G7 must fight ‘cancer of corruption’ - Cameron

Prime Minister David Cameron
Prime Minister David Cameron
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Bribery allegations at Fifa should act as a spur for the international community to target the “cancer” of corruption in organisations, businesses and governments around the globe, David Cameron is to tell world leaders at a major summit.

He will condemn an international “taboo” on pointing the finger at corrupt institutions, and will say that the Fifa scandal has shown how shining a spotlight on an organisation can provide the trigger for cleaning up its operations.

Mr Cameron will join US president Barack Obama, French president Francois Hollande, Italian PM Matteo Renzi, Canadian PM Stephen Harper and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe for the two-day gathering, hosted at Schloss Elmau in the Bavarian Alps by Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel.

Mrs Merkel has put climate change and sustainable development at the top of the agenda for the annual summit of the world’s leading industrialised economies beginning on Sunday, which will also focus on growth, security and the threat from terrorism and disease epidemics.

But Mr Cameron will argue that the issue of corruption - which he put at the heart of the UK’s agenda for its presidency of the body in 2013 - has a bearing on all these areas and must be discussed openly as part of the debate.

He will cite World Bank estimates that corruption adds 10% to business costs worldwide, with one trillion US dollars (£650 billion) paid in bribes every year.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) believes corruption costs around 5% of global GDP annually, while in developing countries it can add 25% to the cost of procurement, Mr Cameron will say.

Seven of the 10 most corrupt countries in sub-Saharan Africa are also in the bottom 10 on the human development index and infant mortality is twice as high in countries with the most corruption as in those with the least.

Mr Cameron will say that there is an onus on world leaders to do what they can to tackle the issue, and will call for action in the coming months to focus the efforts of the various international organisations tasked with combating corruption and ensure that they are working effectively with one another.

Anti-corruption measures should be at the heart of the new United Nations development goals for the coming 15 years due to be agreed in September, he will say.

British officials said the PM would speak of a “cancer of corruption that poisons and stifles” the progress which the G7 hopes to make on development and growth, and will say that the kind of scrutiny being applied to Fifa should not be restricted to the footballing body, but applied more widely. He is not, however, expected to name organisations and businesses which he would like to see put under the spotlight.

Demonstrations over climate change, wealth inequality and the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) US/EU free trade deal are expected outside the heavily guarded G7 venue, with a protest camp set up in the nearby town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen and around 35,000 attending a pre-summit rally in Munich on Thursday.

In an editorial published in newspapers around the world, Mrs Merkel said that the G7 should be “a model for the necessary transition to a low--carbon economy” and called for leaders to unite around a new international climate change agreement in Paris later this year.

But the German leader is coming under fire for her own country’s reliance on coal as its primary source of energy.

Oxfam released a report arguing that coal is the biggest driver of global warming, with climate change gases from G7 coal plants totalling twice the total fossil fuel emissions from the whole of Africa.

The report calculated a total bill of 450 billion US dollars (£293bn) by the end of the century for the damage resulting from climate change caused by G7 coal use, as well as the adaptation measures required to respond to it.

Urging G7 leaders to “go cold turkey on coal”, the charity said the UK could feasibly become coal-free by 2023 by shifting to lower-carbon energy sources.

Oxfam’s head of global policy and campaigns, Max Lawson, said: “The G7’s addiction to coal is hiking up costs for developing countries and putting more and more people on the front line of climate change at risk of hunger.”

Meanwhile campaigners at Global Justice Now (GJN) said they expect a Europe-wide petition against the TTIP deal to hit two million signatures in the coming week.

GJN trade campaigner Guy Taylor said: “There is clearly no mandate for the G7 leaders to be pushing ahead with this disastrous trade deal.

“TTIP may bring some economic benefits for a tiny handful of the business elite, but for the rest of us it would mean compromising vital public services, the stripping of regulations protecting labour rights and the environment, and a dramatic erosion of democratic process.”