Session III: Promoting Sound Management of Public Resources and Budget Spending

As prepared for delivery by Political Counselor Christopher Robinson
Economic and Environmental Forum First Preparatory Meeting
Dublin, Ireland
April 23, 2012

Thank you, Mr. Moderator.

The excellent presentations highlight two important aspects of the sound management of public resources.

The first is how money comes into the government. Secretary Clinton’s speech on development at the OECD last year highlighted the importance of fair and effective revenue collection, budgetary transparency, and anticorruption. Through the Domestic Finance for Development initiative, we are working to mobilize stakeholders and partner with interested countries on the interplay among these three issues. We support the  EITI, so that all citizens and stakeholders know what money is coming into their country in exchange for extractive resources, and President Obama has committed the U.S. to implementing it domestically. We adopted legislation last year to require all U.S. companies to publicly report their expenditures abroad relating to extraction of natural resources.

The second is how money is managed and spent. Timely publication of budgets and key areas of expenditure are critical measures.  Making government contracts public can be a useful tool. The U.S. is greatly increasing the transparency of our foreign aid through tools such the online Foreign Assistance Dashboard. The new site gives the public a view of the progress underway in cutting waste, streamlining government, and improving performance. In all these areas, the Internet and other ICTs can help to reach wide audiences.

Government purchasing is a key area of corruption risk and prevention.  Transparency, of rules and of decision making, is essential. The United States invited a review of our federal procurement systems by the OECD, which has useful principles for integrity in public procurement.

Strengthening our efforts to combat bribery, particularly bribery in international business, promotes management of government resources based on merit, not graft. For parties to the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, as well as the CoE Criminal Law Convention and UNCAC, this means giving meaningful enforcement to our laws against foreign bribery, and supporting businesses to adopt anti-bribery compliance programs. Effective domestic anti-bribery enforcement is key too, to combat the so-called “demand side.”

Our treasuries benefit when we protect those who are willing to report instances of corruption from reprisal. In the U.S., we have a good whistleblower protection regime, which we are working to further strengthen. There are good starting points for other countries considering reform, such as the whistleblower protection principles developed by the G20, with cooperation from the OECD.

We encourage the OSCE to highlight the importance of these approaches; foster dissemination of good practices – including by OSCE participating States – in these areas; and, resources permitting, provide technical assistance in these areas.

Thank you, Mr. Moderator.