Vienna (Austria), 9 December 2020 — The 2020 International Anti-Corruption Day comes as our world has been shattered by a global pandemic that continues to unfold.
The COVID-19 crisis threatens to push more than 100 million people into extreme poverty this year alone.
To save lives and livelihoods, governments are spending and fast-tracking economic stimulus packages. Corruption is targeting these emergency measures, weakening vital health and social systems, with lethal consequences.
People have lost jobs and social protection in the crisis, giving rise to dangerous frustrations and turmoil. In our time of greatest need, corruption is fuelling even greater instability.
Now more than ever, governments need to use the tools provided by the UN Convention against Corruption to further strengthen anti-corruption bodies, improve oversight over stimulus investments, and increase transparency and accountability.
As guardian of the Convention, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime has supported 179 countries to date to implement this global framework, and we are working with governments to promote anti-corruption action in the COVID response and recovery.
A world made poorer and more fragile by the pandemic cannot afford to let corruption compromise our efforts to build forward, or our hopes for a fairer future.
We need to stand up for justice, and stand united against corruption.
Countries of destination and origin need to work as partners, to deny safe haven to the corrupt, stop illicit financial flows and return stolen assets.
Together, we can unleash the power of diversity and inclusion by engaging all actors – women and youth, the private sector, civil society and academia – to protect our systems against corrupt networks and practices, and end impunity.
In advancing anti-corruption action, we can build more resilient societies, and get back on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
On this year’s International Anti-Corruption Day, let us commit to recovering better by recovering with integrity.