Brussels, 9 December 2021/OACPS/UNODC: On the occasion of International Anti-Corruption Day 2021, the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) join forces to raise awareness of the strategic importance of tackling corruption; and to draw attention to the adverse impact of corruption on sustainable development, peace, security and human rights, nationally, regionally and internationally.

More specifically, the OACPS and UNODC acknowledge that preventing corruption promotes progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Furthermore, it helps create jobs, achieve gender equality, secure wider access to health, education, justice, digitalization and public spaces.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created new opportunities for corruption to thrive, thus increasing socio-economic inequalities, disproportionately affecting women, youth, poor and marginalised groups, and stealing valuable resources at a time when they are most needed. In order to respond to this crisis and its impact on social and economic development, the OACPS and UNODC urge the inclusion of anti-corruption measures in all COVID-19 response plans aimed at strengthening our collective recovery and creating a culture of integrity, fairness and accountability.

2021 has been a landmark year for global anti-corruption action. In June, the first-ever United Nations General Assembly Special Session against Corruption (UNGASS) adopted a strong Political Declaration to step up anti-corruption action and accelerate implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), the universal instrument against this crime. In December, the ninth session of the Conference of the States Parties to the UNCAC, in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, will advance the commitments of the UNGASS Political Declaration, including those aimed at improving international cooperation against corruption, supporting the world in recovering with integrity from the pandemic, and reinforcing efforts to restore public trust, strengthen effective institutions, promote development, and ensure economic and political stability.

At the 8th Summit of the ACP Heads of State and Government in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea from 31 May to 1 June 2016, OACPS leaders acknowledged that corruption is a serious threat to socio-economic growth, good governance and the rule of law, and called for steps to be taken to eliminate corruption in all its forms in government and the society at large. At the 9th Summit of OACPS Heads of State and Government held on 9 and 10 December 2019, leaders reaffirmed their full commitment to tackling corruption.

UNODC is a key partner for UN Member States in strengthening international cooperation against corruption; tackling linkages with other forms of crime; enabling the recovery and return of stolen assets; developing innovative solutions; advancing prevention through education; leveraging youth engagement; and mobilising allies in civil society, sport sector, academia, and the private sector. Through its global campaign, “Your right, your role: say no to corruption”, marking International Anti-Corruption Day 2021, UNODC is calling on all stakeholders to join forces to fight against corruption, noting that every single person has a role to play to prevent and counter corruption, in order to promote resilience and integrity at all levels of society.

To respond to a global problem with a global solution, the OACPS and UNODC encourage meaningful engagement of all individuals, building on existing good practices and fostering forward-looking innovations to counter corruption.

Useful links:

Port Moresby Declaration

Nairobi Nguvu ya Pamoja Declaration

Georgetown Agreement (Revised)