crucial at the national and
local levels, where participation should be fostered by providing open
access to decision-makers and the holding of public hearings on matters
- Civil society, too, must put its own house in order, with NGOs reforming
themselves to ensure that as organs of civil society they practice the
same standards of transparency and accountability that they expect from
their governments. It must also be vigilant in defence of those who are
persecuted for opposing corruption.
- All governments must assure the independence, integrity and de-politicisation
of the judicial system as the cornerstone of the rule of law on which the
effectiveness of all efforts to combat corruption depends.
- The Office of Ombudsman, as a bridge between the government and the
people, can make a major contribution to the elimination of bureaucratic
obstruction and corruption, and so countries without this necessary post
should examine its adoption as an independent office of its elected congress.
- Governments, in conjunction with civil society and the private sector,
should periodically review the accountability features of all relevant
organs of the state and of constitutional office-holders, and at the local
level, to ensure that these form an effective bulwark against corruption.
Conflict of interest rules must receive special attention. In this respect,
the critical Office of the Controller (Auditor General) must play an important
role maintaining and strenghtening his necessary independence.
- Governments who have not already done so must restrict to the minimum
remaining economic opportunities for bribery and corruption, such as monopolies,
discretionary fees, onerous taxes, and regulations and licences that impede
- Civil service reform is essential to create an environment to fight
corruption. All participants in the process should give particular attention
to enabling proper salaries to be paid.
- Particular attention should be given to the strengthening of financial
management systems, and to rendering budget processes transparent and according
a role to civil society.
- Countries should improve the effectiveness of their laws dealing with
corruption to the maximum extent possible consistent with their constitutions
and international human rights norms including:
- abolishing any requirement to prove that an official who received an
illegal gift actually gave favours in return;
- providing a system for the declaration of assets by persons holding
public positions of trust (and their families), and placing on them the
obligation to justify increases out of line with legitimate sources of
- introducing the periodic or random monitoring of the assets and lifestyles
of significant decision-makers in the public sector (and their families
and associates), where appropriate by an independent agency;
- laws which effectively empower the freezing, seizure and confiscation
of the illicitly acquired wealth of officials found guilty of corruption,
wherever it may be and by whomsoever it may be held;
- providing appropriate protection for witnesses (and their families)
and protecting whistle-blowers;
- providing a system for the recording of gifts received by officials;
- ensuring that officials at all levels cannot hide behind immunities
but are fully subject to corruption laws;
- and, debarring convicted criminals from standing for political office
and appointment to positions of public trust.
The foregoing steps would make both prevention and prosecution more effective.
- Governments should review their national and local administration procurement
processes, in co-operation with the private sector and civil society, with
a view to ensuring that these are fair, open and competitive, and so yield
both value for money for the public and an enabling commercial environment
for the private sector.
- Bidders who bribe officials in efforts to win tenders should be blacklisted
from competing for official business for an appropriate period, following
a fair investigation.
- As corruption is a major impediment in the electoral and political
processes, urgent action must be taken to implement effective ways in which
donations to politicians and political parties are regulated and promptly
publicly recorded, and campaign spending limits set and strictly audited.
Continuing civic education programmes are essential.
- National professional associations, in particular of lawyers, accountants,
doctors and engineers, must examine the adequacy and effectiveness of their
codes of professional conduct and of the means of disciplining those members
who facilitate corruption.
- The role of an independent media is essential, but for it to function
effectively there must be freedom from harassment, freedom of information
laws (for citizen and journalists alike) and a legal system which cannot
be misused to muzzle legitimate expressions of concern. We urge governments,
the media itself and civil society to ensure that the conditions exist
for the media to play this role.
- Newspaper editors everywhere should reflect on the roles their publications
can play in giving the public a "voice" to counter corruption,
and in raising awareness of complaints mechanisms and how the public can
use these effectively. They must also consider how they can help foster
a climate of public opinion which regards the corrupt, however rich and
powerful they may be, with the contempt they deserve. The media itself
must guard against accepting bribes and inappropriate hospitality.
- As reform efforts will be in vain unless the culture of corruption
is reversed, governments, schools and religious institutions should launch
education, initiatives designed to raise awareness in the young of the
incalculable harm done by corruption, and of the personal risks they run
if they are involved in this.
- Codes of conduct should be introduced in many spheres of life (including
cabinet, parliament, the judiciary and throughout government ministries),
and governments should examine arrangements whereby the ethics and integrity
of their administrations can be assured.
- Governments should encourage the use of independent surveys of public
satisfaction with services and institutions as a valuable tool in identifying
particular areas of difficulty as well as to monitor progress made in improving
services by making them less susceptible to corruption.
- Lastly, governments, civil society and the private sector should consider
designating annual "anti-corruption days" or "accountability
days", which in several countries has proved to be a focus for awareness
raising. This concept could then be extended by the United Nations designating
an annual international day of action.
We request the Chair of the Conference together with the Secretariat
of the International Anti-Corruption Conference Council,
(TI), to take the necessary actions to bring these recommendations to the
attention of governments and relevant institutions. We pledge that we,
ourselves, will do our part.
We look forward to our meeting again in South Africa, in 1999. We affirm
our conviction of the practical usefulness and impact of periodic exchanges
of experience and success stories such as have taken place this last week
in Lima, and we believe that we have made significant progress in moving
forward the international debate on practical steps against corruption.
In South Africa in two years' time we will have the opportunity
to assess the progress made both in the struggle against corruption itself,
and the accomplishment of the actions proposed herein.
Finally, we express our heartfelt thanks to the Organising Committee,
the people of Peru, their government, their private sector and their civil
society, for the warmth of their welcome, the generosity of their hospitality,
the development of a rich and relevant agenda, the promotion or civil society
participation in the fight against corruption, and the vision of a new
millennium of ethics and integrity.