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March 2011 U.S. Ambassador Supports U.S.-Russian Civil Society Cooperation

On March 16, U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Beyrle made a speech to the “3rd Russia and CIS Anti-Corruption Summit” in Moscow. The Ambassador provided a balanced discourse on bilateral cooperation between the United States and Russia to counter the transnational threat of official corruption. He discussed how governments, business and civil society each have a special role to play. After discussing steps that both the U.S. and Russian governments are taking to counter corruption, Ambassador Beyrle expressed strong support for civil society organizations, including Center for Business Ethics and Corporate Governance, which are taking initiative to work with the governments. He cited the Center’s participation in the “U.S.-Russia Working Group on Anti-Corruption and Institutional Integrity” under the auspices of the “U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission”.

Since being formed in July 2009, the U.S.-Russia Working Group has met six times to discuss how to facilitate implementation of the “UN Convention against Corruption”, which has been ratified by both the United States and Russia. The Working Group is focused in particular on development of freedom of information, protection of whistleblowers and public procurement reform.

Ambassador Beyrle also cited the Center’s work with leaders of the U.S. and Russian business community to create the Russian Energy Compliance Alliance, a public-private initiative to improve competition in the market for energy efficiency technologies.