Every year approximately $1 trillion is paid in bribes while an estimated $2.6 trillion are stolen annually through corruption – a sum equivalent to more than 5 per cent of the global GDP3. It is the single greatest obstacle to economic and social development around the world.
Corruption does not just steal money from where it is needed the most; it leads to weak governance, which in turn can fuel organized criminal networks and promote crimes such as human trafficking, arms and migrant smuggling, counterfeiting and the trade in endangered species.
In developing countries, according to the United Nations Development Programme, funds lost to corruption are estimated at 10 times the amount of official development assistance (ODA).
As a result, corruption affects everyone and can lead to less prosperity, respect for rights, provisions of services, and less employment.
Today the United Nations marks the International Anti-Corruption Day, which aims to highlight how corruption hinders efforts to achieve the internationally agreed upon MDGs, undermines democracy and the rule of law, leads to human rights violations, distorts markets, erodes quality of life and allows organized crime, terrorism and other threats to human security, to flourish.
It is also a tool to challenge those who think that corruption is "just a way of life", by encouraging every society, sector and individual would benefit from saying "NO" to this crime.
“On this International Anti-Corruption Day, I urge Governments, the private sector and civil society to take a collective stand against this complex social, political and economic disease that affects all countries. To achieve an equitable, inclusive and more prosperous future for all, we must foster a culture of integrity, transparency, accountability and good governance.”-Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon
This year a new global campaign kicked off in Panama under the theme Zero Corruption - 100% Development.
The campaign aims to bring together people from all walks of society in the fight against corruption, serves as a global call for action against corruption and raises awareness about UNCAC. Taking back what is lost to corrupt leaders is everyone's responsibility - the International Day is observed the world over by governments and civil society organizations, the private sector and the media and the general public.
"This campaign, which has reached millions of people in the last three years, puts a human face on the cost of corruption. If only 10% of the money lost from corruption is channeled back to development, it will be enough to achieve the MDGs by the 2015 deadlines." - UNDP delegation in Panama, Patrick Keuleers, Director
The Brussels based United Nations Regional Information Centre for Western Europe - UNRIC provides information on UN activities to the countries of the region. It also provides liaison with institutions of the European Union in the field of information. Its outreach activities extend to all segments of society and joint campaigns, projects and events are organized with partners including the EU, governments, the media, NGOs, schools and local authorities.
United Nations Regional Information Centre for Western Europe (UNRIC Brussels)
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