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Åpningsinnlegg på ekspertmøte om storskalakorrupsjon

Utenriksminister Ine Eriksen Søreides åpningsinnlegg på et ekspertmøte mot storskalakorrupsjon; Global Expert Group Meeting on Corruption involving Vast Quantities of Assets. Møtet er arrangert av FNs kontor mot narkotika og kriminalitet, UNODC, med økonomisk støtte fra Norge.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

A warm welcome to all of you!

I am pleased to see such a distinguished group of experts from around the world gathered here in Oslo to shed light on the issue of grand corruption – or large-scale corruption - and discuss how to fight it.

In every professional field, getting to know other people working on the same issues in another country can be both interesting and inspiring.

And in the fight against corruption, and especially large-scale corruption, it is essential that we establish closer and stronger cooperation across borders.

As corruption does not recognise borders, those of us who are involved in fighting corruption in different countries must join forces more effectively to prevent corruption and stop financial crime and illicit financial flows.

Simply put, we need a broader and stronger international coalition.

The list of international organisations calling for this is long, and includes the G7, the G20, the OECD, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the European Union, the African Union, and the UN.

Many multinational companies and investment funds have also expressed their strong support for this agenda.

So I’m very pleased that all of you are here in Oslo to take our common efforts against corruption a step forward.

I am confident that you will present and discuss innovative and constructive ideas.

Corruption is often described in quite abstract terms.

It is sometimes defined as ‘the abuse of public office for personal gain’. And it is said that it ‘increases economic and social inequality, and feeds a sense of injustice, discontent, exclusion, and polarisation’.

But the act of corruption itself is very concrete and very practical. And the results of corruption are also very real.

Corruption stops medicine and drugs from reaching people who are ill.

It stops schools from being built.

It prevents social mobility, making the rich richer and the poor poorer.

It makes the public sector less effective, unable to deliver adequate services, and undermining the trust between citizens and the state.

And this trust is essential in all countries and for all governments. Without the trust of the citizens, no government is able to do their job effectively.  

Sustainable development in Norway, as well as in every other country, depends for a large part on good governance - based on integrity, inclusion, transparency, and accountability.

Both political leaders and business leaders have an obligation to lead the way in our common efforts to fight corruption.

Norway, together with Peru and Chile, tabled a resolution on combating large-scale corruption at the 7th conference of States Parties to the UN Convention.

This initiative helped set the stage for two expert group meeting. The first one was in Lima, Peru, in December last year, and second one is here in Oslo today.  

I’m pleased that my good colleague, Carlos Holmes Trujillo, foreign minister of Colombia is here today. I would like to recognize the work by Colombia in this field.

Politicians can bring political will and greater visibility. Impartial judicial systems, effective regulations, and technical know-how are also essential building blocks.

In short, we need experts like you here today.

I am aware that in many countries, leading the fight against corruption can be dangerous.

Prosecutors and judges, witnesses and whistle-blowers, journalists and government employees sometimes have to take a brave stand, but also a large personal risk, to stop corruption.

Threats, harassment and even violence and killings, take place. I’m impressed by the work and bravery shown by many people – including many of you in this room – in the fight against corruption.

I wish you every success in your imporant work to combat corruption. But this is a joint effort.

Once again, welcome to Oslo, and I hope you enjoy your stay.

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