Dimensions of Transparency

Transparency and accountability are central to good governance and ethical business dealings. The Global Standard aims to develop a set of common principles and standards for propriety, integrity and transparency in international business and finance. To restore confidence in our economies among consumers and investors, we must act to forge a stronger, cleaner and fairer world economy. This calls for strengthening the rules by which market economies operate. It also demands the observance of fundamental standards of propriety, integrity and transparency in business dealings. Some of the business related areas requiring greater transparency are:

Banking: Banking transparency and disclosure of bank activities are suggested to prevent future banking crises, underground banking, unpublished accounts (clear stream), money laundering, tax evasion, and other fraud. Forcing banks to disclose more information about their lending and investment in deprived areas is suggested as part of the fight against financial exclusion.

Corporate: Corporate transparency, a form of radical transparency is the construct of removing all barriers to —and facilitating of— free and easy public access to corporate, political and personal information and the laws, rules, social connivance and processes that facilitate and protect those individuals and corporations who freely join, develop and embellish the process. Radical transparency is a management method where nearly all decision making is carried out publicly. All draft documents, all arguments for and against a proposal, the decisions about the decision making process itself, and all final decisions, are made publicly and remain publicly archived.

Media: Media Transparency is the concept of determining how and why information is conveyed through various means. If the media and the public know everything that happens in all authorities and county administrations there will be a lot of questions, protests and suggestions coming from media and the public. People who are interested in a certain issue will try to influence the decisions. Transparency creates an everyday participation in the political processes by media and the public. There are, for anybody who is interested, many ways to influence the decisions at all levels in.

Politics: In politics transparency is introduced as a means of holding public officials accountable and of fighting corruption. When government meetings are open to the press and the public, when budgets and financial statements may be reviewed by anyone, when laws, rules and decisions are open to discussion, they are seen as transparent and there is less opportunity for the authorities to abuse the system in their own interest.

Extractive Industries: Oil, gas and minerals, or the ‘extractive industries’ generate great wealth. Oil export revenues alone were estimated at US $866 billion for 2006. This represents approximately 1.8 percent of the World’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for that year and more than half of the combined GDP of the 53 lowest income nations in the same time period. High revenues from the extractive industries have often fuelled corruption, economic stagnation, inequality and conflict. This paradox has been labelled the ‘resource curse’. One step towards reversing this curse lies in the transparent and accountable management of revenues generated from the extractive industries.