Exposing corruption

Statement by Prime Minister Erna Solberg at the Anti-corruption summit in London 12 May 2016.

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Last year we adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals. One of the commitments we made was to ‘substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms’. 

According to the World Bank Institute, more than 1,000 billion USD is paid in bribes each year. Let me repeat that, 1,000 billion USD. An astonishing figure that illustrates the sheer scale of the problem. The World Economic Forum has estimated that the cost of corruption amounts to more than 5% of global GDP.   

Corruption diverts funds and distorts the economy. Corruption undermines governments and institutions. Quite simply, corruption holds back countries’ development. It weakens our ability to achieve all the SDGs.

For Norway, transparency is at the core of everything we do to combat corruption. 

And it starts at home; Norway has published tax lists every year since 1863 (yes, I said 1863!), showing taxpayers’ net assets, net income and the tax they have paid.

Norway’s Freedom of Information Act is intended to promote an open and transparent public administration. More than three hundred thousand requests for access to documents are submitted every year.

In our oil and gas sector, we have established structures and procedures that ensure transparency. Transparency is also a key feature in the management of our sovereign wealth fund. Companies with unethical business practices may be excluded based on advice from an independent Council of Ethics.

Worldwide, corruption in the petroleum sector remains a challenge. The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is an important tool for promoting transparency and good governance in the industry.

Through our Oil for Development (OfD) programme, we provide support for capacity and institution building in partner countries. Good governance and transparency are at the core of the programme.

All countries have a responsibility to combat corruption. But it is a global challenge and can only be tackled through a collective effort. Governments need to concern themselves with the activities of their companies abroad and seek to ensure that they follow ethical standards abroad as well as at home.

Corruption is illegal. Corruption is abuse of power. It benefits the few at the expense of the many. 

We have the institutions, we have the instruments. We have the framework for effective collective action. We need to put an end to corruption if we are to achieve the SDGs.