Every year, trillions of dollars – the equivalent of more than five percent of global Gross Domestic Product – are paid in bribes or stolen through corrupt practices that seriously undermine the rule of law and abet crimes such as the illicit trafficking of people, drugs and arms.
Tax evasion, money laundering and other illicit flows divert much-needed resources from schools, hospitals and essential infrastructure; funds that are essential to advancing the Sustainable Development Goals.
People are right to be angry. Corruption threatens the well-being of our societies, the future of our children and the health of our planet. It must be fought by all, for all.
And as in their mobilization for ambitious climate action and a fair globalization, it is inspiring to see young people demanding accountability and justice as a way to address and eradicate corrupt practices.
We must unite against corruption to stop the drain on resources caused by illicit financial flows. The United Nations Convention against Corruption, ratified by nearly every country in the world, gives us the means to strengthen our commitment to addressing this issue.
Later this month, Governments will meet in Abu Dhabi to review progress and prepare for the first-ever General Assembly Special Session on combatting corruption, which will take place in 2021. I call on them to take decisive action to make the fight against corruption a top priority.
On this International Day, I urge people everywhere to continue to work on innovative solutions to win the battle against corruption and to ensure that precious resources serve the peoples of the world.