‘Break the corruption chain’


The fight against corruption is a global concern requiring the broadest possible response to “dismantle its high walls”, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today in a message marking International Anti-Corruption Day.

“To dismantle corruption’s high walls, I urge every nation to ratify and implement the UN Convention against Corruption,” said Mr. Ban, underscoring that while the treaty’s ground breaking measures in the areas of prevention, criminalization, international cooperation and asset recovery have made important inroads, “there is much more to do.”

The theme of the 2014 International Day, Breaking the Corruption Chain, is geared towards showing the importance of individual engagement in tackling a phenomenon “that strikes hardest at the poor, hinders inclusive economic growth and robs essential services of badly needed funds.”

“From cradle to grave, millions are touched by corruption’s shadow,” the Secretary-General said, urging engagement of the public and private sectors. Public servants and elected officials had to be guided by ethics, transparency and accountability, while the private sector needed to recognize that good behaviour is good business.

Looking ahead to agreement on a new post-2015 sustainable development agenda, Mr. Ban emphasized how the new agenda would promote better practices.

“Our aim is to empower individuals and catalyze Governments, the private sector and civil society to help lift millions out of poverty, protect the planet and achieve shared prosperity and dignity for all,” he said, adding that “eliminating corruption and its harmful impacts will be crucial to our future well-being.”

Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, also remarked on the campaign, calling on everyone to mark the International Day with events, to use the Call to Action Matrix, and to spread the word through social media.

Outlining corruption’s reach into “boardrooms, government, law enforcement, education, healthcare and sport”, among other areas, he stressed the practices destructive effects, especially on the poor.

“Corruption, today, represents a serious brake on the forward motion of sustainable development and building effective institutions,” said Mr. Fedotov, adding that corruption “oils the wheels of other damaging crimes, including illicit trafficking in drugs, people, animals, timber and guns.”

Echoing the Secretary-General, he said that global resistance to corruption hinged on worldwide ratification and implementation of the UN anti-corruption convention, together with participation in the treaty’s peer review mechanism, and he pointed to the tools’ transformational effects.

“These range from meaningful reform to the strengthening of anti-corruption institutions all over the world,” he said.

Looking ahead to next year’s Sixth Conference of the States Parties to Convention, which will be held in St. Petersburg, Russia, Mr. Fedotov said the meeting would offer “an opportunity to further strengthen global anti-corruption action and deliver the message that corruption has no place in our world.”

The Convention was originally adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2003, with 9 December designated International Anti-Corruption Day to raise awareness of corruption and the treaty’s role in combating and preventing the scourge.