International Anti-Corruption Day - 9 December 2023
December 7, 2023
In 2023, the world marks the 20th Anniversary of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), a statement of our global community’s determination to fight corruption in all of its forms, everywhere. Since the Convention was adopted in 2003, the world has made significant strides forward. For instance, that includes elevating preventing and addressing corruption and illicit financial flows to integral parts of global, regional, and national development plans and processes. Yet combating corruption remains a significant hurdle with a remarkable one in five people worldwide reported having to pay a bribe to access a public service. Worryingly, 124 countries have stagnant corruption levels.
Affecting every country, corruption has negative impacts on every single aspect of society, disproportionately affecting the poorest and most marginalized people, including women. It undermines democratic institutions, reduces trust in governance systems, and jeopardizes progress across all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Corruption also fuels conflict and inhibits peace processes by weakening the rule of law, worsening poverty, facilitating the illicit use of resources, and providing financing for armed conflict. As part of the UN family, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is working to support anti-corruption efforts at global, regional, and country levels: a vital means to foster stability and advance development in this era of polycrisis. For example, the UNDP Anti-Corruption Innovation Initiative has assisted 11 countries to leverage new tools to detect, analyse and monitor corruption and integrity risks. Or consider the OECD-UNDP Tax Inspectors Without Borders and Tax for SDGs initiatives, which provide tailored support to tax administrations to tackle corruption and illicit financial flows, and redirect vital finances to sustainable development.
Anti-corruption is at the heart of development efforts, and central to initiatives to align public and private finance with the SDGs. As an organization, UNDP itself maintains a steadfast commitment to preventing and combating fraud and corruption, as outlined in our Anti-Fraud Policy. Our dedication is centered on directing every dollar towards impactful development initiatives, reinforcing UNDP's reputation as a trusted partner. We are committed to ongoing enhancements in transparency and accountability, facilitated by independent evaluations, oversight mechanisms, audits, and a commitment to the highest ethical standards. This is exemplified by resources such as open.undp.org, offering public visibility into data on over 10,000 UNDP projects worldwide.
With our partners from the UN and beyond, UNDP is advancing the spirit and letter of the UNCAC, including by driving new efforts to measure corruption. That includes contributing to a new Statistical Framework to Measure Corruption led by UNODC, which will serve as a basis for measuring and tracking progress on major anti-corruption efforts by state parties to the UNCAC. In 2024, UNDP will also develop new indices to better measure the impact of anti-corruption efforts including on public procurement.
Moreover, as many countries seek to build out their Digital Public Infrastructure, governments must embed anti-corruption measures in these digital ‘roads and bridges’ of the future. Ultimately, all of these efforts are vital to foster stability, ensure peace and allow communities to finance the future they want. Only through cooperation and the involvement of each and every person and institution can we overcome the negative impact of this crime that is rocking the very foundations of these common aspirations. #UnitedAgainstCorruption, we can ensure that our ladder to a better world is unshakeable.
Achim Steiner, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
International Anti-Corruption Day 2023 underlines the intrinsic link between anti-corruption and peace, security, and development.