Within the framework of the Fifth Regional Integrity Week in Latin America, the Alliance for Integrity has officially launched its new office in Ecuador. This important milestone was possible thanks to the request of the National Federation of Chambers of Industries which aims to strengthen business integrity in the Ecuadorian ecosystem. In collaboration with the national programme Ecuador SinCero – Prevention of Corruption, Transparency and Citizen Participation that is implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, the Alliance for Integrity is now starting its activities in the country.
The launch event was officially opened by Mr. Hubert Mükusch, Head of International Cooperation of the German Embassy in Ecuador. “Corruption is an obstacle to the efficient use of public and private resources. It undermines democracy by creating distrust in institutions among citizens. The work of the Alliance for Integrity is therefore particularly important in creating equal opportunities for everyone”, he stated. Ms. Christiane Danne, Country Director at GIZ Ecuador, added that after several discussions with the Ecuadorian Government, all parties agreed to set up a project aiming to prevent corruption and promote transparency in the Ecuadorian ecosystem. This led to the creation of Ecuador SinCero. She emphasised that the Federation of Chambers of Industry was the driving force for Ecuador to become part of the Alliance for Integrity. To define the expectations, Susanne Friedrich, Director of the Alliance for Integrity, invited all participants to an open exchange, which will be further deepened in bilateral meetings with all partners involved in the upcoming weeks.
The event, which was attended by more than 200 participants, was one of the most popular of the entire Regional Integrity Week. Similarly, it received attention from various media, reaching coverage both in the written press and on one of the main news programmes on national television. The great response underlines the high relevance of the topic and the importance of the initiative’s work in the region.
As part of the launch event, a panel discussion on “Challenges and Opportunities for Ecuador in Terms of Integrity in a Context of Uncertainty and Economic Reactivation” was carried out. Representatives of civil society, government as well as the local and regional business sector agreed that the involvement of all relevant stakeholders is essential to promote integrity in a holistic manner. Evangelina Gómez-Durañona, Executive Director of the Ecuadorian Consortium for Social Responsibility, highlighted that companies need to develop, implement and continuously adapt effective compliance measures in order to establish a culture of integrity. “However, this is by no means a matter that only concerns big companies. SMEs are also challenged to maintain high integrity standards in order to gain a competitive advantage and to be able to maintain business continuity even in times of crisis,” added María Fernanda Ordóñez, Undersecretary of Public Administration and Transparency. Pablo Zambrano, President of the National Federation of Chambers of Industry of Ecuador and Chair of the new Advisory Group Ecuador, stressed that personal and institutional commitment is needed to make Ecuador SinCero an effective and sustainable project that includes the contributions of all parts of society. “This is a new chapter for the Alliance for Integrity, but also for Ecuador. It is a great opportunity to join our forces in the global fight against corruption”, concluded María Elvira Olmos, Director of Ethics, Risks and Compliance at Novartis.
From this point on, it will be the task of the Advisory Group Ecuador, composed of representatives across all sectors and led by the National Federation of Chambers of Industry of Ecuador, to successfully establish the initiative in the country. The primary focus in the upcoming years will be on building sustainable structures to continue the work of the initiative in the long term.
Author: Juan Sebastián Segovia