For far too long, the world’s poorest people have seen no benefit from the vast natural resources in their own backyards.
It is time to end the injustice where ordinary people are silent witnesses, left to suffer without basic services, as the profits from their countries’ assets are hidden and plundered by corrupt regimes.
There need to be strict new rules about how payments to developing countries from the oil, gas and mining industries are recorded. Shining a light on where this money is actually going will help people hold their governments to account over how this money is actually spent.
The United States Government has raised the bar by publishing tough new rules that will apply to US listed companies. The European Union must now follow suit and the Coalition Government will be pushing for those rules to be matched in Brussels.
Next month’s meeting offers an historic opportunity for Europe to take a big leap forward in fighting corruption on behalf of some of the poorest people in the world.
The best way to minimise the impact on business, while simultaneously increasing transparency and cracking down on corruption, is to ensure that the EU introduces rules similar to the high standards already introduced by the US.
I would like to pay tribute to ONE, to Bono’s energy and leadership and to the thousands of ONE members across the world who have campaigned tirelessly to keep this issue on the agenda.
Millions of people in developing countries languish in poverty while their corrupt governments squander or hide large payments from foreign companies.
Strong EU action to create a new global standard for transparency in the extractive industry can help these citizens hold their governments to account. I’m determined that the UK will play a leading role within the EU to make the most of this opportunity.