December 9- International Anti-Corruption Day

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Corruption is a complex social, political and economic phenomenon that affects all countries. Corruption undermines democratic institutions, slows economic development, and contributes to governmental instability.

Corruption attacks the foundation of democratic institutions by distorting electoral processes, perverting the rule of law, and creating bureaucratic quagmires whose only reason for existing is the solicitation of bribes. Economic development is stunted because foreign direct investment is discouraged, and small businesses often find it impossible to overcome the “start-up costs” required because of corruption.

On October 31, 2003, the General Assembly adopted the United Nations Convention against Corruption and requested that the Secretary-General designate the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) as secretariat for the Convention’s Conference of States Parties (resolution 58/4). The Assembly also designated December 9 as International Anti-Corruption Day to raise awareness of corruption and the Convention’s role in combating and preventing it. The Convention entered into force in December 2005.

Governments, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, the media, and citizens worldwide are joining forces to fight this crime. The United Nations Development Programme(UNDP) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) are at the forefront of these efforts.

Your right, your role: Say no to corruption

Corruption affects all areas of society. Preventing corruption unlocks progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, helps protect our planet, creates jobs, achieves gender equality, and secures wider access to essential services such as healthcare and education. 

While it is everyone’s right to benefit from strong anti-corruption efforts, misconduct and wrongdoing are stealing away valuable resources at a time when they are most needed to respond to and recover from the COVID-19 crisis. 

The 2021 International Anti-Corruption Day seeks to highlight the rights and responsibilities of everyone – including States, Government officials, civil servants, law enforcement officers, media representatives, the private sector, civil society, academia, the public, and youth – in tackling corruption.

And yet, it is not only countries that need to unite and face this global problem with shared responsibility. Every person – young and old – has a role to play to prevent and counter corruption to promote resilience and integrity at all levels of society.

To achieve this, policies, systems, and measures need to be in place for people to be able to speak up and say no to corruption. The United Nations Convention against Corruption emphasizes the responsibility of Governments to put in place effective whistleblower protection to ensure that persons who speak up are protected from retaliation. These measures contribute to effective, accountable, and transparent institutions towards a culture of integrity and fairness.

Campaign 2021

A six-week campaign starting at the beginning of November aims to highlight the role of key stakeholders and individuals in preventing and countering corruption in line with the theme, “Your right, your role: say no to corruption”. Each week will focus on one of these key topics.

  • Education and youth
  • Sport
  • Gender
  • Private sector
  • COVID-19
  • International cooperation

The campaign also aims to share good practices and examples of preventing and countering corruption worldwide through strengthening international cooperation against corruption; tackling linkages with other forms of crime; enabling the recovery and return of stolen assets; developing innovative solutions; advancing prevention through education; leveraging youth engagement; and mobilizing allies in civil society, academia, and the private sector.

Reducing the risks of mismanagement and corruption during the pandemic requires the involvement of strong anti-corruption bodies, better oversight over emergency support packages, more open and transparent public procurement, and enhanced anti-corruption compliance by the private sector. In addition, countries also need to ensure support to and protection for whistleblowers and journalists uncovering corruption during the pandemic and bring their national anti-corruption frameworks in line with the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).


UN Office on Drugs and Crime

Other UN Offices and Agencies

World Bank Group

Other International Organizations