SEATTLE — To mark International Anti-Corruption Day on December 9, the United Nations launched a campaign to end corruption around the world with the theme: Break the Corruption Chain.
Together, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the UN Development Program (UNDP) urged governments, the private sector and the general public to jointly tackle corruption by altering their attitudes towards the problem.
“Global attitudes towards corruption have changed dramatically,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “Where once bribery, corruption and illicit financial flows were often considered part of the cost of doing business, today corruption is widely — and rightly — understood as criminal and corrosive.”
The 2015 joint international campaign for Anti-Corruption Day focused on how corruption undermines democracy and law and order. It emphasized that corruption leads to human rights violations, distorted markets, poorer quality of life, the flourishing of organized crime, terrorism and other threats to human security.
The #breakthechain Anti-Corruption Day campaign highlighted that corruption is a cross-cutting crime, impacting many areas. It demonstrates that acting against corruption is necessary to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all.
According to Ki-moon “The new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, our plan to end poverty and ensure lives of dignity for all, recognizes the need to fight corruption in all its aspects and calls for significant reductions in illicit financial flows as well as for the recovery of stolen assets.”
Ki-moon stressed that, “Corruption has disastrous impacts on development when funds that should be devoted to schools, health clinics and other vital public services are instead diverted into the hands of criminals or dishonest officials.
“Corruption exacerbates violence and insecurity. It can lead to dissatisfaction with public institutions, disillusion with government in general, and spirals of anger and unrest,” said Ki-moon.
The UN offers several suggestions on Anti-Corruption Day that can be performed on an individual level: education; engaging community youth and empowering them to learn about ethics; raising awareness across the public, media and government; increased reporting of acts of corruption; and refusal to participate in activities that are not legal and transparent.
Speaking on behalf of the United States for Anti-Corruption Day, Secretary of State John Kerry released a statement calling bad governance one of the biggest global challenges.
“The cost of corruption is beyond debate: it fuels instability and robs innocent people of their due and their possibilities,” said Kerry. “The United States remains steadfast in its commitment to advance democratic accountability and transparency, and to root out corruption wherever it lies.”
Sources: Anti-Corruption Day, State, UN 1, UN 2, UN 3
Photo: United Nations Campaign