Corruption undermines human development by impeding access to public services through diversions of public resources for private gain. Corruption steals resources and opportunities to improve their lives away from the most vulnerable, and hinders economic development by distorting markets and damaging private sector integrity. It strikes at the heart of democracy by corroding rule of law, democratic institutions and destroying public trust in governments and leaders.
Corruption is a problem for all countries and the costs are enormous:
- $1,000 billion are paid in bribes per year (The World Bank Institute)
- Corruption can cost a country up to 17 Percent of its GDP (Asian Development Bank)
- US$1.8 trillion is the volume of illicit financial flows from Africa between 1970 and 2008: (Global Financial Integrity, 2010)
The real costs of corruption were highlighted by the UN Secretary-General in his 2014 statement for the International Anti-Corruption Day:
“Corruption undermines democratic institutions, slows economic development and contributes to governmental instability. Corruption attacks the foundation of democratic institutions by distorting electoral processes, perverting the rule of law and creating bureaucratic quagmires whose only reason for existing is the soliciting of bribes.”
UNDP is a global knowledge leader in the field of anti-corruption and works with governments around the world to tackle corruption and its consequences. Through the Global Anti-Corruption Initiative (GAIN), UNDP focuses on strengthening systems, institutions and civic engagement to combat corruption and to better manage and deliver public resources. To address the consequences of corruption and to ensure that public resources go to the most vulnerable, UNDP helps countries develop pro-poor policies, support participatory planning, monitoring and decision making and to mainstream anti-corruption measures throughout the planning and budgeting cycle.
To combat the 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 174 State Parties (as of 12th November 2014).
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, the Huairou Commission and the Institute of Governance Studies of Bangladesh.