Our Perspectives

Breaking the corruption chain is our collective responsibility


Indian woman and childrenIn India, UNDP and the Ministry of Law and Justice reach more than two million people and informed them of their rights in an effort to enable equitable access to justice for all. Photo credit: Shubhangi Singh/UNDP India

When corruption is rampant, some of us might think that the magnitude and complexity of the situation is hopeless. At the same time, making governments more open, accountable, and responsive to citizens is not a choice, but a responsibility which lies with each and every one of us.

To “break the corruption chain” and encourage turning this fight into a global movement, we, at UNDP and at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) have launched a global campaign  to commemorate the 2014 International Anti-corruption Day.  

The message is simple: “Taking back what was lost to corrupt practices is everyone’s responsibility”. It is the responsibility of our governments and civil society organizations, of the private sector and the media, the general public, and of the youth, who must play a pivotal role in seeing this agenda through so that their future is built on solid and honest foundations.

There are compelling reasons why everyone should have a stake in fighting corruption. Corruption is impeding the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).  When public money is stolen for private use, fewer resources are allocated to building schools, hospitals, roads and water treatment facilities. Corruption also enables fake or substandard medicines to be dumped on the market, and hazardous waste to be poured out in landfill sites and in oceans. Then, the most vulnerable suffer first and worst.

Fortunately, society at large is demanding more transparency and accountability nowadays. My World, The World We Want 2015 survey by the United Nations, which polled over 5 million respondents worldwide, found that honest, effective government ranked as one of the top four priorities for people, along with education, healthcare and better job opportunities.

In UNDP, we understand that fighting this complex problem requires comprehensive solutions. Our report “Anti-Corruption Strategies: Understanding What Works, What Doesn’t, and Why: Lessons Learned from the Asia Pacific region” documents lessons learned from 14 countries in the region, with detailed country information and data.

I encourage all readers to stand up and join forces to break the corruption chain. As the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in his message, “this is a call to come together for global fairness and equity. The world and its people can no longer afford, nor tolerate, corruption”.

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