Corruption is one of the world's greatest challenges, a complex social, political and economic phenomenon that affects all countries.
Every December 9th, the world observes International Anti-Corruption Day, to commemorate the 2003 opening for signature of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. The Convention is the first globally-applicable and comprehensive set of anticorruption commitments.
Corruption is one of the world's greatest challenges, a complex social, political and economic phenomenon that affects all countries. It is frequently so deeply entrenched in society that it will take sustained work to eradicate. But this can, and must, be done, if economies are to grow and flourish.
That’s because corruption is a threat to development, democracy and stability. It distorts markets, drives up prices, stunts economic growth and discourages foreign investment. It erodes the delivery of public services and trust in governments and officials.
When public money disappears into private pockets, society loses the means to build new schools, improve roads, expand water distribution and power generating facilities. When foreign aid is diverted into private bank accounts, major infrastructure projects stand unfinished. Corruption endangers public health when counterfeit, falsified, or substandard medicines enter the market, when hazardous waste is dumped rivers, oceans or leaks out of landfills.
Concerned about the seriousness of the problems posed by corruption, United Nations member states adopted ten years ago the Convention against Corruption, which seeks to "promote and strengthen measures to prevent and combat corruption more efficiently and effectively...promote, facilitate and support international cooperation and technical assistance in the prevention of and fight against corruption… [and] promote integrity, accountability and proper management of public affairs and public property" on both domestic and international levels.
164 governments, including the United States, are states parties to the Convention, which commits them to implement a wide range of anti-corruption measures, including criminalization, preventive measures, and the recovery of stolen assets.
“Corruption stunts economic growth, damages confidence in democracy, and fosters a culture of graft and impunity that undermines the ability to operate in our interconnected world. Every country has a role to play as we work to advance our collective anticorruption agenda and institutionalize the highest standards of transparency.” said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “Together, we can ensure the integrity of our markets, improve our government institutions, and increase opportunity and prosperity for all our citizens.”