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Statement by the Director-General, Jan Beagle, on International Anti-corruption Day

9 Dec 2020

International Anti-corruption Day

With its profound negative impact on rule of law, good governance, and human rights, corruption threatens peace and security, hampers the provision of public services, and thwarts inclusive economic development, posing a significant challenge to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and its commitment to “leave no one behind.” Its broad social costs are thus felt disproportionately by vulnerable groups, and in particular women, who represent a higher share of the world's poor.

As 2020 draws to a close, the momentous nature of this challenge is starker than ever. The observance of this year’s International Anti-Corruption Day is marked by the consequences of COVID-19. Pandemic mitigation measures have complicated the routine functioning and responsiveness of state institutions, large-scale emergency sanitary procurement measures have introduced new corruption risks, and redirection of public funds to health measures may undercut already-strained resources available to justice sector institutions in responding to their anti-corruption obligations. In recognition of these challenges, IDLO’s recent policy brief on The Rule of Law and COVID-19 sets the framework for pandemic recovery and response by leveraging the rule of law as a basic guiding principle.

The fallout from the pandemic has underlined the need to redouble international anti-corruption efforts. Engagement of all actors concerned—governments, civil society, and development partners alike—is increasingly critical.

For its part, IDLO has continued to support its national counterparts—in Armenia, The Bahamas, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Philippines, Somalia, and Ukraine—in tackling corruption challenges and strengthening transparency and accountability during the pandemic period. Applying expert knowledge to the establishment of specialized anti-corruption institutions, improvement of legal frameworks, and development of digital innovation initiatives, IDLO is helping governments to ensure that public processes, legislation, and decision-making are more transparent and inclusive, and that services are delivered effectively in response to peoples’ needs.

IDLO welcomes the global community’s continued focus on supporting states’ compliance with their obligations under the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), in preventing, detecting, investigating, and prosecuting corruption. IDLO has drawn attention to the increased importance of anti-corruption measures as part of the justice sector’s pandemic response.

IDLO is participating in the preparations for the forthcoming UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on corruption, supporting the development of a political declaration that will highlight the necessity of effective preventive measures, independent and impartial prosecution, and legal empowerment of justice seekers to future anti-corruption initiatives.

IDLO also looks forward to supporting the work of the G-20 Anti-Corruption Working Group (ACWG) under the upcoming chairmanship of Italy in 2021.

IDLO has enshrined countering corruption and increasing accountability as an integral component of its new Strategic Plan 2021-2024, and as a crucial element of its commitment  to the “leave no one behind agenda.”

On International Anti-Corruption Day, in a year so profoundly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the immense challenges it continues to present, we join the UN’s call to “RECOVER with INTEGRITY.”

We stand ready to continue supporting our national and international partners around the world in redoubling collective efforts towards advancing effective, sustainable, and innovative solutions to combating corruption, both in this time of crisis, and beyond.

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The International Development Law Organization (IDLO) enables governments and empowers people to reform laws and strengthen institutions to promote peace, justice, sustainable development and economic opportunity.

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