Global Cost of Corruption Is $2.6 Trillion

Get United Against Corruption. Photo: UNODC
Get United Against Corruption. Photo: UNODC

The UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in his message for International Anti-Corruption Day, observed on 9 December, that corruption is an assault on the values of the United Nations.

He stated that corruption robs societies of schools, hospitals and other vital services, drives away foreign investment and strips nations of their natural resources. It undermines the rule of law and abets crimes such as the illicit trafficking of people, drugs and arms.

Mr. Guterres added that tax evasion, money laundering and other illicit flows divert much-needed resources for sustainable development.

[ RMN Publications: Read and Download The Integrity Bulletin on Corruption ]

Referring to the World Economic Forum estimates, he said that the cost of corruption is at least $2.6 trillion — or 5 per cent of global gross domestic product. And according to the World Bank, he said, businesses and individuals pay more than $1 trillion in bribes each year. Corruption begets more corruption and fosters a corrosive culture of impunity.

The United Nations Convention against Corruption is among the primary tools for advancing the fight. Sustainable Development Goal 16 and its targets also offer a template for action.

“Through the Convention’s peer review mechanism, we can work together to build a foundation of trust and accountability. We can educate and empower citizens, promote transparency, and strengthen international cooperation to recover stolen assets,” Mr. Guterres suggested in his message.

“Millions of people around the world have gone to the ballots this year with corruption as one of their top priorities. On International Anti-Corruption Day, let us take a stand for integrity,” he added.

Photo courtesy: UNODC

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Rakesh Raman