International Anti-Corruption Day: recognizing excellence in combatting corruption

International Anti-Corruption Day: recognizing excellence in combatting corruption. Image: UNODC9 December 2016 - Marking International Anti-Corruption Day, the inaugural Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani Anti-Corruption Excellence Award was presented today in Vienna to recognize significant global efforts to combat corruption. At a ceremony attended by His Highness, the Emir of the State of Qatar, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the Attorney-General of Qatar, Dr. Ali Bin Fetais Al Marri, and the UNODC Executive Director, Yury Fedotov, awards were presented in four categories: innovation, research, youth creativity and lifetime achievement.

The Award, established by the  Rule Of Law and Anti-corruption Center (ROLACC), is designed to support UNODC's anti-corruption mandate and highlight the importance of tackling corruption. It also seeks to encourage the implementation of the  United Nations Convention against Corruption as the world's only legally binding international anti-corruption treaty.

Coinciding with this event, a sculpture representing efforts in tackling corruption was also unveiled at the United Nations in Vienna. The structure, donated by Qatar, joins a range of other works situated around the UN grounds which highlight the varied work of the Organization. The sculpture is of a large hand, depicting the urgency of stopping corruption and saying "no" to this crime.

The Award itself is aimed at showcasing creative and outstanding achievements of anti-corruption efforts from across the globe and acts as both a tool to honour those who have shown dedication to tackling corruption and as an inspiration to others to replicate similar efforts. Commenting on this at the opening of the Award ceremony, Dr. Al Marri noted, "This is an important and far reaching initiative, and it requires committed and courageous people who have the determination to fight corruption at all levels. To the Award winners, I hope that this award will inspire and support you, and others, to continue the fight against corruption".

Qatar's efforts to drive crime prevention and the rule of law was evidenced through the support given to the Doha Declaration adopted at the 13th Crime Congress last year and translated into a wide-ranging Global Programme which is being undertaken through to 2020.

Highlighting the ever-pressing need to work towards tackling corruption, and offering his congratulations to the recipients whose efforts reflect this, Mr. Ban said: "As a strangling root that reaches deep into all our societies, corruption chokes hopes and frustrates opportunities. It enables the few to prosper at the expense of millions who are left behind. Through their courage, today's award recipients are delivering a clear message that corruption is incompatible with fair and ethical societies".

Pointing to the actions taken by the Award recipients, as well as people from all walks of life, Mr. Fedotov spoke on the importance of inclusive efforts to tackle corruption: "Together, the public and private sectors, international and regional organizations, financial institutions and civil society, must stand united against corruption in all its forms". He also referenced the new, multi-year International Anti-Corruption Day theme officially launched today - #UnitedAgainstCorruption - and spoke of the centrality of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. "The 2030 Agenda has given fresh impetus to the battle against corruption by recognizing that anti-corruption action is essential to end poverty; ensure quality education, promote decent work and economic growth; and protect natural resources".

The 2016 Award winners are:

  • The Anti-Corruption Lifetime Achievement Award (recognizing noteworthy and outstanding contributions made to support the global fight against corruption). Presented to Thelma Aldana (Attorney General of Guatemala);
  • The Anti-Corruption Academic Research Award (looking at academic research in the area of anti-corruption). Shared by Miodrag Labovic (Professor of Law at the Faculty of Security at Skopje, and founder of the NGO Mission Center for Anti-Corruption and Justice); and Groupe De Recherche Corruption & Démocratie (CORDÉ) (a joint research network between the University of Montreal, the University of Toronto, the Sorbonne University, the Catholic University of Lille and the Catholic University of Central Africa).
  • The  Anti-Corruption Youth Creativity Award (focussing on projects designed and led by young people and, where applicable, supported by civil society organizations). Shared by Anti-Corruption Youth Greece (a movement 'by young Greek people for young Greek people' which is currently looking to tackle corruption in sports and migration-related corruption in the Mediterranean region); and TM Music (a Tanzanian NGO, composed of young singers, that use the power of song to raise awareness and drive home an anti-corruption message); and
  • The  Anti-Corruption Innovation Award (offering recognition and appreciation to innovative approaches and prominent contributions to the prevention of and fight against corruption). Shared by ARTLORDS (an Afghan grassroots movement of artists who use street art in the form of mural paintings to raise awareness against corruption); and Hanan Khandagji (a Palestinian investigative journalist, who worked undercover to investigate the abuse of children with disabilities in private facilities, which led to significant reforms and prosecution of corruption cases). 

Further information:

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: Remarks At Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani Anti-Corruption Excellence Awards

Rule Of Law and Anti-corruption Center

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani Anti-Corruption Excellence Award website

United Nations Convention against Corruption

International Anti-Corruption Day