On the International Anti-Corruption Day in 2014, UN Global Compact celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Principle 10, which prohibits corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery. The OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and the United Nations Convention against Corruption have created sufficient awareness globally. The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report says 22 out of 144 economies are so steeped in corruption that affects investment, trade and economic growth, as well as equality and prosperity in communities.
MACN (The Maritime Anti-Corruption Network), learned that individual corporate codes of conduct, industry self-regulation, government regulation and civil society activism are all important measures to fight corruption, but a collective action across sectors and with other stakeholders alone can cull corruption’s deep roots.
Cecilia Müller Torbrand, MACN’s Chair, who is also legal counsel for anti-corruption and foreign trade controls at Maersk Group, believes collective action by a firm stance against corruption. At the end of 2010, Maersk explored the possibility of cooperation among vessel-owning companies and others across the maritime supply chain to fight against corruption. From 8 members, MACN has grown rapidly to 44 member companies in 2014. Collective Actions Program, aims to identify specific challenges in hotspot regions and develop action-oriented recommendations to tackle bribery and corruption based on stakeholder inclusiveness, local ownership and transparency.
In 2012 and 2013, MACN conducted a risk assessment study in the Nigerian port sector with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Technical Unit on Governance and Anti-Corruption Reforms (TUGAR).
Main challenges identified were:
- Weak internal ethics infrastructure (such as lack of codes of conduct)
- Weak enforcement practices
- Underdeveloped systems for investigating complaints of bribes or facilitation payments
- Absence of an effective system to handle grievances
- Lack of protection for whistleblowers.
The study recommended the following:
- Develop capacity building programs to strengthen transparency and accountability of port stakeholders
- Develop and clarify standard operating procedures of port stakeholders
- Establish a port-level complaints mechanism for potential or actual acts of corruption
Next year, more countries will be included in collective action programs. The effects of individual action will pave the way for collective action to guarantee transparency in business, ensure fair competition, foster a level playing field, and strengthen good business practices.