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Fighting corruption for global peace, development and security

Director, Governance and Peace-building, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP

9 December is the International Anti-Corruption Day, an opportunity to re-affirm our commitment to fight corruption.

The cost of corruption to society is enormous. In its 2017 report, Global Financial Integrity estimates that illicit financial flows (IFFs) in 2014 alone ranged from US$1.4 trillion to $2.5 trillion. The World Economic Forum estimates that the cost of corruption today equals more than 5 percent of global GDP ($2.6 trillion).

These figures are staggering but even more staggering is what lies behind these financial calculations – a world of dire poverty and inequality that continues to be exacerbated by the distortions in income distribution and public expenditure decisions, which are influenced by corrupt practices.

The Panama and Paradise Papers revealed the magnitude of hidden wealth from all over the world in offshore jurisdictions. According to Oxfam International, tax evasion causes Africa alone to lose $14 billion a year in fiscal revenues. These lost budgetary resources could have paid for healthcare to save the lives of 4 million children and could have employed more teachers to get every African child into school.

Similarly, the 2017 Global Corruption Barometer on the Asia-Pacific region shows that out of 22,000 people surveyed, 38 percent of the poorest said they had to pay a bribe to get access to public services. And data from 42 countries compiled by Transparency International reveal that higher levels of bribe-paying are associated with lower literacy rates among young people.

Anti-corruption protesters in Bangkok
Corruption erodes trust in public institutions and undermines the rule of law. Photo: UNDP Thailand

Hence, money lost to corruption is development denied to those most at risk of being left behind.

But corruption doesn’t only divert resources from development, it corrodes public trust in government institutions, undermines the rule of law, impairs the systems of checks and balances, and contributes to violence and insecurity.

Recent studies reveal that corruption and the impunity, injustice and inequality that it breeds, is one of the structural drivers of violent extremism that caused the death of nearly 30,000 people in 2015 alone, and cost nearly $90 billion to the global economy.  A 2016 UNDP research points out the link between violent extremism and experiences or perceptions of injustice, corruption and systematic discrimination and political and economic marginalization. The “2015 Peace and Corruption” report also provides empirical evidence that beyond a certain threshold, there is a correlation between increasing levels of corruption and growing violence and conflict, measured by political instability, violence, terrorism, organized crime, arms trafficking, and homicide rates.

We should therefore address corruption not only as a crime and an impediment to development, but also as a direct threat to peace and stability.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development makes an explicit link between corruption and peaceful, just and inclusive societies. One of the most important commitments in that agenda is “to leave no-one behind”, not in the delivery of services, not in decision-making and not in the dispensation of justice. Achieving that ambitious goal will not be possible without tackling corruption in all its forms. That is why this year’s UNDP-UNODC anti-corruption campaign to commemorate the International Anti-Corruption Day focuses on the theme “United against corruption for development, peace and security”.

On this International Anti-corruption Day, let’s stand together firmly in the fight against corruption.


UNDP Kicks Off Country Research on Linkages between Corruption and Violent Extremism in the Asia-Pacific Region

On 22-23 August 2017, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s Anti-Corruption for Peaceful and Inclusive Societies in Asia-Pacific 2016-2020 (ACPIS) Project gathered in Manila, Philippines national country researchers, together with regional and global experts, to plan a new UNDP research report on the ‘Linkages between Corruption and Violent Extremism in the Asia-Pacific Region’.

Ms Clare Duffield, Counsellor, Australian Embassy in the Philippines, Mr Ola Almgren, UNDP Resident Representative in the Philippines, and Mr Phil Matsheza, Team Leader of the Governance and Peacebuilding Unit in UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub opened the workshop and welcomed participants. The activity is supported by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. 

Ms Duffield discussed the ‘dual scourge’ of corruption and violent extremism harming national and local stability and prosperity. Mr Almgren noted the importance of involving youth and women to increase the effectiveness of fighting corruption and preventing violent extremism.  Mr Matsheza highlighted the strong demand that now exists for generating evidence of the linkages between corruption and violent extremism.

The national researchers from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan Philippines and Thailand will start their country studies after the workshop. UNDP aims to launch the new report to mark International Anti-Corruption Day on 9 December 2017.

For further information on the research report, please email:


New UNDP Anti-Corruption Programme, ACPIS, Launched in Singapore

On 7 March 2017, UNDP launched its new four-year project with the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT) Australia, Anti-Corruption for Peaceful and Inclusive Societies in Asia-Pacific (2016-2020) (ACPIS). The launch took place at the UN Global Centre for Public Service Excellence (UN GCSPE) in Singapore. Ms Vanessa Chan, Director-General of Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs International Organisations Directorate and Mr Bruce Gosper Australian High Commissioner to Singapore helped to launch the new project.

· Click here for The Straits Times article on the ACPIS Launch.
· Click here for ACPIS project documents.
· Click here to see UNDP Country Office projects under ACPIS.

For more information, please contact


Corruption remains one of the most significant problems in Kosovo


Corruption remains one of the most significant problems facing Kosovo today, argues the special edition of the Public Pulse on corruption released on 24 October.

The present Public Pulse on Corruption, focuses its analysis on perceptions of citizens of Kosovo on the prevalence of corruption, with particular emphasis on Kosovo public institutions on both central and local level.

Data collected through a general population survey with 1300 respondents and 500 targeted interviews with representatives of Kosovo public institutions from all management levels show that 18 percent of interviewed citizens perceive corruption as the most pressing issue. This percentage puts corruption as the second largest problem, trailing only unemployment which is perceived by 39 percent of the respondents as the most pressing issue.

In addition, this research also includes validation data from four thematic focus groups, namely focus groups with representatives of central level institutions, local level institutions, civil society and a focus group with gender activists dedicated to comparison of data with the UNDP survey on Gender and Corruption carried out in 2014.


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