Address by Mr. Subinay Nandy, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations & UNDP Resident Representative
Marking International Anti Corruption Day
9 December 2015, Colombo
His Excellency Maithripala Sirisena, the President of Sri Lanka; Representatives from the Prime Minister’s Office; Hon. Ministers and Deputy Ministers; Hon. Commissioners and Director General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC); distinguished guests; and citizens who have come together today to demonstrate your support to eliminate bribery and corruption;
Let me take this opportunity to start by sharing the UN Secretary General’s message on International Anti-Corruption Day 2015:
<quote> Global attitudes towards corruption have changed dramatically. Where once bribery, corruption and illicit financial flows were often considered part of the cost of doing business, today corruption is widely — and rightly — understood as criminal and corrosive. The new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, our plan to end poverty and ensure lives of dignity for all, recognizes the need to fight corruption in all its aspects and calls for significant reductions in illicit financial flows as well as for the recovery of stolen assets.
Corruption has disastrous impacts on development when funds that should be devoted to schools, health clinics and other vital public services are instead diverted into the hands of criminals or dishonest officials.
Corruption exacerbates violence and insecurity. It can lead to dissatisfaction with public institutions, disillusion[ment] with government in general, and spirals of anger and unrest.
The United Nations Convention against Corruption provides a comprehensive platform for governments, non-governmental organizations, civil society, and individual citizens. Through prevention, criminalization, international cooperation and assets recovery, the Convention advances global progress toward ending corruption. <unquote>
It is opportune that we celebrate this day in an era where Sri Lanka has endorsed principles of “good governance.” I wish to congratulate CIABOC and civil society organizations for taking a series of actions to commemorate this Day as part of Sri Lanka’s long-term commitment to tackling bribery and corruption.
Sri Lanka became the second UN member state to ratify the UNCAC in March 2004, thereby confirming its commitment to this universal and legally binding instrument that stipulates anti-corruption standards applicable to both the public and private sectors.
Corruption and Development
Corruption is the single greatest obstacle to economic and social development around the world. Every year, a sum that is equivalent to more than 5% of global GDP is paid in bribes and stolen through corruption.
In developing countries, funds lost to corruption are estimated at 10 times the amount of official development assistance. But corruption does not just steal money from where it is needed the most; it also leads to weak governance.
As the Secretary General noted in his statement, corruption can lead to a decrease in the provision of services, by diverting funds that are intended to provide basic needs such as healthcare, education, clean water, sanitation and housing, and depriving vulnerable segments of the population.
Corruption leads to employment issues – where jobs are given not on merit but through nepotism, and opportunities are denied. Often for the poor, women, youth and marginalized groups, corruption means even less access to jobs.
Additionally, as corruption discourages foreign investment, this leads to fewer employment opportunities and hinders the country’s growth potential.
The roles of different actors within UNCAC
The fight against corruption requires collective action by all key actors: Governments, private sector, civil society, media and most importantly citizens – who are aware of their rights and how to uphold them.
The UN system stands ready to be part of your journey to drive the needed changes; to ensure that the future of Sri Lanka is safe and that the next generation will see an unprecedented rate of human development free from the bonds of corruption.
*View more photos of the International Anti-Corruption Day Walk organized by the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) and Transparency Sri Lanka (TISL), to mark International Anti-Corruption day on 9 December 2015.