This article first appeared on Prensa Latina on October 27, 2021.
Ministers and authorities for the Prevention and Fight against Corruption of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac), agreed today in their fifth meeting to coordinate and deepen the fight against this scourge.
At the virtual meeting organized by Mexico in its capacity as president pro tempore of Celac, the ministers reviewed inter-institutional procedures to prevent, detect, deter, investigate, prosecute and punish corruption within solid legal frameworks.
They agreed that government institutions should implement codes of ethics, regulations of conduct, or others, and regulate conflicts of interest and declaration mechanisms that allow for the monitoring of patrimonial and fiscal evolution and promote integrity, principles, and values that should govern public service.
They emphasized that transparency, the strengthening of accountability, and open data in Latin American and Caribbean countries are an imperative need and an obligation of all governments, as they contribute to the fight against corruption.
The participants confirmed the will to join efforts to eradicate corruption in Latin America and the Caribbean and reiterated the obligation of the States to advance in the implementation of the UN Merida Convention against Corruption.
In this regard, the joint declaration lists 11 points in which they commit to participate in the meetings and work of the CELAC Specialized Group on the Prevention and Fight against Corruption, installed today.
Promote cooperation, define its parameters, methodology, and periodicity, guarantee the operation of the Latin American and Caribbean Network for Transparency in Public Management, seek mechanisms to disseminate codes of ethics, promote and strengthen the culture of regulatory compliance in the public sector.
Also, promote business integrity and involve it in the fight against corruption, contribute to the design of public policies and anti-corruption strategies to prevent negative effects such as irregular migration, poverty, unemployment, and violence.
Ensure that anti-corruption strategies are inclusive, deepen research to examine the different ways in which people suffer the effects of this evil, include citizens in the determination of actions aimed at strengthening oversight and internal control mechanisms for better accountability.
Intensify efforts to achieve the goals of the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda aimed at strengthening the recovery and return of stolen assets, and finally urge future Celac presidencies to consider a permanent agenda for the prevention and fight against corruption in the region.