India: Human values at the heart of acting against corruption - Commemorating the International Anti-Corruption Day

In our globalised, highly interconnected world, corruption represents one of our greatest challenges. There is no country or territory untouched by this threat, which erodes democratic institutions and undermines the rule of law - Yury Fedotov, UNODC Executive Director

Commemorating International Anti-Corruption Day 2012, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime partnered with NGOs, the private sector and the Government to spread awareness and move towards a corruption free society.

With the aim of creating awareness amongst the youth, UNODC has partnered with the "Art of Living" in its new national initiative "Volunteer for a Better India" 1.  On December 5, a curtain raiser was organized, which  served as a platform to sensitize youth on the importance of adopting a zero tolerance approach towards corrupt practises. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the founder of "Art of Living" launched the initiative. In his address he stressed on the importance of ridding society of corruption. A society ridden with crime and corruption is not safe for its citizens and it is the citizens who need to stand up against it. He highlighted the need for  integrity, compassion and inner strength which would allow individuals to live a life free of corruption. The event  brought together 200 youth, NGO partners, UN agencies and the media. UNODC disseminated whistles, T-shirts, posters and postcards on anti-corruption and encouraged the youth to share this material with friends and family 2.

UNODC also partnered with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Academy, Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, India to reach out to senior officials from State Anti-Corruption Bureaux/Vigilance departments, CBI, National Investigation Agency and the Enforcement Directorate. The one-day workshop 3 organized on December 7 focused on international cooperation and asset recovery, two important chapters of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), the only universal legally binding instrument to counter corruption. The participants shared practical difficulties they face with regards to international cooperation and asset recovery when investigating corruption cases.

Regarding the private sector, there is  a growing consensus on the critical  role that it  can play in acting against  corruption. This year representatives of the  private sector approached  UNODC to commemorate International Anti-Corruption Day jointly. In a panel discussion 4 organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and UNODC, representatives from various private sector organizations discussed the challenges faced by the business sector and how they see that corruption can be dealt with within the business sector.  Suggestions included the development of business integrity models, internal rules for transparency in business operations, rewarding most transparent companies, appointment of ombudsman offices and the implementation of a whistleblower policy.

A common conclusion in all three events revolved around the need for vigilant citizens and the need to rebuild the social fabric on strong ethical values including honesty, integrity and responsibility.

To know more about UNODC's campaign against corruption visit:


  1. The "Volunteer for a Better India" initiative is to be held in February 2013 and is a movement towards building an informed, equitable and non-discriminatory India, with a focus on empowering young leadership and strengthening human values. The initiative is being organized by the Art of Living in collaboration with NGO partners and UN partners including UNODC.
  2. The material produced was part of a joint UN (UNDP and UNODC) anti-corruption campaign 'ACT - against corruption today'
  3. The workshop at the CBI Academy, Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh was supported by AusAID and CBI.
  4. The panel discussion was supported by FICCI and CII.