International Anti-Corruption Day 2019
"Corruption is one of the biggest impediments to achieving the SDGs." UN RC ai tells an audience at a national event to mark IACD
It is a real pleasure for me to be here this morning as we gather to commemorate International Anti-Corruption Day and I would like to commend the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice for organizing this event. 16 years ago, in 2003, the General Assembly adopted the United Nations Convention against Corruption and designated 9 December as International Anti-Corruption Day. This day is an important moment to remember the impact that corruption has on our daily lives but also on our future because it is clear and indisputable that corruption slows social and economic development and by extension sustainable development.
With the slogan ‘United Against Corruption’, today, the UN call on people to come together to fight corruption by changing our attitudes towards this crime. Because it is a crime. A crime that disproportionately affects the most disadvantaged in our countries by preventing social inclusion, promoting inequality and inhibiting prosperity. Corruption stunts economic development by discouraging foreign direct investment and making it impossible for small businesses within the country to overcome the "start-up costs" required because of corruption.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Corruption erodes trust and undermines the foundation of democratic institutions by perverting the rule of law and creating bureaucratic entanglements whose only reason for existing is the soliciting of bribes.
Every year 1 USD trillion is paid in bribes while an estimated 2.6 trillion USD are stolen annually through corruption. Compare that with the financing gap for the SDGs that is estimated at 2.5 trillion USD per year in developing countries. The money we lose in corruption is money that is lost for the development of our societies. The UN estimates that funds lost to corruption represent 10 times the amount of official development assistance.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Once again this is too important, allow me to repeat, there will be no development in societies where there is no rule of law. The 2030 Agenda clearly recognizes this. The rule of law and development are significantly interrelated and are mutually reinforcing. Promoting peaceful, inclusive societies, access to justice for all as well as effective, accountable and inclusive institutions is necessary for the achievement of each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
In a few weeks, we will have only 10 years ahead of us to achieve the SDGs and in that race, our success on anticorruption will make it or break it. This is the reason UN Secretary General has issued such a strong statement on the occasion of International Anti-Corruption Day. Hon. Chair, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I would therefore like if you allow me, to read his statement.
Every year, trillions of dollars – the equivalent of more than five percent of
global Gross Domestic Product – are paid in bribes or stolen through corrupt practices that seriously undermine the rule of law and abet crimes such as the illicit trafficking of people, drugs and arms.
Tax evasion, money laundering and other illicit flows divert much-needed resources from schools, hospitals and essential infrastructure; funds that are essential to advancing the Sustainable Development Goals.
People are right to be angry. Corruption threatens the well-being of our societies, the future of our children and the health of our planet. It must be fought by all, for all.
And as in their mobilization for ambitious climate action and a fair globalization, it is inspiring to see young people demanding accountability and justice as a way to address and eradicate corrupt practices.
We must unite against corruption to stop the drain on resources caused by illicit financial flows. The United Nations Convention against Corruption, ratified by nearly every country in the world, gives us the means to strengthen our commitment to addressing this issue.
Later this month, Governments will meet in Abu Dhabi to review progress and prepare for the first-ever General Assembly Special Session on combatting corruption, which will take place in 2021. I call on them to take decisive action to make the fight against corruption a top priority.
On this International Day, I urge people everywhere to continue to work on innovative solutions to win the battle against corruption and to ensure that
precious resources serve the peoples of the world.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The message is clear. Corruption is one of the biggest impediments to achieving the SDGs. It acts as a brake on development, denying millions of people around the world the prosperity, rights, services and employment which they desperately need – and deserve. When corruption prevails, development is threatened. Fighting corruption is therefore not only an aim in itself, but also the most effective way to ensure sustainable development and a better future. I therefore encourage government, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, the media and citizens in Ghana and around the world to join forces to fight this crime.
I thank you very much for your attention