‘We Cannot Allow Corruption to Infest COVID-19 Recovery’ – UN Chief

Human Wrongs Watch

9 December 2020 (UN News)*Not only has the coronavirus crisis unleashed immense social and economic suffering, it has created opportunities for corruption to thrive, the UN Secretary-General has said, underscoring that measures to prevent and fight such unscrupulous activities must be included in recovery from the pandemic as well as in the development and rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.

World Bank/Philip Schuler | A billboard in Namibia, which calls on everyone to neither offer nor accept bribes.
“Governments are spending rapidly to get economies back on track, provide emergency support and procure medical supplies. Oversight may be weaker. And the development of vaccines and treatments adds to the risk of bribery and profiteering,” Secretary-General António Guterres said on International Anti-Corruption Day, on Wednesday [9 December 2020]

Corruption drains resources from people who need them, undermines trust in institutions, exacerbates the vast inequalities exposed by the virus, and hinders a strong recovery, he added.

“We cannot allow stimulus funds and vital emergency resources to be diverted … recovery from the pandemic must include measures to prevent and combat corruption and bribery.”  


Broad partnerships 

In his message, Mr. Guterres outlined the need for broad partnerships to strengthen oversight, accountability and transparency, building on the global anti-corruption tools provided by the UN Convention against Corruption

He called for action against corruption to be part of broader national and international reforms and initiatives to strengthen good governance, tackle illicit financial flows and tax havens, and return stolen assets, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs).  

“On International Anti-Corruption Day, all of us – governments, businesses, civil society and all stakeholders – must resolve to work together to promote accountability and end corruption and bribery for a more just and equal world,” the UN chief said. 

The International Day 

The International Day, observed on 9 December every year, was established by the UN General Assembly in 2003 to raise awareness of corruption and of the role of the Convention against Corruption in combating and preventing it. 

This year, the International Day is being commemorated under the theme of “Recover with Integrity”, which emphasizes that an inclusive COVID-19 recovery can only be achieved with integrity and accountability. 

Events will focus on mitigating corruption and enhancing accountability in the public health sector, emergency/economic responses to the pandemic, and the private sector.  

In addition, issues concerning corruption in sports and gender and corruption will also be highlighted, to outline the importance of sport for development and peace, and the need for diversity to break up corrupt networks, respectively.  


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