OECD Anti-Bribery Convention 2021
The OECD Anti-Bribery Convention establishes legally binding standards to criminalise bribery of foreign public officials in international business transactions and provides a host of related measures to make this effective. It is the first and only international anti-corruption instrument focused on the “supply-side” of the bribery transaction. The 2021 Recommendation for Further Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions complements the Anti-Bribery Convention to strengthen further and support its implementation.
The OECD Working Group on Bribery – which brings together the 44 countries Party to the Anti-Bribery Convention – is responsible for monitoring the implementation and enforcement of the Anti-Bribery Convention and Recommendation. In 2018, the Working Group decided to conduct an extensive review of the 2009 Anti-Bribery Recommendation to ensure it continues to reflect the range of good practices, trends and challenges that have emerged in the foreign bribery field over the past 10 years. After a rigorous process, including two rounds of extensive consultations with external partners, a stocktaking of ten years of implementation of the 2009 Anti-Bribery Recommendation, multiple written procedures and eight dedicated meetings of the Working Group, the 2021 Anti-Bribery Recommendation was adopted by the OECD Council on 26 November 2021.
With this Recommendation, the Parties to the Anti-Bribery Convention agree to new measures to reinforce their efforts to prevent, detect and investigate foreign bribery. In addition to enhancing the provisions already included in the 2009 Anti-Bribery Recommendation, the 2021 Recommendation includes sections on critical topics that have emerged or significantly evolved in the anti-corruption area, including, among other things, on strengthening enforcement of foreign bribery laws, addressing the demand side of foreign bribery, enhancing international co-operation, introducing principles on the use of non-trial resolutions in foreign bribery cases, incentivising anti-corruption compliance by companies, and providing comprehensive and effective protection for reporting persons.
One of five OECD Recommendations makes up the strong OECD anti-corruption framework, covering tax, official development assistance, export credits, and state-owned enterprises.
Key elements of the Recommendation
- Promote a comprehensive approach to fighting foreign bribery through new measures to enhance awareness-raising and training of, as well as detection by, key government agencies, including foreign representations, financial intelligence units, tax authorities and official development assistance agencies.
- Strengthen enforcement of foreign bribery laws, including proactive detection and investigation of foreign bribery, more effective international co-operation among law enforcement authorities and co-operation in multi-jurisdictional cases.
- Address the demand side of foreign bribery cases by calling on countries to address the solicitation and acceptance of bribes and better support companies facing bribe solicitation risks.
- Introduce provisions on the fundamental principles and features of non-trial resolutions.
- Include extensive provisions to ensure comprehensive and effective protection of whistleblowers in the public and private sectors.
- Encourage countries to incentivise enterprises to develop internal controls, ethics and compliance programmes or measures to prevent and detect foreign bribery.
How can we reduce bribery and corruption?
1. Update anti-bribery and anti-corruption policies:
2. Get the tone right from the top:
3. Embed ABAC principles in corporate culture:
4. Ensure gifts and hospitality meet key criteria:
5. Conduct due diligence on all third parties
6. Watch out for bribery and corruption red flags:
7. Add precautions for foreign public officials:
8. Avoid facilitation payments:
9. Report bribery and corruption concerns promptly:
10. Make anti-bribery training meaningful:
Explore more with our “How can we reduce bribery and corruption?” article.
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About the 2009 Recommendation
The Recommendation for Further Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials was released on 9 December 2009, when the OECD marked the tenth anniversary of the entry into force of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention.
The OECD adopted the Recommendation to enhance the ability of the States Parties to the Anti-Bribery Convention to prevent, detect and investigate allegations of foreign bribery and includes the Good Practice Guidance on Internal Controls, Ethics and Compliance.
For more information about the Recommendation:
- Full text of the 2009 Anti-Bribery Recommendation and the Good Practice Guidance (pdf)
- Annex II of the 2009 Recommendation: Good Practice Guidance on Internal Controls, Ethics and Compliance (pdf)
- March 2010 news release: OECD calls on businesses to step up their fight with the Good Practice Guidance
- December 2009 news release: Governments agree to step up the fight against bribery
- Overview of the 2009 Anti-Bribery Recommendation (pdf): Public consultation on the 2009 review of OECD anti-bribery instruments
- Text and implementation of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention
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