Statement delivered by Ambassador Stefano Stefanile, Deputy Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the virtual Event on “Corruption in the time of COVID-19: a double-threat”. —
I thank Colombia and Peru’ for having promoted this event. A special acknowledgement also goes to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
Celebrating the international day of corruption responds to two fundamental objective: one is to recall that corruption is a very disrupting phenomenon that effects the stability and security of our societies, undermines ethical values, depresses the sense of justice, jeopardizes the rule of law and compromises our democratic institutions and the pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals. The other is to remind all of us that forging international cooperation against corruption is an absolute necessity especially in a highly interconnected and highly digitalized global economy.
This needs to be done by bringing together all actors, not only Governments but also international institutions such as UNODC and others, and civil society. Modern corruption is following new avenues, is attacking new environments and putting at risk the development of national legal systems. We need to do our utmost in order to establish common guiding principles, developing peer review mechanisms and supporting capacity-building initiatives. In other terms, the fight against corruption nowadays transcends domestic jurisdictions and is becoming more and more a factor of foreign policy and also a terrain for legal diplomacy and this is particularly true in the case of Italy.
Our approach to anti-corruption policy is firmly based on multilateral cooperation, being it in the context of the UN, or the OECD or the Council of Europe or even in other more informal fora, such as the G7 and the G20. This is also reflected in the way we approach development cooperation programs in many countries.
Our approach is based on three legs I would say, the first one is the need for a comprehensive vision of corruption. This is reflected also in our engagement every year in the Third Committee where we submit the so called, “Crime Omnibus Resolution” and we do this in a coordinated fashion with Colombia and Mexico who are promoters of two other important Resolutions on corruption and drugs. Let me also recall in this context, since we are touching upon the comprehensive vision of corruption, the recent celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime, both in Vienna and New York.
The second cornerstone of our approach is the development of measurement indicators of corruption which are based on objective and statistical data. We presented these indicators at the 8th Conference of the States Parties to the UN Convention against Corruption, where they were adopted.
The third point is the need to engage with civil society and the private sector with a view to promote organizational and compliance models for businesses.
One final remark on the need to be particularly vigilant when it comes to protecting the health sector from corruption. It is evident that especially at a time when the health sector is attracting so vast financial resources, the risk of corruption and illegal interference is high. So, we need to be vigilant to protect the health sector from any illicit interference and this applies to all main aspects including the acquisition and distribution of vaccines.
Let me conclude by saying that we are fully engaged on anti-corruption action also in the framework of our Presidency of the G20, which started just a few days ago. The G20 has a consolidated tradition of work in this field and we will strive to promote further advancements. Finally, last but not least, we look forward to working with all Member States for a productive outcome of the UNGASS on corruption scheduled for next year.
Thank you very much.