Closing Statement at the OSCE Economic and Environmental Dimension Implementation Meeting

OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum (USOSCE)

Closing Statement at the OSCE Economic and Environmental Dimension Implementation Meeting

As delivered by Bahram Rajaee, Political Officer
to the OSCE Economic and Environmental Dimension Implementation Meeting, Vienna
October 19, 2021

Thank you, Mr. Chair. 

And thank you, once again, to the Chairpersonship and Office of Economic and Environmental Activities for organizing this week’s Economic and Environment Dimension Implementation Meeting.  We particularly appreciated hearing from such a diverse range of speakers with informative perspectives, especially those who reflected views from the non-profit, academic, and private sectors. 

The United States recognizes that corruption undermines governance outcomes, wastes public resources, exacerbates inequalities in access to services and the exercise of rights, and fosters opportunities for transnational organized crime.  As you have heard, in our own country, we are currently focused on the recovery and return of stolen assets; denial of safe haven for those who engage in corruption; combating money-laundering; stemming foreign bribery; and strengthening anticorruption prevention efforts by engaging with the private sector, empowering civil society, and respecting the role of independent media.  International cooperation and partnerships also play essential roles in addressing the transnational aspects of the corruption phenomenon.    

We appreciate the OSCE’s role in preventing and combating corruption, including supporting national authorities in implementing commitments under relevant international instruments and standards, in particular the United Nations Convention against Corruption and the OECD’s Istanbul Anti-Corruption Action Plan.  We applaud the OSCE Office of the Coordinator for Economic and Environmental Activities for its continuing work to offer valuable assistance to participating States on corruption prevention measures, asset recovery, the use of open data in government, municipal transparency, anti-money laundering and countering terrorism financing, and sharing of experiences and best practices.  I would like to point out here how important we believe these efforts—and especially the related extra-budgetary projects and other forms of technical assistance which operationalize them—are to our collective ability to build the needed capacity in the OSCE area. 

 It is our view that the challenge of fighting corruption cuts across the OSCE’s political-military, economic and environmental, and human dimensions.  We believe there is a clear need to approach the problem holistically.  As we have heard over the past day and half from a number of speakers, in this context we should focus on building capacity and strengthening the independence of law enforcement, prosecutors, and the judiciary.  We should continue to promote transparent public procurement and strong legal frameworks to encourage good governance, public oversight, and accountability.  And we must be partners with the private sector, nonprofit organizations and civil society, and an independent media to promote constructive and effective solutions while defending democracy and good governance.    

As we heard from Barry Fullerton in his remarks during a panel session yesterdayin the United States we see these partnerships as essential to our ability to engage in effective anti-money laundering, cross-sectoral dialogue, and the promotion of stronger business ethics.  In that spirit, I would urge organizers to further consider ways for voices from civil society, business, and the media to more actively contribute to our discussions here and how EEDIM would benefit from greater public visibility.  The interesting and compelling presentations by a number of representatives from NGOs and the private sector over the past two days underscores the value of their contributions.  

We should open this event to greater transparency to raise its profile and increase awareness about what this organization is doing to constructively promote peace, prosperity, and security across the region.  Transparency and good governance is at the core of our shared values; we should seek to model those values. 

In closing, the United States remains fully engaged in implementing its OSCE commitments on combating corruption and good governance and stands ready to continue to collaborate with participating States on promoting these core OSCE principles. 

 Thank you, Mr. Chair.