Presentation of U.S.

-Russia Working Group on “Anti-Corruption and Institutional Integrity”

Plenary Session U.S.-Russia Civil Society Summit June 24, 2010 Introduction It is our privilege to address the plenary session of the US-RussiacCivil Society Summit on behalf of the US organizations Transparency International and Sunlight Foundation and the Russian organizations TI-Russia and the Center for Business Ethics. We are going to present our comments together, in the spirit of bilateral cooperation. The inclusion of corruption as a major topic for discussion since the first presidential summit in 2009 reflects its importance to both our countries. Some estimate that corruption drains one-third of Russia's GDP annually, impeding foreign investment and stifling economic growth. As recent scandals have demonstrated, the US is not immune to lapses of integrity in its public and private sectors, undermining financial stability, environmental controls and public trust. Our presidents recognized this challenge in April 2009, when they made a joint commitment to counter the "transnational threat of corruption," and since then through their support for new laws and e-government initiatives to increase transparency of government and the economy. Both our countries have ratified the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, which provides a roadmap for countering corruption. A further sign of their shared commitment to increase accountability of government is the ongoing work of this civil society dialogue on anti-corruption since the first summit until today. As representatives of US, Russian – and global-- civil society, we believe our role, our responsibility is to help advance the right of each citizens of both our countries to open, honest and responsive government. Our task today is to present a strategy for further discussion and action by US and Russian civil society organizations in our countries and on a bilateral basis. Mitigating corruption and fostering accountability requires the continuous engagement of

each stakeholder -- civil society, the private sector and government. The UN Convention reflects this understanding, with provisions for each sector. We'll start with civil society, and address each in turn. Civil Society Role Under Article 13 of the convention, our governments have committed to work with civil society organizations to combat corruption. Thus, our principle recommendation today is that Russian and US civil society organizations should create a new alliance to help our governments implement the UN Convention. This “Article 13” alliance should monitor corruption and improvements in governance in both nations. Under this alliance, civil society groups should work together to hold business and government accountable to higher standards. Let us now summarize how this new form of civil society cooperation will work and the roles that we envision for civil society, for business and for government. The Article 13 alliance should promote action to increase the capacity of all civil society organizations to help public officials, business and citizens counter corruption in all social spheres based on an exchange of best practices from both the United States and Russia. For civil society to meet its responsibilities, there are certain prerequisites -- access to timely, accurate information; the political space to conduct anti-corruption advocacy; technical and financial resources. To institutionalize this process, this alliance could create a new online community to share the information that is required to hold the public and private sectors accountable. It will leverage recent developments in e-governance in both Russia and the United States. Role of Private Sector The private sector must also play a more pro-active role in driving the anti-corruption agenda. First, companies must do no harm. They must manage their own conduct to make sure that their ethics and anti-corruption compliance programs are strong and effective. Second, business in both countries must take voluntary collective action to curb corruption in vulnerable industries, such as energy, transport, construction, pharmaceuticals, and defense. Professionals, including lawyers, bankers, and accountants, must also play a role. Our working group would like explore creating a web based community for disseminating best practices to US and Russian companies for mitigating corruption risk in specific industrial sectors. This online community would also serve as a forum for entrepreneurs in both countries who are developing innovative technologies to identify

others with shared interests and shared values. We will explore ways to identify and celebrate companies that are innovating new technologies who exemplifies integrity in business. We look forward to working with the US-Russia innovation dialog participants on these two initiatives. The Role of the Public Sector As we noted earlier, the third stakeholder is the public sector; whose tranpsarency is a prerequisite for accountable government, as President Medvedev underscored yesterday in his speech at Stanford University. Information from all three branches must be timely, accessible, and comprehensive. The public must be able to access information in real time, and also be given the opportunity to comment and participate in government decision-making and implementation. Russia's recently adopted new law on anti-corruption expertise should be expanded to provide these rights. This may also present an opportunity for technological innovation -to create tools that support two way dialog, both disseminating information to the public, and providing the public's views to the government. Similarly, both nations’ freedom of information laws should be strengthened to permit additional public scrutiny through technology, for example, by creating a public submission and tracking process We also recommend that US courts follow the spirit of Russia's new federal law that makes all court decisions not only available online to everyone, but freely available. We are pleased that great progress has been made in both countries to deploy new technology to make government procurement information more transparent. Online access, however, is not a silver bullet, so government should take additional measures to be sure that the corruption risk is in procurement is adequately addressed. To prevent corruption, it is also vital for the public to have access to the information regarding the assets, income, and financial interests of public officials. Disclosure is now required in US and Russian law, but needs further strengthening and refinement in order to be effective. To ensure that all of these measures have a significant impact on reducing corruption, there must be a credible threat of prosecution. This requires a judicial system that is impartial, predictable, and independent. Conclusion Finally, to return to our initial point -- that bilateral cooperation is needed to counter the transnational threat of corruption – we would call for the following immediate actions:

First, Russia and the United States should adopt a bilateral investment treaty that prohibits extortion, bribery, and other forms of corruption, and that enhances transparency. Addressing these concerns is essential to fostering foreign investment and economic growth. Second, both Russia and the United States should ensure consistent enforcement of laws that criminalize bribery in the global marketplace, and the two nations should take continued steps to enhanced cooperation between law enforcement authorities. The UN Convention mentioned earlier supports these recommendations, and many of the others that we have made today. We look forward to working with you and other stakeholders on these initiatives to counter corruption, and to realizing the promise of this bilateral process. Thank you very much, and thanks to IREX for organizing this event.