UN and government specialists discuss global anticorruption efforts in Brazil

05 Nov 2012

Brasilia - The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) opened today a two-day meeting with 90 anticorruption experts from 50 countries in Brasilia, Brazil, to assess global trends and challenges, share best practices on how to prevent and control corruption and boost transparency and accountability.

"Corruption affects the poor disproportionately and is one of the biggest obstacles to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)," said Magdy Martínez-Soliman, Deputy Director of UNDP’s Bureau for Development Policy. "Corruption diverts resources, and hinders people’s access to essential services like health care, education, water and sanitation."

Corruption causes developing countries to lose 10 times more money than they receive in official development assistance, according to a UNDP study. Moreover, it is estimated that corruption costs annually more than five percent of the global GDP, equivalent to US$2.6 trillion.

Participants at UNDP’s global anticorruption meeting stressed that building strong alliances between governments’ independent anticorruption agencies and civil society organisations was a key step to monitor and curb corruption.

“Citizens’ control and active participation is crucial to prevent and fight corruption,” said Minister Jorge Hage, of Brazil’s General Comptroller Office, which hosts the country’s online Transparency Portal.

Citizens, civil society organizations and journalists have been using Brazil’s Transparency Portal for the past eight years to monitor public expenditure. The General Comptroller’s office has also been engaged in bringing transparency to public expenditure around the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, both being hosted in Brazil.

Participants highlighted the use of technology as a crucial means to boost transparency and accountability, with social media also being a key tool for citizen participation.

“Using technology for procurement processes, for example, has shown positive impact in terms of transparency, helping prevent corruption,” said Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International. “The second important asset that technology brings is people power.”

The UNDP meeting precedes Transparency International’s International Anticorruption Conference, the world’s largest anticorruption conference, also taking place in Brasilia 7-10 November.

The international anticorruption events taking place in Brasilia this week will also discuss how governments, the private sector and civil society organisations can better implement the UN Convention Against Corruption, which came into force seven years ago. By July 2012, 161 countries had ratified the international instrument through which governments commit to take steps to curb public and private corruption practices, boost transparency and accountability and engage civil society in monitoring public expenditure.