The German contribution to tackling corruption

German development policy addresses the tackling of corruption at various levels.

International cooperation

At international level Germany supports the creation of and adherence to international anti-corruption standards through active involvement in the United Nations, the World Bank, the Group of Eight (G8) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Germany attaches great importance to working for greater transparency in sectors that are susceptible to corruption. In particular, it is involved in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). Germany has also worked closely with Transparency International since the organisation was founded in 1993.

Bilateral cooperation

The tackling of corruption is a field of assistance within the priority area of "Democracy, civil society, governance" as well as cross-cutting task of German development cooperation.

Germany has agreed this joint priority area with around half of its partner countries, and supports pro-development governments in making their administration transparent and effective and gearing it to serving the common good. In 2006, some 50 Technical Cooperation projects in the field of public sector reform were ongoing. These projects promote the development of efficient personnel, procurement and public finance systems, in particular the creation of audit offices and customs and tax administration bodies. German development cooperation also focuses on strengthening civil society, since an alert public is essential for the tackling of corruption.

Since 1997 all protocols of government negotiations with partner countries have included anti-corruption agreements. Loan and finance agreements too contain pertinent clauses. Policy dialogue with partner countries also covers the various international and regional anti-corruption conventions and transparency initiatives. Germany supports its partner countries in ratifying and implementing the UN Convention against Corruption.

Where donor contributions are channelled via the public budgets of partner countries (programme-oriented joint funding), Germany takes steps to ensure that governments have adequate institutional capacity for preventing corruption and misappropriation of funds.

Corruption prevention in Germany

If its work for transparency and the prevention of corruption is to be credible, Germany, too, must implement the internationally agreed standards. German law contains comprehensive regulations in this area. Corruption is a criminal offence, even if committed by private individuals abroad. In 1999 Germany ratified the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business. In 2003 it signed the United Nations Convention against Corruption but has yet to ratify it.

German public service law also serves to promote the neutrality and integrity of public officials in Germany. German public officials are prohibited from accepting rewards or gifts; offences such as accepting or granting an advantage and offering or receiving a bribe are punishable under the German criminal code. All government bodies are also covered by the Federal Government Directive concerning the Prevention of Corruption in the Federal Administration, which recommends among other things the appointment of a contact person for corruption issues, internal auditing, rotation of staff and the principle of multiple control.

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