UNODC head addresses Economic and Social Council special event on accountability and transparency

Photo: UNODC9 July 2012 - Addressing a special event devoted to promoting accountability and transparency to foster sustainable development, Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of UNODC, said that preventing and combating corruption were a shared responsibility of every sector of society.

"As an extremely conservative figure, UNODC and the World Bank estimate that up to $40 billion is stolen from developing countries every year. The high cost of corruption is paid by ordinary citizens who cannot obtain basic services due to the misappropriation of funds," he said.

The event took place during the high-level segment of the Economic and Social Council, which is currently holding its annual session in New York. Attended by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the President of the Council, Milos Koterec, Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson and representatives of Governments and the private sector, the debate centred on the costs imposed on sustainable development by lack of accountability and transparency and corruption, and innovative approaches to and partnerships in fighting corruption.

The forum urged stronger political commitment to the ratification of the United Nations Convention against Corruption by countries that have not yet ratified it, and called on Member States to participate in the Mechanism for the Review of Implementation of the Convention, which was established in 2010 to review implementation and to help Member States to identify challenges and good practices.

The Convention, of which UNODC is guardian, obliges States to prevent and criminalize corruption, promote international cooperation, recover stolen assets and improve technical assistance and information exchange in both the private and the public sector. The Convention has nearly reached universal ratification, with 160 States signatories.

The Executive Director stated that UNODC was working actively with both the public and the private sector. The Office works closely with the United Nations Global Compact, which encourages businesses worldwide to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies. The tenth principle of the Global Compact relates to corruption, including extortion and bribery.

Recently, UNODC initiated a strategic partnership with the private sector called the "Integrity IPO", which asks private companies to invest in a fund to respond to technical assistance needs of developing countries identified through the Review Mechanism.  The fund is looking for companies willing to invest $2 million each over the next four to five years.

Turning to academia, the Executive Director said UNODC had a leading role in the Anti-Corruption Academic Initiative, a project with other partners aimed at producing a comprehensive anti-corruption curriculum for universities and other educational institutions.

"I call on Governments to do everything in their power to assist with these initiatives, as well as many other initiatives of UNODC aimed at ensuring the full implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption. Working together, we must help developing countries to defeat corruption, and in doing so, assist in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and sustainable development," said Mr. Fedotov.

A United Nations Charter body, the Economic and Social Council is the venue where issues concerning the world's economic, social and environmental challenges are discussed and policy recommendations made.

Related Information:

Full Speech by UNODC Executive Director at ECOSOC special event on accountability and transparency for sustainable development

UNODC Action against Corruption and Economic Crime

UNODC-World Bank Stolen Asset Recovery (StAR) Initiative

UN News Centre story: At high-level discussion, UN officials highlight costs of corruption on societies