Using Mexico as a case study, Building Foundations for Trust and Integrity looks at how developing trust in public-private cooperation can address corruption in Latin America. The report is part of the third phase of the Forum’s Partnering Against Corruption Initiative (PACI) project to address the needs of the Infrastructure and Urban Development industries (IU). Mexico has experienced unprecedented civic mobilization to curb corruption and has the potential to become a regional model for reform.
The report, produced in collaboration with Deloitte, explores how government, business and civil society perceive corruption and how much they trust each other when professionally engaging. In a survey, the vast majority of respondents said they perceive the public sector as extremely to moderately likely to act corruptly when engaging professionally. This coincides with a loss of trust across all stakeholders in Mexico today, compared to 5-10 years ago. The report also found a severe lack of trust in the ability of the judiciary system to implement and enforce its legal duties, which leads to a tremendous sense of impunity.
Yet the report highlights the success of the private sector, civil society and government in responding to public demands to address corruption. The new National Anti-Corruption System and national data policy provide strong evidence of reform when combined with private-sector demand to tackle unethical behaviour. Mexico’s multistakeholder approach has the potential to become a regional model for effectively reducing corruption.
The report identifies practical actions and key enablers to build trust and integrity over the long and short term. In the long term, “training and education” and “values and culture” are perceived as the most effective areas to build systemic trust and integrity. “Leading by example” has both short- and long-term effectiveness, which suggests further focus on building individual and institutional integrity. Both the public sector and private sector regard “enforcement of rule of law” as a top priority.
Technology is also considered to be a cross-cutting enabler that can expedite change, particularly in the IU sector. It has the potential to build trust and integrity with e-governance systems, open contract partnerships and open data. Approximately 80% of those surveyed responded positively when asked if technology is a key enabler for creating a culture of integrity.
Given that corruption is one of the main impediments to the stability, growth and competitiveness of economies in Latin America, in particular Mexico, the report recommends that business and government leaders should consider anti-corruption measures a key imperative.
“The central recommendation for the Infrastructure and Urban Development Industry community is to fast-track engagement with the underlying issues of corruption. This will require understanding and reshaping behavioural norms to act as an industry with the highest standards of integrity, and rebuilding trust across a diversity of stakeholders,” said Pedro Rodrigues de Almeida, Head of PACI and Member of the Executive Committee at the World Economic Forum.
Penelope Lepeudry, Project Adviser and Partner, Deloitte, Switzerland, said: “The project has shown that a multifaceted approach and continuous dialogue are critical in fighting corruption and restoring trust in business and government. Advancing the anti-corruption agenda requires strong and continuous commitment from all stakeholders to train and educate, act as role models and fight impunity.”
“Mexico has made a bold commitment to fight corruption at every level in collaboration with civil society. However, we are aware that we still face great challenges; but with every step closer to our goal, we make irreversible changes,” said Arely Gómez González, Secretary of Public Administration of Mexico.
Juan Pablo Castañón Castañón, Chairman of the Business Coordinating Council of Mexico, said: "Corruption represents the biggest obstacle to doing business and has exacerbated the crisis of trust in public institutions. It is also a market barrier that prevents small businesses from growing. Today, it is imperative that the public and private sectors unite to crusade against corruption in favour of a culture of genuine legality."