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Mac Iver Pizzas Delveintidos. Pudeto, Restaurant Quetalmahue. Club del Sandwich. Los Carrera There is a wide variety of organizations involved in efforts to enhance probity and combat corruption. There is a special interest in creating an institutional environment in which these organizations can discuss what their requirements are to fulfill their functions and attain the objectives for which they were created.
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Emphasis is placed on the importance of educating the people in general and of training public officials both in technical matters and in ethical practices, with a view to strengthening probity and preventing corruption. To enhance efforts to strengthen probity and fight corruption, it is of key importance to ensure adequate coordination between the institutions recently created for this purpose and the institutions traditionally involved in combating corruption, such as the Judiciary and regulatory agencies, in keeping with the constitutional practices of each member country. A special focus should be given to exchanging experiences with regard to specific plans and programs geared to enhancing probity and public ethics, as this will be a productive exercise and lead to the development of horizontal cooperation activities.
The legal aspects of the practices of illicit enrichment and transnational bribery, as discussed in the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, should be further analyzed, so that the commitments assumed in signing that international instrument can be promptly met. Government institutions, international organizations, and institutions in civil society should maintain close contact.
Moreover, in view of the different initiatives being taken in the region, any duplication of effort should be avoided, and ways should be found to harmonize and coordinate the various existing initiatives and projects. Further work should focus on setting specific targets and objectives in anti-corruption efforts.
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This should include recourse to the institutional mechanism in the OAS Permanent Council, which contemplates ways of including the participation of all the agencies and institutions involved in enhancing probity and combating corruption. On the basis of these conclusions, the Symposium decided to make the following recommendations:. An exchange of experiences and information among public institutions, international organizations, and institutions in civil society involved in efforts to enhance probity in the Hemisphere and combat corruption should continue, and this exchange of experiences and information should focus on specific areas to be identified.
The Working Group on Probity and Public Ethics should resume its work and ensure the follow-up on the activities proposed in this paper and included under the Inter-American Program for Cooperation in the Fight against Corruption, and it should receive inputs from international organizations and institutions in civil society.
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The Working Group on Probity and Public Ethics should gather the opinions of member countries as to how to attain the objective of ensuring that all member states have ratified the Inter-American Convention against Corruption before the twenty-first century. The measures and means by which the societies of the OAS member states can enhance probity and public ethics should be identified. To this end, a focus should be placed on education, an exchange of experiences regarding the best practices of public institutions, and on training of both public officials and agents in the private sector.
Efforts to compile legal information on the structure and functions of the national institutions in charge of enhancing probity should be pursued, as should efforts to compile laws covering the corrupt practices referred to in the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, and especially the articles referring to illicit enrichment, transnational bribery, and progressive development. The legal information compiled should be made available to interested parties, to be accessed by computer if possible.
Efforts to compile information and provide advisory services on codes of conduct for public officials should continue to be provided to government institutions that so request. The areas in which the various national institutions, including regulatory agencies, need to be strengthened, and the means required to overcome current shortcomings, should be identified.
To this end, the Legal Affairs Department of the Organization of American States will request the pertinent information. Action to implement the preventive measures referred to in Article III of the Convention should be pursued.
These measures should include presentation of sworn statements of assets and their publication, when appropriate. Transparency and integrity should be fostered in government contracts and in public bidding at national, regional, and international levels. Progress should be made in coordinating and harmonizing the various existing initiatives to develop a network linking institutions involved in enhancing probity and combating corruption.
Ways of obtaining the resources needed to develop the activities proposed by the Symposium and included in the Inter-American Program for Cooperation in the Fight against Corruption should be explored. A publication should be produced, to include the papers presented at the Symposium, the report of the rapporteurs, and the conclusions and recommendations. The papers presented during this Symposium on the Enhancement of Probity in the Hemisphere have underscored the importance of consolidating ethical values in national societies if democratic systems are to be strengthened.
Thus the papers highlighted the importance of specifically focussing on measures and means of strengthening probity and civic ethics in the Hemisphere, because they consider that this concern reflects a deep-seated need in our societies and enhances the prospects of actions to be undertaken in this field. Likewise, it was also pointed out that, conversely, corruption undermines democratic institutions, weakens the rule of law, and represents a serious threat to social harmony and economic development. It was noted that it is universal and under no circumstance may it be considered as restricted to a particular group of societies.
Also, that in spite of the gravity of the phenomenon in many instances, progress made in recent years confirms that it is possible to control and curb its negative effects substantially. Furthermore, it was remarked that much of the progress has been achieved in Latin American countries, where the number of institutions tackling these issues has increased significantly, and major efforts have been made to strengthen existing institutions and develop a domestic and international regulatory system; all of which creates positive expectations with regard to the prevention and punishment of conduct that is incompatible with probity and civic ethics.
In this respect, the adoption of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption was considered a true landmark in the juridical development of the Americas as well as a major boost in the attention paid to a previously underrated topic. It was suggested that the member states of the OAS should make it a collective goal to ratify the Convention by the start of the twenty-first century.
Nevertheless, it was observed that in many countries of the region worrying situations persist with regard to the seriousness and scope of these problems and require the adoption of decisive measures. In the opinion of various participants, it was evident that both the progress as well as the serious deficiencies called for a new stage of concerted efforts by public institutions, international organizations and civil society institutions to establish more specific goals and carry out concrete actions.
It was suggested that this Symposium should provide an opportunity to implement activities of this kind, taking advantage of the framework offered by the Inter-American Program for Cooperation in the Fight against Corruption. The statements by the State representatives-both those on the progress of general programs and those on the experience acquired in implementing specific institutions or research with considerable social impact, due to their complexity and dimensions-pointed to the absolute necessity of steadfast political support at the highest level. In this respect, they mentioned the commitments and personal support offered by the heads of state and government for specific activities.
The national authorities also provided a complete description of the actions undertaken in order to strengthen probity and combat the illicit behavior occurring in that regard in their countries. In some cases, the presentations included the definitions used under the different systems to define the concepts of ethics and corruption. There was general assent in pointing out that the enhancement of probity and public ethics are essential in order to tackle a comprehensive phenomenon encompassing different spheres of social life, including cultural, social, political, economic, juridical and institutional aspects.
In this connection, the philosophic and religious dimension, which in certain environments shapes the conception of ethics and morality, should not be disregarded. Likewise, it was considered that this comprehensive conception of the problem has a direct bearing on the preventive and corrective aspects that should govern the activities designed to reduce this social scourge to a minimum.
With regard to the preventive aspects, it was noted that the main instrument is education, formal and informal. Its task is to create ethical awareness and to enhance probity among citizens in general and in children and youth in particular. The corrective aspects, which are closely linked to problems of criminal and administrative law, were considered in connection with the need to eliminate impunity which, in this matter, constitutes an incentive and exacerbates the problem.
Moreover, it was remarked that the comprehensive approach to the phenomenon implies consideration not only of civil servants' conduct but also the behavior of those who, as individuals, are the necessary counterpart in illicit acts that run counter to the standards required by probity and civic ethics.
In this connection, special mention was made of the private sector, with references to recent experience with measures taken by business organizations to strengthen the ethical dimension of their members' activities; the idea being both to reaffirm important social values and to optimize conditions for business growth. It was stated that, given the pace of globalization and economic integration in the region, it was extremely important to adopt joint measures in this area among the entrepreneurial sectors of the different countries, civil society institutions and the States, with the support of international organizations, especially the development banks.
Likewise, it was emphasized that, in certain societies, corruption has become systemic and that is why efforts to combat such illicit acts and to enhance probity and ethics have focussed on that aspect. Speakers also pointed out that the fight against corruption has been facilitated as progress has been made in the modernization and pruning of the State apparatus, with the transfer of many of its activities to the private sector. The simplification of administrative red tape has also reduced the scope for corruption.
Such modernization also implied higher training levels for civil servants, improving the professional quality of the services they provided, facilitating transparency in the hiring of outside services, and emphasizing the prevention of corrupt conduct.
As regards legal aspects, the national authorities pointed out the importance of having adequate juridical instruments to strengthen probity standards and to establish mechanisms designed to punish illicit acts, which meant the enactment of rules to attack the phenomenon in its general aspects, or the drafting of laws geared to the punishment of certain specific forms of conduct. It was also pointed out that in this process distortions or inadequacies have occurred, since legal reform does not always keep pace with the modernization of productive activities or changes in the way the State operates.
In most cases, the national authorities were at pains to list the new legal instruments generated in the different fields of State activity. This highly valuable background information is to be found in the various papers that will be compiled and published as a product of this Symposium.
Also stressed was the desire of the people and institutions involved in this area to have electronic access to legal information. To this end, the continuation of the compilation and publication of legal instruments was encouraged, bearing in mind that this is an activity carried out by the Secretariat for Legal Affairs of the OAS.
Particular importance was attached to the drafting of ethics codes for civil servants since they clarify specific aspects of how they are expected to behave. With regard to institutional aspects, the speakers pointed to the wide range of bodies entrusted with the fight against corruption. Comparison of different countries' experience revealed that, in some, institutions were created for the specific purpose of fostering probity and civic ethics, while others had used existing institutions to which new functions to that effect were assigned.
Moreover, other countries reported that they had dealt with the matter by strengthening existing institutions and the functions they already performed. In this respect, major efforts were made to clarify the scope and functions of the administrative reforms undertaken, stressing the need to grant such institutions the independence and the resources required for the adequate fulfillment of their functions.
Attention was also drawn to the importance of training for civil servants both technically-which makes it possible to improve contracting systems and introduce more transparent recruitment procedures-and with regard to ethical standards designed to prevent acts at variance with the requirements of probity and ethics. Speakers pointed to the need for careful review of the notion that civil servants' low wages are the main cause of the increase in illicit behavior in public service. Also in connection with institutional aspects, the speakers underscored the importance of achieving adequate coordination with institutions traditionally involved in controlling and repressing corrupt acts, such as the Judiciary and Offices of the Comptroller, within the constitutional order of each State.
It was unanimously agreed that repression of illicit conduct is impracticable without a stronger Judiciary purged of the serious irregularities it suffers from in some areas. Information was also provided on experience in this field acquired by specific sectors of Public Administration, such as migrations, prisons and customs administrations, police and security forces, the labor sector and social security, including a company inspection system. Special importance was attached to tax collection and to the efforts made to eliminate and punish evasion and other illicit forms of conduct frequently occurring in this sector.
The speakers pointed out that special offices had been created in this important area of public administration. Particularly significant were the remarks with regard to the experiment of establishing internal auditing units within the different government departments, a topic that had brought about an interesting exchange of experiences between two members States of the Organization.
It was reported that such auditing units had been empowered to investigate, inspect and evaluate policies in addition to their training and prevention functions. Together with the legal and administrative reforms, abundant information was provided on concrete plans and programs designed to prevent and punish practices or acts at variance with probity and civic ethics.
It was pointed out that in some national systems, there were specific mechanisms encouraging and facilitating denunciations by members of the public. There were differing views, though, with regard to the possibility of processing anonymous tip-offs, which were accepted in some systems and rejected by others. Information was also provided on the setting up of mechanisms of information for the users of certain services in order to simplify the paperwork and make procedures more transparent, thereby making it more difficult for illicit acts to be committed..
Abundant information was presented, also, about new ways of incorporating civil society institutions at the municipal, regional and provincial or state levels in order to integrate them in the strategic plans to fight against corruption, setting up committees and voluntary associations, made up of independent recognized figures, whose function is both to disseminate a culture based on honesty and ethical values and to serve as a point of contact between the general public and the State agencies in charge of preventing and punishing conduct at variance with the demands of probity and ethics.
Some speakers referred to initiatives such as a "anti-corruption mail boxes" to receive complaints and the setting up of free telephone lines for the same purpose. Numerous references were made to the elaboration of codes of ethics for public officials, some of which have been adapted to the realities of different state agencies. This was considered an advance toward adopting these types of instruments in line with the commitments undertaken in the Inter-American Convention against Corruption.