VIENNA –U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Vice President of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly, released the following statement on combating corruption today during the Winter Meeting of the OSCE PA.
“We are elected officials. And as such, we hold the sacred trust of our constituents. When the public trusts their leaders, government is more effective and the nation as a whole benefits. Corruption is like a weed that must be constantly rooted up again and again. It’s an ongoing campaign, not a one-time victory. The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly has talked a lot about tackling this issue, but there is more we can and must do.”
“Corruption directly connects to the issue of energy security — an area that this body has discussed consistently, demonstrating how fighting corruption in the oil, gas and mining sector increases overall energy security.”
“Voluntary initiatives such as the Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative have shown us how far we can come and how high we can raise the bar to fight corruption. Transparency should be the global norm. The more tools we have to publicize information about our natural resources the more transparent and accountable we become. In September of last year I introduced the Energy Security Through Transparency Act in the U.S. Senate. The bill requires all companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges to disclose their payments made in the oil, gas and mining sector. I think this information is important to shareholders and is important to citizens so they can hold their own governments accountable.”
“Corruption is also a factor in our efforts to combat climate change. Forestry carbon offsets are an important part of fighting climate change and reaching development goals. I’m concerned, however, because if all goes as planned, we could see up to $30 billion a year transferred to governments with endangered forests. This money could be a great help to the people of these developing countries, but it could also be a devastating new source of corruption.”
“I’m calling for transparency in offset programs because it is critical to achieving lasting reductions in deforestation, which can contribute directly to reducing global carbon emissions and curbing global warming. The lessons we have learned from the global movement for transparency in natural resources, such as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, must be translated effectively to the offset programs, and I am working hard to ensure that we have strong measures in place to prevent corruption and ensure the integrity of the offset system.”