A network of public interest groups known as the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, UNCAC, Coalition, has warned that the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs, are bound to fail if governments do not take the fight against corruption seriously.
In a letter addressed to the President of the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly,, John Ashe, the coalition which comprises over 350 civil society organisations located in more than 100 countries, emphasised the role that corruption could play in hindering the attainment of the MDGs.
The letter which was signed by the chairman of the coalition coordination committee, Vincent Lazatin and its secretary, Gillian Dell, stressed that corruption is no ordinary crime as it “diverts an enormous flow of public funds that could be used to reduce maternal deaths and child mortality, ensure education for all, provide clean drinking water and sanitation and reduce the damaging effects of climate change”.
It said also that corruption runs counter to human rights and human dignity which the UN aims to promote and undermines economic development, leading to inequality and injustice.
The group said for the attainment of the MDGs, states have to step up efforts to prevent and fight corruption and urged that the Assembly’s debate on post-2015 MDGS include goals on eliminating corruption.
The UNCAC, adopted by the UN General Assembly ten years ago, provides the key framework for global action against corruption. Since its adoption, it has been ratified by 167 states.
The coalition also urged that the Fifth session of the Conference of States Parties to the UNCAC which will meet between November 25-29, 2013 in Panama, should ensure strong follow-up on implementation of the convention.
“We urge the UN General Assembly to encourage the Panama conference to take the necessary steps to strengthen and build momentum for UNCAC effectiveness,” it said.
The conference provides a forum for states to agree on action to end the secrecy practices that shield the corrupt and to devise plans on how to fix weaknesses in criminal law enforcement that lead to leniency for corruption offenders.
“It is essential that the Panama summit advances international anti-corruption work, including ensuring technical assistance to countries that require it. We hope that the UN General Assembly can play a leading role in promoting this outcome,” the UNCAC coalition said.
UNCAC is a legally binding international anti-corruption instrument that provides a unique opportunity to mount a global response to a global problem.