5 December 2008
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:
"Your 'No' Counts"
Message on International Anti-Corruption Day, 9 December 2008
VIENNA, 9 December (UN Information Service) - The world is reeling from a global financial crisis, caused in part by greed and corruption. Confidence in the financial system has been battered. The integrity of many banks has been called into question. Many people have lost their life savings.
This is bad enough, yet another, silent financial crisis afflicting the world's poorest people attracts far less attention. Every year across the developing world, billions of dollars that are badly needed for health care, schools, clean water and infrastructure are stolen or lost through bribes and other misdeeds. This makes it harder to provide basic services and achieve the Millennium Development Goals. It denies people their fundamental human rights.
The United Nations is fighting back. The UN Convention against Corruption, which came into force in December 2005, contains strong measures for building integrity and fighting corruption that apply to both the public and private sectors. There is an urgent need to make the Convention work and become the global norm. I look forward to the establishment of a robust mechanism to review implementation of the Convention, which is expected to be adopted by the next conference of States Parties.
The global financial crisis also underlines the need for greater regulation. Under the Convention, bank secrecy is no longer an impediment to recovering stolen assets. The World Bank and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime are making important progress in helping States to get their money back through the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative.
It is not only governments and financial institutions that need to do more to prevent corruption and strengthen integrity. Corruption affects us all. It weakens democratic institutions, undermines the rule of law and enables terrorists to finance their nefarious work. On this International Day, let us all do our part to strengthen integrity, play by the rules, and turn the tide against this global menace. As UNODC's anti-corruption campaign states, your "no" counts.
* *** *