Corruption undermines human development and democracy. It reduces access to public services by diverting public resources for private gain.
The real costs of corruption were highlighted by the UN Secretary-General in his 2009 statement for the International Anti-Corruption Day:
"When public money is stolen for private gain, it means fewer resources to build schools, hospitals, roads and water treatment facilities. When foreign aid is diverted into private bank accounts, major infrastructure projects come to a halt. Corruption enables fake or substandard medicines to be dumped on the market, and hazardous waste to be dumped in landfill sites and in oceans. The vulnerable suffer first and worst."
Corruption hinders economic development by distorting markets and damaging private sector integrity. Some facts and figures on corruption are:
- $1,000 billion are paid in bribes per year (source:The World Bank Institute)
- Corruption can cost a country up to 17 Percent of its GDP (source: Asian Development Bank)
- US$1.8 trillion is the volume of illicit financial flows from Africa between 1970 and 2008: (source: Global Financial Integrity, 2010)
Corruption also strikes at the heart of democracy by corroding rule of law, democratic institutions and public trust in leaders. For the poor, women and minorities, corruption means even less access to jobs, justice or any fair and equal opportunity.
To combat this global menace of corruption, the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) was adopted by the UN General Assembly through Resolution 58/4 in 2003 and entered into force in December 2005. UNCAC is the first legally binding instrument against corruption.
It presents a comprehensive set of standards, measures and rules that all state parties to the convention should apply to strengthen their legal and regulatory regimes to fight corruption. At present, UNCAC has 158 State Parties (as of 9th December 2011).
UNDP, through the Global Programme on Anti-Corruption for Development Effectiveness (PACDE), regional and country-level programmes, is a major provider of anti-corruption technical support to approximately 103 countries.
It is also a global knowledge leader on anti-corruption. UNDP provides advisory services to programming countries; engages in advocacy and global awareness raising on anti-corruption; builds synergies with the initiatives of relevant partners; synchronizes global and regional activities with emerging demands from the countries involved; and develops knowledge products on anti-corruption to assist anti-corruption programming at the country level.
UNDP has strong partnerships with other organizations working on anti-corruption such as the UN Office of Drugs and Crime, Tiri, GTZ, the Basel Institute on Governance, and the Institute of Governance Studies, Bangladesh.
In addition, UNDP also addresses the costs of corruption to development by developing pro-poor policies, supporting increased public participation in decision-making, and monitoring of budgets, public services and infrastructure development by mainstreaming anti-corruption in its current work and other development processes.