OSCE PA members and experts discuss defending democracy against corruption at high-level conference in Nicosia, hosted by VP Charalambides

NICOSIA, 28 May 2022 – OSCE parliamentarians and experts gathered in Nicosia, Cyprus, for the two-day international conference on “Combating Corruption, Defending Democracy: the Role of National Parliaments” held on 27-28 May and hosted by the House of Representative of Cyprus.

Coming at the initiative of Vice-President and Special Representative on Fighting Corruption Irene Charalambides (Cyprus), the conference served as a platform to share experiences and best practices of national parliaments in combating corruption and enhancing transparency, with a focus on the contribution of independent institutions and investigative journalists.

emb img corrVice-President and Special Representative on Fighting Corruption Irene Charalambides addressing the conference, Nicosia, 26 May 2022Welcoming the participants to the event and opening the conference, Irene Charalambides underlined the role of national parliaments in preventing and fighting corruption. As part of their legislative, oversight, and representation functions, national parliaments should develop stringent regulatory frameworks and hold governments fully accountable to their citizens, she said. “Citizens bear heavy economic and social costs due to corrupt practices. In our democracies, our fellow citizens look to their Parliamentarians, to the people they have trusted and elected to set the framework of laws and oversee its implementation,” Charalambides said. “National Parliaments are very well equipped for this battle, and interparliamentary co-operation can also play a major role. I believe in the strength of the OSCE PA in this field. By maintaining anti-corruption a priority, with a committed leadership, we can significantly benefit members of our parliaments.”

Opening addresses were delivered by Annita Demetriou, President of the House of Representatives of Cyprus; Margareta Cederfelt (Sweden), OSCE PA President; Ioannis Kasoulides, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus; Ambassador Artur Dmochowski, Special Envoy of the OSCE Chairmanship-in-Office; and Roberto Montella, OSCE PA Secretary General.

Corruption poses a threat to our societies as it undermines the legitimacy of governments, said the President of the House of Representatives Demetriou. She added that no country is immune to corruption, and highlighted the importance of increased co-operation and co-ordination in advancing tools to fight corruption and to bring relevant cases to justice. Demetriou also said that exchanging best practices and sharing experiences is critical to enhance transparency and accountability.

“Fighting corruption has to remain a top priority in all OSCE participating States, as it galvanizes and exacerbates a range of security threats in the OSCE region, such as organized crime or terrorism, which are intrinsically linked to corruption,” said President Cederfelt. “Only our steadfast commitment towards combating corruption, in our national parliaments and interparliamentary formats, can ensure the upholding of the shared values enshrined in the Helsinki Final Act.”

Secretary General Montella expressed gratitude to Irene Charalambides and the parliament of Cyprus for organizing such an important conference. “I praise your determination in promoting a co-operative approach amongst leading international experts and organizations in the field of the fight against corruption, by building strong partnerships and finding policy convergence," said Montella. “By joining forces with all the major international players, members of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly can contribute with their unique parliamentary perspective and expertise, and provide significant added value to the global fight against corruption.”

emb img corr 2President of the House of Representatives of Cyprus Annita Demetriou addressing the conference, Nicosia, 27 May 2022Highlighting the centrality of principles of accountability and transparency to combat and eradicate corruption, members of parliament, authorities, experts and journalists discussed key policies to reinforce their co-operation in the field. Participants also identified political will as the key pre-requisite to sustain and implement long-term effective anti-corruption reforms. Strengthening the independence of key national institutions, such as supreme audit institutions, public prosecutors, judiciary systems and anti-corruption agencies, was also underlined by many as key needed reforms and areas where parliaments can play a primary role. Contributions by journalists highlighted how investigative journalism can be effective in drawing attention to corruption and wrongdoing. They also underlined the importance of adopting and implementing policies that would enable journalists to pursue reporting without fear of retaliation and protect whistleblowers and sources.

The conference was attended by over 150 participants, including 60 parliamentarians from around 30 OSCE participating States and featured distinguished keynote speakers representing the world’s leading anti-corruption organizations and representatives of international organizations. Parliamentarians heard expert contributions from Anita Ramasastry, OSCE CiO Special Representative for Combating Corruption; Hanne Juncher, GRECO Executive Secretary; Brigitte Stroberl-Shaw, UNODC, Chief of the Corruption and Economic Crime Branch; Roby Senderowitsch, Practice Manager, Governance ECA West, World Bank; Jon Vrushi, Research analyst at Transparency International; Konstantine Vardzelashvili, Head of Democratization Unit ad ODIHR; Costas Clerides, Former Attorney-General of the Republic of Cyprus; Drew Sullivan; OCCRP co-founder, Editor of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project; Franz Wild, Editor of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism’s Enablers Project; Odysseas Michaelides, Auditor-General of the Republic of Cyprus.

The conference also served to reinforce relations between the OSCE PA and the OSCE executive structures, namely the Special Representative on Fighting Corruption of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Anita Ramasastry, and the Co-ordinator of the Economic and Environmental Activities Ambassador Igli Hasani. Charalambides and Ramasastry reiterated their determination to engage in several high-level anti-corruption efforts in the coming months, including joint visits and public messaging, leveraging on their respective strengths to address the intersection of corruption with other security threats in the OSCE region.


For more on the work of the Special Representative on Fighting Corruption, please click here.

Photos of the conference are available on Flickr.



Nat Parry

Head of Communications and Press

Office: +45 33 37 80 55
Mobile: +45 60 10 81 77
Email: [email protected]

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