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On 20 and 21 November, the 37 State Parties will celebrate the tenth anniversary of the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions at a high level conference in Rome. The Swiss delegation will be led by State Secretary Jean-Daniel Gerber (SECO), and will also include representatives from the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, the Federal Office of Justice and the Office of the Attorney-General.
Switzerland was actively involved in the inception of the OECD convention. The adoption of the convention marked a major shift in the international fight against corruption. For the first time, the 30 member states of the OECD and several other states agreed that they would no longer tolerate the bribery of foreign public officials, but instead classify it as a criminal act punishable under a standard set of criteria.
Along with the OECD convention, accompanying measures designed to prevent bribery were determined, and rigorous monitoring was introduced so State Parties could mutually supervise the implementation and enforcement of the package of measures. Thanks to the OECD convention significant progress has been made in the international fight against corruption over the last ten years. The convention also paved the way for further important anti-corruption initiatives, in particular the conventions of the Council of Europe (1999) and of the UN (2003).
For Switzerland, fighting bribery in international business transactions is of great importance. On the one hand, it is about establishing a level playing field for Swiss firms operating abroad, and on the other, about eliminating one of the greatest barriers to development in large parts of the world.
Switzerland will continue to play its part in ensuring that the internationally-defined standards to fight corruption are respected.However, further progress is needed in terms of its prevention and prosecution. The Anniversary Conference in Rome offers the State Parties the opportunity to appraise the current situation and renew their commitment to fighting bribery in international business transactions.
State Secretary Jean-Daniel Gerber will hold a brief press conference in Rome on Wednesday, 21 November 2007 from 12.00-12.30 in the Scuola Superiore di Polizia, Via Pier della Francesca 3 (Room number will be posted at the entrance).