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Our fight against corruption

As a public-benefit federal enterprise in the field of sustainable development, GIZ is in the public eye worldwide. We have a high level of accountability for the funds entrusted to us.

Using taxpayers’ money responsibly and protecting it against corruption are top priorities. Corruption involves high risks of criminal prosecution for individuals and immense reputational risks for companies. The mere suggestion of corruption can be damaging. As awareness of corruption rises among policy-makers and civil society, the range of commissioning parties and clients broadens, and commissions and projects grow more and more complex, GIZ is increasingly called upon to reinforce its commitment to ensure that it acts with integrity, complies with the rules, and actively combats corruption. For this reason, our framework conditions are designed to prevent corruption.

Photo: Two women standing at a marker board. One writes, the other looks on.
© GIZ / Sabrina Asche

Anti-corruption at GIZ

Corruption has many facets. At GIZ, we define it as the abuse or misuse, for personal gain, of the power conferred by public office or through private sector authorisations. This includes giving and accepting bribes, embezzlement, nepotism, fraud or kickback payments, i.e. the payment of commissions between the parties involved in a transaction. Certain conflicts of interest can also constitute a form of corruption.

At GIZ, we have an anti-corruption management system that enables us to proactively tackle the problem. Its goal is to foster an anti-corruption culture, which permanently hones awareness of corrupt actions and encourages all staff to take measures against incidents of this sort. Anti-corruption management is a key component of GIZ’s compliance management system.

For the projects that we realise on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), we are also guided by its quality criteria strategy on anti-corruption and integrity. In addition, we are a corporate member of Transparency International.

Embedded globally
in all GIZ offices

GIZ has established a systematic compliance management system across its entire field structure and at the Head Office. Special compliance teams organise and manage additional compliance processes in countries with a potentially increased compliance risk. Responsibility for implementing these processes rests with each country director. In order to minimise any risks identified, appropriate countermeasures are introduced and their effectiveness is reviewed on a regular basis.

Raising awareness and
recognising violations

Corruption is rarely recognisable at first glance. The Code of Conduct is designed to support employees in identifying and avoiding corruption risks and conflicts of interest. New staff are sensitised from the outset to recognise situations with a high corruption risk. All new GIZ staff must successfully complete the basic online compliance module, and there is also a compulsory module specifically for managers, which they must repeat every three years.

Members of staff, project partners, clients and commissioning parties and members of the general public wishing to report a possible violation can contact the compliance officers and an external ombudsperson in confidence. An online portal has been added to GIZ’s tried-and-tested whistleblower system. It can be accessed from all over the world, is available in several languages 24/7, and can be used anonymously throughout the processing procedure.

Below you will find information about the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) sustainability standards on the vital topic of compliance and anti-corruption:

GRI 2: General Disclosures 2021

Material topic 8: Compliance and anti-corruption