Helen Clark became the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme on 17 April 2009, and is the first woman to lead the organization. She is also the Chair of the United Nations Development Group, a committee consisting of the heads of all UN funds, programmes and departments working on development issues.
Helen Clark: International Anti-Corruption Day
Statement of UNDP Administrator on the International Anti-Corruption Day
Corruption is a crime against development which thrives in the shadows. International Anti-Corruption Day is an opportunity to shed light on the damage it does, and to reaffirm our commitment to act against it.
The impact of corruption is greater than just the diversion of resources – significant as this is. Corruption is also corrosive of societies and contributes to a justified lack of trust and confidence in governance. The worst consequences of corruption are borne by poor and vulnerable groups. Bribes, for example, can make basic services available only to those able to pay.
As the poor are more reliant on public services, they are disproportionately harmed by what may be, in financial terms, small-time corruption. Research suggests that poor women are often the worst affected by corruption.
The poor also have the most to lose from rapid degradation of natural resources stemming from corruption which enables laws and regulations to be circumvented. Illegal logging to which corrupt officials turn a blind eye, for example, can threaten the ecosystems on which poor people depend for their livelihoods, and lead to revenue losses for governments too.
UNDP, through its work in support of the program Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, also known as REDD +, is helping to reduce the risk of corruption in forest management.
Preventing and combating corruption requires transparency and accountability at all levels. UNDP now has some two decades of experience in supporting countries to fight corruption. Integrated approaches, encompassing capacity development, governance reforms, targeted anti-corruption measures, more transparency, and greater civic participation, have been proven to work well.
Anti-corruption measures need to be integrated into development planning processes. UNDP’s work on governance around the world aims to strengthen the national institutions and processes needed to build trust, improve responsiveness and accountability, and mobilise resources for development.
Taking back what was lost to corrupt practices is everyone’s responsibility – governments and civil society organizations, the private sector and the media, the general public, and youth who will play a pivotal role in seeing this agenda through so that their future is built on solid and honest foundations.
I encourage each of you to act against corruption today, to shine a light on those shadows, so that we can move together towards a better world.