The videoconference chaired by Saudi Arabia brought together high-level G20 representatives with anti-corruption responsibilities for the first time. Switzerland was invited to attend as a guest; it has taken part in the meetings of the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group since 2016.
The ministerial meeting addressed the risk of corruption in connection with measures taken to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. The ministers noted that governments' rapid allocation of large amounts of state funding could increase the risk of fraud and corruption. In addition to their communique, they also issued a Call to Action on Corruption and COVID-19, in which the G20 stated their commitment to transparency and underlined the importance of adequate auditing and supervisory mechanisms. The Call to Action also asked that recourse to emergency powers be kept to a minimum and recognised the important role of civil society and the media.
Stefan Estermann, Chair of the Swiss government's Interdepartmental Working Group on Combating Corruption, represented Switzerland as State Secretary. Estermann emphasised to those present that the success of state measures to combat the pandemic depends largely on citizens' confidence in their governments. Preventing corruption helps to build and maintain this confidence. Estermann also welcomed the G20 states' intention to pursue further the issues of bribery of foreign public officials, corruption in sport and asset recovery.
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