Statement by the UNDP Administrator: International Anti-Corruption Day 2022, 9 December
December 7, 2022
In every corner of the globe, the United Nations (UN) and our partners are working with communities to advance the Global Goals -- a blueprint to address our common challenges, from tackling poverty and hunger to advancing gender equality and confronting an accelerating climate crisis. Yet this ladder to a better world is being pulled from underneath us in the form of corruption. In many ways, global efforts to confront corruption have ground to a standstill. It has been estimated that 131 countries have made no significant progress against corruption over the last decade.
The cost of corruption is vast at some $2.6 trillion annually, finances that are diverted away from vital areas. To put that into perspective, it is estimated that it would cost $40 billion per year to end world hunger by 2030. It means that people cannot access lifesaving healthcare like the COVID-19 vaccine or children cannot get a quality education. Corruption not only follows conflict but is also frequently one of its root causes. It fuels conflict and inhibits peace processes by undermining the rule of law, worsening poverty, facilitating the illicit use of resources, and providing financing for armed conflict.
As the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) works with countries and communities to co-create much-needed development solutions, fighting corruption is a principle embedded in all of our work. That includes supporting some 50 countries to take new measures to directly tackle this scourge, increasingly leveraging the power of digital technology and innovation. For instance, in Nigeria and Tanzania, UNDP is reforming public health procurement with tech-based open contracting and monitoring. Or consider the Asia-Pacific region, where UNDP is cooperating with governments and the private sector on key areas like improving transparency in public procurement, which accounts for up to 20% of the region’s GDP. As an organization, UNDP has zero tolerance towards fraud and corruption as articulated in our Anti-Fraud Policy. We strive to ensure that every dollar spent goes to development activities while strengthening UNDP’s status as a trusted partner in delivering development results. UNDP aims to continuously improve its transparency and accountability, including with the support of independent assessments, oversight systems and audits. That is reflected in resources such as open.undp.org, which provides public access to data on over 10,000 UNDP projects worldwide.
The political declaration of the first-ever UN General Assembly Special Session in 2021 recognizes the importance of mainstreaming transparency and anti-corruption as a cross-cutting enabler for the broader development agenda. Indeed, as countries and communities seek to finance the future they want -- from fighting the climate crisis and extending life-changing access to clean renewable energies to millions of people, to restoring our planet’s ecosystems and biodiversity and fostering peace -- our global community must ensure that finances reach such critical areas and are not lost to corruption. It is the responsibility of everyone, everywhere -- from governments, international organizations and civil society to young people and individuals -- to oppose this crime that is blocking communities’ development pathways. United against corruption, we can ensure that our ladder to a better world is unshakeable.
Achim Steiner, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
The 2022 International Anti-Corruption Day (IACD) seeks to highlight the crucial link between anti-corruption and peace, security, and development. The 2022 IACD also marks the start of efforts to mark the 20th Anniversary of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). This is reflected by the theme of this year’s international day, “UNCAC at 20: Uniting the World Against Corruption”. Over the next year, culminating with IACD 2023, together with partners worldwide, the UN will be reflecting on a world made better thanks to the collective push afforded by the Convention and, crucially, what gaps remain to ensure this is a truly strong mechanism for the years ahead.
Use the hashtag #UnitedAgainstCorruption to get involved in the conversation.
Read UNDP’s Anti-Fraud Policy here