Director General/Executive Director
Closing Remarks of the Executive Director UNODC on Overcoming the Challenge of Corruption in Today's Environment -Lessons for the Private Sector
25 May 2012
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to express my warm thanks to the International Anti-Corruption Academy for inviting me to address today's meeting.
The Academy is a successful initiative that UNODC supported from the very beginning.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
If our role is to build a world safer from drugs, crime and terrorism, then corruption must be one of our key targets, as it is undermining the very foundations for this world.
Corruption may have many names, but only one ugly face.
In every country, in every region, it is robbing citizens of better education, better healthcare, better lives.
This is especially true during the current financial crisis.
Once, corruption may have been tolerated, but thankfully it is viewed today as the destructive vice that it is.
In their wisdom, more and more people and societies are rejecting individual gains, in favour of universal principles: fairness, transparency and equality.
UNODC's own approach rests on its guardianship of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.
So far, one hundred and sixty countries have said "no" to this crime by becoming parties to the Convention.
UNODC has been supporting the full implementation of the Convention and its review mechanism and has been offering capacity building and technical assistance to combat this crime.
I am also glad to say that the private sector has added its own powerful voice to those who wish to eradicate this crime.
UNODC has been glad to help and is committed to continuing to offer its support.
We are working with the private sector to align business standards with the principles of the Convention and promoting the 10th Principle of the UN Global Compact which states:
"Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery".
The private sector's role in rejecting corruption has also been acknowledged by the Anti-Corruption Action Plan adopted and then reiterated by the G20.
Once again, the point of departure for our activities remains the Convention.
Businesses at all levels can and must do more.
If the business community is to succeed in pulling its weight in the common fight, it should be encouraged to carry out the following:
- Adopt private-sector anti-corruption policies aligned with the Convention
- Establish a credible mechanism - designed and governed by business - for the external assurance of reported anti-corruption performance.
- Invest in strengthening public integrity in developing countries.
- Invest in the supply chain. Large corporations must offer help to small and medium-sized businesses to successfully counter corruption.
We must work to help companies understand that "clean hands" are good for business while the greased hand promotes competitive unfairness and inequality.
Business can help developing countries and emerging markets establish the integrity infrastructure needed to make good use of their resources, promote employment and attract investments - in short, they can achieve the goal of a level playing field.
To assist with this process, UNODC launched one month ago a new strategic partnership, called the Integrity IPO.
UNODC is looking for companies willing to invest US$2 million each over the next four to five years.
T he capital generated will assist developing countries by meeting technical assistance needs identified through the UNCAC Implementation Review Mechanism.
We will do this in partnership with other organizations, notably the World Economic Forum, and seek to offer countries tailor-made assistance to address gaps in implementation and to help strengthen their anti-corruption infrastructure.
These efforts hold the promise of direct, tangible and measurable benefits.
Most importantly they will go a long way towards the creation of the level playing field and add value by promoting the companies' reputation in the fight against corruption.
UNODC is also looking inwards. We are leading a voluntary initiative within the United Nations to help the funds and programmes of our family align themselves with the principles of UNCAC.
This initiative demonstrates the UN's own desire to lead by example in the fight against corruption. It has received support from the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group at its most recent meeting in Mexico.
Recently, the President of the Economic and Social Council and I agreed to organize a special event during the High-Level Segment of ECOSOC.
The event will take place on 9 July in New York and will focus on accountability, transparency and sustainable development.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Corruption distorts markets and increases costs for companies, and ultimately for consumers.
To combat corruption, we must all become agents of change and introduce a global culture of transparency and a strong rule of law.
If we are to achieve this we must set aside distinctions between the public and private spheres. We must work together.
After all, we share the same problems. Let us share the same solutions.