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2018 marks the anniversary of a multitude of different political as well as social turning points in human history. While the festivities commemorating the end of World War I were widely broadcasted and spoken about, two anniversaries often fall short of the public's attention: The 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as the 15th anniversary of the United Nations Convention against Corruption, leading to the International Anti-Corruption Day on the 9th of December.
Corruption, a risk to the SDGs
Corruption presents a serious and often underestimated threat in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, a list of 17 goals introduced to tackle current challenges and transform our world. Established in 2015 under the leadership of former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the SDGs aim at providing a united blueprint for action in order to achieve both peace and prosperity within the global community. Recent studies have frequently argued in favor of the vital and important role anti-corruption measures can occupy when it comes to the implementation of the SDG’s.
The true costs of corruption
The economic, political and social complexity of corruption affects both developed and developing countries and sabotages global efforts of democratization, decreases economic growth and fuels political and social instability by interfering in electoral campaigns, inciting distrust towards governmental and economic institutions and demoralizes the rule of law.
Organizations such as the United Nations Human Rights Council have intensified their attention towards the impact of corruption on the global implementation of human rights. The increasing examination of the complex interplay between human rights abuse and corruption led to the conclusion that disadvantaged groups are disproportionately suffering from corruption because of their greater reliance on public services and goods. Estimates by the World Economic Forum suggest that up to 5 percent of the global gross domestic product or up to $2.7 trillion are lost annually due to global corruption. The loss of important financial means, often further hampers the success of the Sustainable Development Goals for years to come.
Most of the countries are making little to no progress in combating corruption according to the latest Corruption Perception Index, published by Transparency International.The report rated 180 countries on their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and business people. While the corruption threatens all 17 SDGs, its dangerous effect becomes particularly clear when speaking about specific goals:
The Human Rights day, annually celebrated shortly after the International Anti-Corruption Day, on the 10th of December reflects the adaption of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. This milestone document empowers all of humankind by proclaiming the inalienable rights to which every human being is inherently entitled, regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. While it is yet to be fully realized, it acts as a foundation of a more just world building the framework of a equal society.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution or measure to counteract corruption. Numerous societies have had significant breakthroughs when it comes to combating and opposing corruption. Here are four ways how governments, civil society, and business can help address the problem and get active:
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