7 December 2018 - Corruption harms societies in multiple ways. It undermines democracy and rule of law, erodes quality of life, slows economic development, and enables organized crime and terrorism. Around US$ 2.6 trillion are lost annually to corruption, money that is urgently needed for healthcare, education, clean water, infrastructure, and other essential services.
Marking International Anti-Corruption Day on 9 December, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres highlighted the vital role of the United Nations Convention against Corruption as one of the primary tools for advancing the fight against this crime.
"Through the Convention's peer review mechanism, we can work together to build a foundation of trust and accountability. We can educate and empower citizens, promote transparency and strengthen international cooperation to recover stolen assets," said the Secretary-General. On its 15 th anniversary, the Convention has 186 States Parties and is the only universal legally binding anti-corruption instrument.
The Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Yury Fedotov, highlighted that "Thanks to the Convention, nearly every country in the world now has laws in place making corruption a crime. The international community has recognized that combatting corruption is essential to preventing and addressing root causes of conflict and violent extremism, building peace and protecting human rights."
He also noted that anti-corruption is critical to countering organized crime, including human trafficking and migrant smuggling.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) underline the crucial importance of anti-corruption for sustainable development and for leaving no one behind.
"Through the Sustainable Development Goals, every country has committed to reducing corruption and bribery, strengthening the recovery and return of stolen assets and developing effective, inclusive and transparent institutions," Mr. Fedotov said.
As guardian of the UN Convention against Corruption, UNODC is working with governments, the private sector, civil society, sports organizations, educators and citizens to reject corruption, promote integrity and achieve the SDGs.
"United against corruption, we can foster a culture of lawfulness, help build accountable and transparent institutions, and enable people everywhere to access opportunities and live healthy and productive lives," said Mr. Fedotov.