Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is urging everyone to do their part to stamp out corruption, which afflicts all countries, undermining social progress and breeding inequality and injustice.
“All of us have a responsibility to take action against the cancer of corruption,” he declares in a message for International Anti-Corruption Day, which is observed annually today, Dec. 9.
No country, region or community is immune to corruption, which is a serious crime that can undermine social and economic development in all societies, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.
This year the Office on Drugs and Crime and the U.N. Development Programme have developed a joint global campaign, focusing on how corruption hinders efforts to achieve the internationally agreed Millennium Development Goals and hurts education, health, justice, democracy, prosperity and development.
“When desperately needed development funds are stolen by corrupt individuals and institutions, poor and vulnerable people are robbed of the education, health care and other essential services,” said the secretary general.
“Although the poor may be marginalized by corruption, they
will not be silenced,” he added. “In events across the Arab world and beyond this year, ordinary people have joined their voices in denouncing corruption and demanding that governments combat this crime against democracy.
“Their protests have triggered changes on the international scene that could barely have been imagined just months previously.”
Ban highlighted the efforts of the U.N. in helping countries combat corruption as part of its broader, system-wide campaign to help bolster democracy and good governance.
He urged all governments that have not yet done so to ratify the U.N. Convention against Corruption, which he called a powerful tool in the fight against the scourge.
He also called on businesses to adopt anti-corruption measures in line with the convention, noting that the private sector, too, stands to gain enormously from effective action.
“On this International Anti-Corruption Day, let us pledge to do our part by cracking down on corruption, shaming those who practice it and engendering a culture that values ethical behavior,” said the secretary general.
Numerous events will be held around the world to mark the day, including concerts, youth events and awareness-raising campaigns.