Corruption is a complex social, political and economic phenomenon that affects all countries. Corruption undermines democratic institutions, slows economic development and contributes to governmental instability. The United Nations observes 9th December as the International Anti-Corruption Day.
“On this International Day, I urge people everywhere to continue to work on innovative solutions to win the battle against corruption and to ensure that precious resources serve the peoples of the world,” said the UN Secretary-General António Guterres in his message.
History of International Anti-Corruption Day:
On 31st October 2003, the General Assembly adopted the United Nations Convention against Corruption and requested that the Secretary-General designate the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) as secretariat for the Convention’s Conference of States Parties (resolution 58/4).
The Assembly also designated 9th December as International Anti-Corruption Day, to raise awareness of corruption and of the role of the Convention in combating and preventing it. The Convention entered into force in December 2005.
Significance of International Anti-Corruption Day:
Every year $1 trillion is paid in bribes while an estimated $2.6 trillion are stolen annually through corruption – a sum equivalent to more than 5 per cent of the global GDP. In developing countries, according to the United Nations Development Programme, funds lost to corruption are estimated at 10 times the amount of official development assistance.
Corruption is a serious crime that can undermine social and economic development in all societies. No country, region or community is immune.
Corruption attacks the foundation of democratic institutions by distorting electoral processes, perverting the rule of law and creating bureaucratic quagmires whose only reason for existing is the soliciting of bribes. Economic development is stunted because foreign direct investment is discouraged and small businesses within the country often find it impossible to overcome the “start-up costs” required because of corruption.
Governments, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, the media and citizens around the world are joining forces to fight this crime. The United Nations Development Programme(UNDP) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) are at the forefront of these efforts.
Theme of International Anti-Corruption Day 2019:
To mark International Anti-Corruption Day, the United Nations will leverage the recognition of the multi-year “United Against Corruption” theme and will continue to support the 2030 Agenda, which forms the backbone of the campaign. In addition, the campaign will also have a youth component.
The global campaign #UnitedAgainstCorruption focuses on corruption as one of the biggest obstacles to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The abuse of entrusted power for private gain can cost people their freedom, health, life and future.
A new generation of change-makers needs to place accountability and integrity at the centre of global leadership across business, politics, media and civil society. Mobilising and empowering #YouthForJustice is key for ensuring sustainable solutions to combating corruption.