Joint UN Statement on International Anti-Corruption Day – 9th December 2011

09 Dec 2011

New Delhi - On International Anti-Corruption Day, the United Nations in India reiterates its joint commitment to address corruption, strengthen governance and accountability and aid the attainment of the MDGs.

Corruption hinders efforts to achieve the internationally agreed Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), undermines democracy and the rule of law, leads to violations of human rights, distorts markets, erodes quality of life and allows organized crime, terrorism and other threats to human security to flourish. On the occasion of the International Anti Corruption Day, celebrated on 9th December every year, the United Nations in India reiterates its joint commitment to address corruption, strengthen governance and accountability and aid the attainment of the MDGs.

In 2003, the world community marked a historic milestone by adopting the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), the only global legally binding anti-corruption instrument. The Convention entered into force in December 2005. As the guardian of the UNCAC, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) provides technical assistance to member states by helping them to improve legislation, share good practices and develop strategies to fight corruption effectively.

December 9 is of special significance in India this year following the ratification of the UNCAC by the Government of India in May 2011. As a result of this, India now participates in a voluntary peer-review mechanism, under which parties to the Convention participate in a review process among three elected countries on the progress in the implementation of UNCAC. In addition, UNODC provides specific assistance, for example in India, through a private sector initiative aiming at enhancing accountability and transparency in procurement processes.

As the 2008 Asia Pacific Human Development Report Tackling Corruption, Transforming Lives notes, corruption undermines human development and hits the poor, who often depend heavily on public services and natural resources, the hardest. Even as countries put in place policies and programmes to eliminate poverty and meet the MDGs, so too is it necessary to devise programmes specifically to tackle corruption.

An effective strategy to tackle corruption must be initiated at multiple levels – from the top down and bottom up, with vigorous support from the media and civil society. In India, UNDP supports the Government to develop capacities for accountable and responsive local government systems, locally elected representatives, officials and communities. Improving human development conditions – enabling greater access to information, an empowered citizenry with voice to influence decision makers in government and businesses – is crucial to combating corruption. Continued attention needs to be paid to prioritising the fight against corruption in areas that affect the poor the hardest – such as health and education services.

To mark the International Anti Corruption Day this year, UNDOC, UNDP and the UN Millennium Campaign in India have come together to raise awareness about the role that every stakeholder can and must play to eliminate corruption and to generate interest in the UNCAC. As part of the global campaign 'ACT – Against Corruption Today', the UN in partnership with the Government of India, civil society, media and the corporate sector will support different awareness generation activities such as a web-based information campaign (www.ipaidabribe.com/act), dissemination of anti corruption resources, the launch of a 2012 ‘anti-corruption’ calendar and a panel discussion.