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Banner for the Online Webinar Fostering Cultures of Integrity in February 2024

On 26 February 2024, as part of the 25th Anniversary of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention, IFAC, ICAEW (the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) and IBA (The International Bar Association), in collaboration with the OECD, convened global experts to explore the urgent need to foster cultures of integrity to tackle corruption. The global webinar, which also explored anti-corruption efforts across different international jurisdictions, was attended by over 500 participants from more than 110 jurisdictions.

Renewed regulatory efforts and call to action to combat corruption

The online event was timed to coincide with the launch of the 25th anniversary campaign of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention. “It continues to stay relevant, namely through the 2021 Anti-Bribery Recommendation, which strengthens the original convention by focusing on emerging issues such as the use of non-trial resolutions to address corruption, the importance of protecting whistleblowers, and the role of professional organizations acting as gatekeepers and mobilizing their stakeholders in the fight against corruption”, explained France Chain, Senior Legal Analyst in the OECD’s Anti-corruption Division.

“In May 2023, the European Commission adopted a wide set of measures to strengthen the EU's anti-corruption framework, including a legislative proposal to harmonize the criminal legislation of EU Member States, directly inspired by the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), the OECD and the Council of Europe conventions”, added Jeroen Blomsma, Head of sector for anti-corruption, Legal Affairs and Anti-corruption unit at the European Commission (DG HOME) .

Ramona Strugariu MEP in a zoom webinar for the February 2024 Event Fostering Cultures of Integrity

Ramona Strugariu MEP, rapporteur on the Combatting Corruption file, said in her keynote address: “The next European Parliament might look very different given the rise of extremist and populist parties. It was thus very important to secure a strong position on the Directive on combatting corruption to negotiate with the Council. The new proposal makes all offenses against the UN Convention against corruption mandatory under EU law, but we need to continue this fight for transparency and against corruption.”

“Transparency and integrity strengthen our democracies. Harmonizing rules on corruption offences and strong preventatives mechanisms strengthen our collective capacity to fight this scourge. This means more safety for our citizens, for their pocket and more credibility for the EU project and our capacity to defend the public interest”, she stressed.

Laura Hough in a zoom webinar for the February 2024 Event Fostering Cultures of Integrity

Laura Hough, Director of Trust and Ethics at ICAEW said in her opening remarks: “At ICAEW we are committed to ethical leadership, business integrity and the fight against corruption. Together with over 500 other organizations, including IFAC, we signed a call to action last December, marking the 20th anniversary of the UNCAC, appealing to governments around the globe to intensify anti-corruption efforts and to focus on good governance”. 

“Corruption is a complex issue and a constantly evolving field, we need to be prepared for new risks as they emerge. Only by working together across all sectors will we be able to face these risks with confidence and turn the tide against corruption”, she explained.

Scott Hanson in a zoom webinar for the February 2024 Event Fostering Cultures of Integrity

Scott Hanson Director of Policy and Global Engagement at IFAC moderated the panel discussion. He said: ”Anti-corruption is one of the core policy priorities for IFAC, both given the immense public interest at stake, but also the key role that the accountancy profession plays in supporting the fight against it. Reflecting this commitment, IFAC published its anti-corruption Action Plan in 2022, which sets out a framework and key actions for IFAC to lead the global accountancy profession in the fight against corruption”.

International perspectives on tackling corruption

France Chain in a zoom webinar for the February 2024 Event Fostering Cultures of Integrity

OECD’s France Chain outlined some of the global tools available to assist countries in their efforts to combat corruption, such as peer pressure and peer learning through the OECD Working Group on Bribery, sectoral learning, and also different international fora (peer-review mechanisms, Partnership Forum with EU and IMF, international networks, including of law enforcement officials, etc.).


Scarlet Wannenwetsch in a zoom webinar for the February 2024 Event Fostering Cultures of Integrity

Scarlet Wannenwetsch, Collective Action Specialist, International Centre for Collective Action, Basel Institute on Governance, said: “Corruption is a multifaceted and evolving issue. Successful strategies to combat it must strike the balance between deterrence and incentives and manage to break stakeholder siloes”.  She also warned against setting unrealistic expectations.

“We have a lot of examples of anti-corruption laws that are up to "international best practices". Still, they are not being implemented effectively and are often not localized. We need effective bottom-up engagement and ownership of those strategies and policies”, she stressed.

Ensuring a collaborative and cohesive approach to tackling corruption across all sectors

Jeroen Blomsma in a zoom webinar for the February 2024 Event Fostering Cultures of Integrity

DG HOME’s Jeroen Blomsma, explained the vital role of cross-sector collaboration in preventing corruption. “One way to approach this is to focus on public and private partnership, another is to focus on stakeholders”, he said. The European Commission established an EU network against corruption to foster collaboration, identify trends and maximise the impact and coherence of European efforts to prevent and fight corruption.

Successful international collaborations include the Anti-Corruption Partnership Forum, with a number of international organisations (IOs) -- OECD, UNODC, IMF, World Bank, GRECO, the African Union, Organization of American States, and the League of Arab States -- to better coordinate activities, evaluations, and common efforts.

France Chain mentioned also joint concrete actions with non-governmental stakeholders through collective action, as well as involving strategic partners in country reviews,  the review of the 2021 Anti-Bribery Recommendation and developing concrete tools, such as Toolkit for raising awareness and preventing corruption in SMEs and Drivers of compliance.

Sara Carnegie in a zoom webinar for the February 2024 Event Fostering Cultures of Integrity

Sara Carnegie, Director of Legal Project, IBA, observed that “cross-sector collaboration is vital –the legal profession must continue to be centrally involved. IBA’s Gatekeepers Project examines the professional role of lawyers as ethical gatekeepers within wider society and to help clarify the ethical responsibilities and obligations of lawyers when providing legal services.

International organizations need to ally themselves to bolster the impact of the calls they make to government and business for change – but they need the support of the private sector – whether law firm or accountancy” she noted.

According to Scarlet Wannenwetsch, the private sector is a key stakeholder that needs to be at the table when it comes to developing corruption prevention strategies, such as for example the Anti-corruption Collective Action, sparked by Transparency International and the World Bank.

“These kind of private sector initiatives work to self-regulate and focus on ensuring the implementation of agreed-upon standards – these need to be leveraged more effectively as well as acknowledged and incentivized by policymakers at national and international level”, she pleaded. 

How to foster cultures of integrity and active enforcement

For Sara Carnegie, leadership is key. The culture disseminated from the top of extremely hierarchical professions impacts the way that people behave, particularly in terms of upholding regulations, and seeking to foster a progressive culture of change. An institutional structure needs to be embedded, countering the race to the bottom where profit is the prime motivator.

Jeroen Blomsma added that, “Integrity is fostered by changing mindsets. Awareness-raising and civic education are key; this needs to start with young people, who will set the tone for the future.”

“Strong and clear ethical frameworks, with the structures and institutions required to implement them, are powerful tools. But without enforcement mechanisms -- such as sanctions -- these frameworks are not as effective in shaping behaviour. Transparency can mitigate this, within limits. Enforcement and implementation can greatly benefit from technological solutions,” he explained.

For France Chain, fostering a culture of integrity implies strengthening legal frameworks -- including anti-corruption legislation but also compliance, whistleblower protection, and disclosure of information (public procurement processes, financial disclosure). Independent and well-resourced law enforcement, enhanced monitoring, including through use of new technologies and data analytics, are also key – as are broader awareness-raising and educational efforts.

Have a look at the key recommendations from our speakers 


Basel Institute
European Commission
Cecile Bonino
Cecile Bonino

Principal, Global Engagement

Cecile Bonino is Principal of Global Engagement for IFAC. She bridges global organizations' relationship management, policy support, event management, and brand awareness. A lawyer by education, Cecile has 20 years of experience in public affairs and public relations. Before joining IFAC, Cecile worked for 13 years at ACCA, where she headed EU Affairs and the ACCA Brussels office, working with European decision and policymakers, Media and key influencers, as well as global organizations. Prior to this, Cécile worked as a consultant in financial services, energy, environment, and climate change at Weber Shandwick and as Environment and Legal Affairs adviser at the European Landowners Organisation. At the beginning of her career, Cécile also worked at the DG TRADE of the European Commission, the DG Development of the College of Europe, and the law firm, Gide Loyrette Nouel. In 2012, Cécile won the ‘Public Affairs Professional of the Year’ prize at the European Public Affairs Awards.

Dr. Susanna Di Feliciantonio

Head of EU Public Affairs, ICAEW

Dr. Susanna Di Feliciantonio is Head of EU Public Affairs, based in the ICAEW Europe Region Office (Brussels). She is responsible for positioning ICAEW as an authoritative commentator within the European public policy arena, focusing on areas of interest to the accountancy profession, including corporate governance and public financial management.