The time is right to place governance and anti-corruption at center stage | Rebeca Grynspan

30 Sep 2013

children in artistic competition Students in Eastern Sudan participate in artistic competition on the occasion of the International Anti-corruption Day, 2012.(Photo: UNDP in Sudan)

Thirteen years ago, when the MDGs were formulated, governance-related goals or targets were not included, mainly for political reasons, but what we learned from that experience is that deficits in governance — such as corruption, elite capture of key resources, and low capacity of government institutions — hinder inclusive growth by squandering resources badly needed for development.

I was pleasantly surprised that more than 1 million people, who voted through the MYWorld global survey, expressed their opinion that “an honest and responsive governance” should be one of the top priorities in the post-2015 development framework. It is reassuring that both the High-Level Panel Report and the Secretary-General’s report to the General Assembly  corroborated many of the views expressed by citizens on holding their governments transparent, accountable and responsive.

According to data from the World Bank, each year US $1 trillion is paid in bribes and it is estimated that corruption can cost a country up to 17 percent of its GDP. Imagine the impact of reversing this! A recent UNDP study found that 76 percent of women surveyed think corruption has prevented them from accessing public goods and services. To counter this, we are promoting and supporting specific anti-corruption measures integrated into basic service delivery systems.

Momentum is shifting in the right direction – the post-2015 development agenda can build on this – to help end the use of tax havens with impunity, expand further people’s access to understandable and useable information on government budgets, expenditures and public procurement, and increase engagement in implementation and monitoring.

But transparency is not enough if it does not go hand in hand with accountability. While targets should be adapted locally for maximum relevance and ownership, a global mechanism is needed to monitor progress and help hold member states accountable in resource generation, allocation and utilization to deliver on the post-2015 development agenda. The time is ripe to be bold and ambitious to take the governance, transparency and accountability agendas forward.

Talk to us: How can we help governments establish credible mechanisms to fight corruption?

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