Corruption is a barrier to achieving universally accepted development goals, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Monday, while calling on governments, the private sector and civil society to take a collective stand against this social, political and economic disease affecting all countries.
“To achieve an equitable, inclusive and more prosperous future for all, we must foster a culture of integrity, transparency, accountability and good governance,” the secretary-general said in his message for International Anti-Corruption Day.
Corruption has a devastating impact across the world. The World Bank estimates that every year between $20 billion and $40 billion are lost from developing countries due to corruption and bribery, but the scourge also impacts developed economies. In his message, the secretary-general stressed that corruption prevents achievement of the global anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and needs to be taken into account in defining and implementing a robust post-2015 development agenda.
“Good governance is critical for sustainable development,” Ban noted, adding that corruption suppresses economic growth by driving up costs, breaches human rights, increases inequality, and undermines the sustainable management of natural resources.
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) Monday launched the ‘Zero Corruption – 100% Development’ campaign, designed by young people for young people to raise awareness about corruption.
The campaign focuses on the corrosive effects of corruption on development, highlighting that this crime undermines democracy and the rule of law, leads to human rights violations, distorts markets, erodes quality of life and allows organized crime and other threats to security to flourish, according to the joint campaign website.
To highlight the impact of corruption in the world of sport and business, the UN Global Compact, in collaboration with UNDP, today launched a Call to Action to mobilize private and public partners to engage in transparent procurement.
The UN has also developed guidelines to help businesses fight corruption in sport sponsorship and hospitality, Mr. Ban noted in his message.
The first global legally binding international anti-corruption instrument was the UN Convention against Corruption, which today marks its tenth anniversary. It was adopted by the General Assembly in 2003, the same year that the body designated 9 December as International Anti-Corruption Day to raise awareness of both corruption and the role of the Convention in combating and preventing it.
“The Convention is countering corruption in the areas of development, the environment, in the private sector, during major public events, match-fixing, asset recovery, and in many other areas of our lives,” said Yury Fedotov, the Executive Director of UNODC, which houses the Convention’s Secretariat.
At least 171 of the UN’s 193 Member States have so far ratified the Convention. It includes a review mechanism enabling countries to review their peers in a partnership process. In its fourth year, the review mechanism has helped 35 States to improve their anti-corruption laws, and led to the training of 1,400 experts, noted Fedotov.
“This spirit of cooperation is necessary,” he said. “Corruption is not simply a developed or developing nation’s problem, it is the challenge of every person, and every nation. The review mechanism mirrors this unpalatable fact.”
Corruption suppresses economic growth by driving up costs, and undermines the sustainable management of the environment and natural resources. It breaches fundamental human rights, exacerbates poverty and increases inequality by diverting funds from health care, education and other essential services. The malignant effects of corruption are felt by billions of people everywhere. It is driven by and results in criminal activity, malfunctioning state institutions and weak governance.
Good governance is critical for sustainable development, and vital in combating organized crime. Every link in the trafficking chain is vulnerable to corruption, from the bribes paid to corrupt officials by dealers in arms and drugs to the fraudulent permits and licenses used to facilitate the illicit trade in natural resources.
Corruption is also rife in the world of sport and business, and in public procurement processes. In the last decade, the private sector has increasingly recognized its role in fighting corruption. A Call to Action launched by the United Nations Global Compact and partners is mobilizing businesses and Governments to engage in transparent procurement. Guidelines are also being developed to help business fight corruption in sport sponsorship and hospitality.
The UN is strongly committed to fulfilling its own obligations. Operating in some of the world’s most unstable environments, the UN faces multifaceted corruption risks that can undermine our efforts to advance development, peace and human rights. We have developed a robust system of internal controls and continue to remain vigilant and work hard to set an example of integrity.
Corruption is a barrier to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and needs to be taken into account in defining and implementing a robust post-2015 development agenda. The UN Convention against Corruption, adopted 10 years ago, is the paramount global framework for preventing and combating corruption. Full implementation depends crucially on effective prevention, law enforcement, international cooperation and asset recovery. On this International Anti-Corruption Day, I urge Governments, the private sector and civil society to take a collective stand against this complex social, political and economic disease that affects all countries. To achieve an equitable, inclusive and more prosperous future for all, we must foster a culture of integrity, transparency, accountability and good governance.