Remarks of Mr. Yury Fedotov, UNODC Executive Director, on International Anti-Corruption Day, 9 December
Corruption is a global phenomenon that impedes development and promotes inequality and injustice.
Reductions in poverty and achieving the Millennium Development Goals are directly threatened by corruption.
As a result, across the globe, on any day, at any given time, the hopes and aspirations of ordinary people are being ruined by corruption. This has fuelled widespread discontent and led to popular uprisings and protests.
The Arab spring is one result of this growing discontent. Millions of people have come together to voice their emphatic rejection of corruption, and demanded that governments do more to combat this crime against democracy and promote equitable development. It is a cry that must be heeded by everyone - Member States, the private sector, media and civil society. Every actor has a responsibility to act against corruption.
UNODC's own response is founded on the United Nations Convention against Corruption, opened for signature by Member States on 9 t December 2003 in Merida, Mexico. I urge the remaining 35 Member States of the UN who have not yet ratified or acceded to the Convention to do so as quickly as possible.
Others must play their part as well. The private sector has a prominent role. Corruption distorts markets and increases costs for companies, and ultimately consumers. Companies must help to foster development and create a more transparent global economy through anti-corruption programmes. Building strong and productive partnerships between the private and public sectors is crucial.
The cooperation of civil society is also needed to resist corruption, build cultures of integrity and deliver change. Policies must be developed to support the poor, women and minorities by increasing public participation in decision-making.
Education is a key area and Member States need to strengthen awareness-raising throughout all sectors of society. The youth of today need to have the ethics and integrity to reject the corruption of tomorrow. The media can play a fundamental role by exposing corruption wherever it arises.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme and others, works towards helping States to establish or strengthen institutional and legislative frameworks and, more importantly, to achieve coordination between all relevant stakeholders. Furthermore, development programmes in countries with economies in transition are helping ordinary people to rebuild their lives and restore democratic institutions.
The StAR initiative under the Convention against Corruption is helping to ensure that illicit assets hidden abroad are traced, confiscated and returned to the countries of origin.
For the sake of development and justice, and in the spirit of cooperation, I call on everyone to act against corruption today.