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14 MAY 2021

RICS international partnership with Commonwealth tackles global corruption

The Commonwealth Secretariat supported by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, and the Global Infrastructure Anti-Corruption Centre (GIACC) has launched a landmark set of measures to support international efforts in tackling corruption.

Since 2019, RICS Regulation has been supporting the Commonwealth and GIACC with its experience and expertise in developing and co-authoring the Benchmarks. This support has included working closely with the African Union, International Monetary Fund, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Commonwealth law ministries, Attorneys General, Anti-corruption agencies and Commonwealth partners – at each stage promoting the pivotal work and role of professionals, the surveying profession, the RICS and its members at the highest levels.

The UN estimates that corruption costs the annual global economy $3.6 trillion, with proceeds from criminal activities estimated at $1.3 trillion per year - equivalent to the total amount money required to successfully implement the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Corruption in land administration, including through the denial of land rights to women, children and local communities, is estimated to impact the lives of 1 in 5 citizens globally.

Corruption poses risks to the built and natural environment by undermining the proper functioning of governments, public services, and private sector commerce, resulting in overpriced and dangerous infrastructure projects. Corruption in the natural and built environment – whether through bribery and money laundering in construction or infrastructure projects or land corruption - undermines economic development, societal ecosystems and erodes sustainable development. Internationally, where there is currently no best practice, the benchmarks propose a set of recognised measures to reduce corruption.

These benchmarks represent a step-change in the co-ordination and integration of anti-corruption mechanisms - mechanisms which connect public, commercial, professional and legal enforcement expertise.

Taken together the mechanisms provide a framework for these communities to coordinate their activities to support proactive and, if necessary, punitive action.

Creating a framework through which these communities, their interests and responsibilities integrate leverages their collective power to transform the way that international and Commonwealth countries fight corruption.

Ultimately, this collective power can protect the poorest and most vulnerable in our societies whilst building a future free of corruption.

Christopher Alder
Global Director of Regulation, RICS

Throughout the world, including in member countries of the Commonwealth, corruption continues to undermine social and economic development and have immensely damaging consequences, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable of people and communities.

Our Commonwealth Anti-Corruption Benchmarks are a robust set of recommendations and good practices brought together as an interlocking identification, prevention and reporting system designed significantly to reduce the risk of corruption in the public and private sectors.

The Commonwealth Anti-Corruption Benchmarks package is a landmark initiative, unrivalled in scope and ambition, which I firmly believe provides a basis for transformational action in the Commonwealth and more widely towards ending the destructive scourge of corruption in all its forms.

Patricia Scotland
Commonwealth Secretary-General

For more information about the benchmarks, contact occjr@commonwealth.int