The letter would be a follow up to a message the CEO’s sent to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon last May urging the adoption of an efficient review mechanism to ensure that the 143 signatory states are complying with their commitment to fight corrupt practices. The mechanism, based on self-assessments by governments and peer reviews that will be made public, was adopted by a UN conference in Doha last November.
“This is a success story for ICC,” Francois Vincke, who leads ICC anti-corruption work, and is Vice-Chair of the ICC Commission on Corporate Responsibility and Anti-Corruption, told the commission meeting last Friday. “We have been asking for an implementation review system, and now we have it.”
The meeting was the first of the new commission since it was created through the merger of the ICC Commission on Anti-Corruption and the ICC Commission on Business in Society.
The mechanism adopted in Doha for the 2003 UN Convention Against Corruption allows for on-site inspections. It is expected that most of the signatory states will accept the presence of inspection teams on their territory. Summaries of the review reports will be made public, and although a country can ask that a report concerning it not be publicly released, most of the signatories have indicated they would not take such a step.
“It is a gigantic job,” Fritz Heimann, Chair of the ICC Task Force on the Convention, said of the monitoring mechanism. “Governments very much welcome help from the private sector.”
The commission also heard a report on the second phase of the Resisting Extortion and Solicitation in International Transactions (RESIST) programme, which is scheduled to be released in New York in June. The first part of RESIST, unveiled in March 2009, comprises seven scenarios relating to solicitation in the context of the procurement process. Composed of 15 scenarios, the second phase deals with contract implementation.
“The level of awareness of the RESIST tool has grown slowly but surely,” Iohann Le Frapper, Chair of RESIST Phase 2, told the commission. “This time it should really take off.”
Mr Le Frapper said the idea was to transform RESIST into a wide-ranging tool. RESIST raises employee awareness of how to prevent corruption demands from being made, and sets out practical measures on how to respond to dilemmas in the most efficient and ethical manner when they cannot be avoided.
The RESIST tool kit was jointly developed by ICC in partnership with Transparency International, the UN Global Compact, and the World Economic Forum. Mr Le Frapper said a number of governments had shown interest in promoting the training tools in the RESIST programme. “This is a good sign that certain governments recognize the benefits of such private initiatives,” he said.
The commission also heard that the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is in the process of deciding whether to update the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises that cover a wide range of issues from human rights to labour standards. Some 42 countries adhere to the guidelines, including a number that do not belong to the 30-member OECD.
Commission Chair Erik Belfrage, Senior Vice-President and Advisor to the Chairman,
Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB), said that it was crucial for business to play an active role in the many global initiatives on corporate responsibility, such as the OECD guidelines on multinational enterprises, the ISO 26000 guidance standard on social responsibility and the mandate of the UN Special Representative on business and human rights.