Corruption is one of the world's greatest challenges. It is often an abuse of power at a local level that affects all of us on a global scale. It negatively impacts rich and poor countries alike, in both the private and public sectors. Corruption destroys trust, undermines development, erodes confidence in democratic institutions and prepares the way for trans-national criminal activities.
Ultimately, it is the ordinary people that suffer the consequences. Corruption distorts markets, causes higher prices, discourages investors, and stunts economic growth. It is particularly destructive to communities in developing countries, where it acts as a block to development and progress.
To call attention to this scourge, twelve years ago, the United Nations designated December 9th as International Anti-Corruption Day. The day has been observed annually since 2003, coinciding with the adoption of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption by the UN General Assembly.
Crucially, the UN Convention recognizes that corruption is a crime that transcends communities and national borders. It fuels criminal activity at home, and across the globe. A comprehensive approach is needed, one involving cooperation among governments, civil society and the private sector. Ending corruption depends on transparency in government and the rule of law, and ensuring that citizens everywhere, as individuals, journalists, and members of civil society, are able to expose corrupt practices and press for the prosecution of perpetrators.
The United States stands ready to work with other nations to bring corrupt individuals to justice, whether through technical assistance and training or working cooperatively to find evidence or stolen assets held abroad.Working together, we can ensure the integrity of our markets, improve our government institutions, and increase opportunity and prosperity for all our citizens.