What is corruption? Corruption is the other global pandemic to eradicate.
How much corruption costs to humanity? The size of the problem and its consequences are inherently difficult to measure.
Experts agree that the worldwide cost of corruption can be estimated at around 5% of global GDP.
How much is 5%? Well, it’s around 4 trillion US Dollars, that means, more than the entire GDP of the African Continent.
The International Monetary Fund described corruption as a complex network of leaking tubes. Corruption causes leakages at multiple points.
If no one stops the leakage, the risk is that one day the whole state building might collapse. In the same way, if we don’t stop corruption, the Rule of Law that governs our societies might come apart, undermining democracies, social justice and citizens’ trust in state institutions.
Corruption affects all areas of society.
It is not surprising that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) make specific reference to anti-corruption. This, not only as part of SDG 16 and its targets on reducing bribery, strengthening institutions, and accessing information, but also as a vital condition for achieving all the other goals.
Preventing corruption helps protect our planet, creates jobs, achieves gender equality, and secures wider access to services such as healthcare and education.
Clearly, corruption has moral and ethical dimensions. Corruption contrasts the principles of fairness, honesty, transparency, equal opportunities, meritocracy that should underpin well functioning societies.
To this end education is key to anti-corruption strategies. This year, the International Anti-Corruption Day seeks to highlight the rights and responsibilities of everyone – including States, Government officials, private sector, academia, civil society, and particularly the youth, in tackling corruption.
The corrupt and their corrupters are thieves of the future of next generations.
Here at the UN, Italy is on the front line of these efforts. On last June, Italy co-organized with UNODC, an important side-event at the Special session of the General Assembly against corruption.
At the G20 leaders’ summit held in Rome last October, the G20 countries reaffirmed their commitment to zero-tolerance for corruption in the public and private sectors and adopted an Anti-Corruption Action Plan for the years 2022-2024.
To conclude, corruption is not only immoral, but is a serious crime. It betrays people and democracies. It steals trillions of dollars from people all over the world — usually from those most in need, eroding human rights and increasing inequalities. Today and every day, let’s get together and say NO to corruption. Everyone has a role to play.