UN calls on society to act against Corruption

December 09, 2011 - " Act - Against Corruption Today". This is the motto of the new United Nations global campaign against corruption, launched in social medias today, 9 December, International Day against Corruption, by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime ( UNODC) and the United Nations Development Programme ( UNDP).

The idea is to make each and every citizen feel responsible for fighting corruption, whether in the smaller episodes of daily life, whether in acts of monitoring, investigating and reporting of corruption.

In other word, the campaign seeks to encourage all sectors of society to act against corruption. After all, an ethical behavior must be present in all spheres of society - in the political, legal, legislative, public, private business, but especially in our daily life.

According to the UN Convention against Corruption preventing and countering corruption requires a multi-sectoral approach, involving different actors, particularly those outside the public sector, and civil society, nongovernmental organizations and the community.

In his message on the International Anti-Corruption Day this year, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, mentioned the so-called "Arab Spring" and called everyone to engage in the fight against this crime. "Although the poor may be marginalized by corruption, they will not be silenced," he adds. "In events across the Arab world and beyond this year, ordinary people have joined their voices in denouncing corruption and demanding that Governments combat this crime against democracy. Their protests have triggered changes on the international scene that could barely have been imagined just months previously… All of us have a responsibility to take action against the cancer of corruption", said Ban Ki-moon.

Since 2009, UNDP and UNODC work together in promoting public awareness campaigns on the International Day against Corruption, in order to involve and mobilize society to act against corruption.

All campaign material is available for download in low and high resolution. Access, share it, and disseminate it. Act - Against Corruption Today!


According to the World Bank every year, nearly USD$ 1 trillion is lost to corruption around the world. In Brazil alone, the resources involved in acts of corruption in the federal public sector are estimated in U.S. $ 41 billion.

Corruption hinders efforts to achieve the internationally agreed Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), undermines democracy and the rule of law, leads to violations of human rights, distorts markets, erodes quality of life and allows organized crime, terrorism and other threats to human security to flourish. It contributes to instability, poverty and is a dominant factor driving fragile countries

towards state failure.

Present in rich and poor countries corruption affects mainly the most vulnerable. The money diverted by corruption ceases to be invested in improvements in key areas such as health, education, infrastructure, and other challenges to build an egalitarian, democratic and transparent society.

States with high levels of corruption are more vulnerable to economic instability, as corruption drives investments away.

The concept of corruption is wide, including bribes and kickbacks, fraud, misappropriation of funds or any other diversion of funds by a public agent. Moreover, it can involve cases of nepotism, extortion, trading in influence, use of privileged information for personal purposes and selling of judicial sentences, among other practices.

The United Nations Convention against Corruption

Since 2005, the United Nations work with Member States to ratify and implement the UN Convention against Corruption. Ratified by 155 countries, the Convention establishes four main lines of action: prevention, investigation, criminal prosecution, and asset recovery.

UNODC and UNDP in the fight against Corruption

Acting as the Convention's guardian, UNODC keeps a global program to assist Member States, especially developing countries, to apply the Convention's provisions. To that end, it offers technical assistance directed to both the public and private sectors. One of UNODC's goals in this area is to assist signatory countries in developing the technical capacity required to effectively apply the Convention.

UNDP tackles corruption in its efforts to reduce poverty, achieve sustainable development and help countries reach the MDGs. Reaching these eight goals and ensuring a better future for the most vulnerable people on the planet will depend largely on how well developing countries are governed, and on how efficient and equitable they are in generating, allocating and managing their resources. With this in mind, UNDP helps to strengthen the capacity of governance institutions so that they work more effectively and, working closely with its partners, offers assistance and advice to developing countries on how to tackle corruption. UNDP focuses on strengthening the role of the media and civil society to mobilize citizens to participate in public affairs.

More information:

Andrea Catta Preta /UNODC



Tel: (+55 61) 3204 7206

Cel.: (+55 61) 8118 0910

Daniel de Castro/ UNDP

Tel: (+55 61) 3038 9117


Jacob Said / UNDP

Tel: (+55 61) 3038 9118



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