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UNITED NATIONS, July 10 (Itar-Tass) —— Lack of attention to corruption problems may undermine society, Yury Fedotov, the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, said on Monday, addressing a special event devoted to promoting accountability and transparency to foster sustainable development
In his words, preventing and combating corruption was the shared responsibility of every sector of society.
“As an extremely conservative figure, UNODC and the World Bank estimate that up to 40 billion U.S. dollars are stolen from developing countries every year. The high cost of corruption is paid by ordinary citizens who cannot obtain basic services due to the misappropriation of funds,In his words, preventing and combating corruption was the shared responsibility of every sector of society” he said.
The event took place during the high-level segment of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which is currently holding its annual session in New York. Attended by the President of ECOSOC, Milos Koterec, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson and government representatives and the private sector, the event's debate centred on the costs imposed by lack of accountability and transparency and corruption on sustainable development, and innovative approaches to and partnerships in fighting corruption.
The forum urged stronger political commitment to the ratification of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) by countries that have not yet done so, and called on Member States to participate in the Peer Review Mechanism which was established in 2010 to review of implementation of the Convention and to help Member States identify challenges and good practices.
The Convention, of which UNODC is guardian, obliges States to prevent and criminalize corruption, promote international cooperation, recover stolen assets and improve technical assistance and information exchange in both the private and the public sectors. The Convention has nearly reached universal ratification, with 160 States signatories.
Fedotov said he hoped the Convention would soon become a comprehensive agreement, but its ratification, in his words, is only the first step on the path of exterminating corruption. The essential condition at the first stage is complete acceptance of its conditions and fulfillment of its recommendations. It is, as he put it, “a challenge to the international community as a whole and to its individual member states.” Many countries need assistance in enforcing provisions of the Convention and UNODC is ready to help, he noted.
The Executive Director stated that UNODC was working actively with both the public and private sector. The Office works closely with the United Nations Global Compact which encourages businesses worldwide to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies. The tenth principle of the Global Compact relates to corruption, including extortion and bribery.
“I call on governments to do everything in their power to assist with initiatives from UNODC aimed at ensuring the full implementation of UNCAC. Working together, we must help developing countries defeat corruption, and in doing so, assist with the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and sustainable development,” he stressed.