Vienna /New York, 24 September 2012 - Speaking at a high-level meeting of the 67 th General Assembly in New York, UNODC Executive Director, Yury Fedotov, expressed concerns that corruption was undermining the rule of law by eroding democratic institutions essential for fair and equitable societies.
Mr. Fedotov said it was essential for governments and their partners to take drastic measures to combat corruption: "Without these measures, there can be no equity, no inclusivity, no fairness and no lasting social and economic development."
Pinpointing sustainable economic growth as crucial for progress, the UNODC Executive Director noted that businesses thrive where laws are well defined and clearly applied. But he noted they can languish, or fail, where the level playing field becomes the "uphill struggle of unfair competition".
Bribery and corruption circumvents fair tendering processes and the consequences are severe: funding meant for hospitals and schools can be diverted into the hands of corrupt individuals. Just as importantly, the failure to win contracts can send businesses to the wall and create unemployment. All of these events place additional strains on weak and fragile societies.
"Where corruption exists, the rule of law cannot flourish…Too many people fail to understand the impact of corruption on development and on prosperity. The victims exist in every developing and less developed country. Denied education, denied healthcare, denied opportunities," he said.
Highlighting UNODC's work, Mr. Fedotov said the blueprint for helping countries was the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). The Convention calls on States Parties to take a series of measures that lay the foundations for free and fair markets and sustainable economic development.
Parties to the Convention are involved in a unique process called the UNCAC Implementation Review Mechanism enabling States to assess their implementation of the Convention and assist with efforts to combat corruption and promote the rule of law. Since starting, 157 States have participated in the review process either as the subject or the reviewing State.
"[The UNCAC Implementation Review Mechanism] is creating forward momentum among nations for transparency and good governance that will assist the rule of law and development," said Mr. Fedotov.
Mr. Fedotov was speaking at the high-level meeting of the General Assembly on the rule of law entitled, "Strengthening the rule of law: the fight against corruption and its impact on sustainable growth." The event was hosted by the Permanent Missions of Austria, Estonia, Japan and Tunisia, and attended by Austrian President Heinz Fischer, Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, and an audience of ministers, ambassadors and distinguished guests. There were other speakers from the Mitsubishi International Corporation, the International Anti-Corruption Academy, and Siemens International.
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