Copenhagen, 23 October 2018– Corruption threatens progress and peace, particularly for the poorest but new technologies can be used as a powerful tool to tackle it, said the head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Achim Steiner yesterday in Copenhagen.
“Corruption erodes people’s trust in their government institutions, undermines the checks and balances that safeguard our societies and threatens peace,” said Steiner. “New technologies, carefully managed, could offer a new generation of open and participatory governance.”
He was speaking at the 18th International Anti-Corruption Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, organised by the IACC Council and Transparency International in partnership with the Government of Denmark. UNDP has been a partner of the IACC Series since 2003.
The developing world loses enormous sums in illicit financial flows – a staggering US $1.1 trillion in 2013. Additionally, an estimated US $1.5 trillion is paid in bribes annually. To put these numbers into perspective, the money leaving developing countries outpaced Official Development Assistance entering countries by a ratio of nearly 10 to 1, meaning that countries lost close to US$10 for every US$1 they received in aid. “Money lost to corruption is essentially development denied to those who are most at risk of being left behind,” he said.
New technologies have the potential to enable more effective and participatory forms of accountability and transparency. For example, digital mapping of the capital city of Freetown in Sierra Leone shows over 200,000 houses, while the traditional paper-based property tax register currently records fewer than 2,000 dwellings.
In the Philippines, UNDP and Google have created ‘DevelopmentLIVE’, to enable citizens and the government to decrease corruption in SDG-related infrastructure projects, by live-streaming their monitoring activities.
Steiner concluded by highlighting that Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals provided countries with a new opportunity to link anti-corruption with the agendas on development, peace, and security. Anti-corruption gains will remain limited if they are not combined with a wider set of initiatives aimed at improving the quality of governance institutions and processes overall, aimed at building the peaceful, just and inclusive societies people aspire to achieve by 2030. For this reason, UNDP’s work on fighting corruption is part of its broader mandate on fostering effective, inclusive and accountable governance.
“Tackling corruption is critical to achieving Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals, all of which rely on strong institutions to effectively meet the needs of all people,” he reiterated.
In addition, he said, converting the global anti-corruption momentum into concrete actions will require a concerted effort of all sections of society – not only to fight corruption more effectively, but also linking our anti-corruption efforts to accelerate progress on Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals.
The 18th International Anti-Corruption Conference continues over the next two days. UNDP’s Global Anti-Corruption Team will be attending the full conference and has organized three workshops on the following themes: (1) Fighting corruption for global security: prevention of violent extremism, conflict and forced migration; (2) Public Service Excellence and Preventing Corruption; and Integrating Anti-Corruption in the SDGs: (3) Implementation, Measuring and Monitoring. In connection to these, UNDP will also launch two knowledge products and one online course:
– Public Sector Excellence to Prevent corruption,
– Manual on measuring corruption, and
– UNDP online course on anti-corruption and SDGs.
Source: UNDP Denmark