It is a pleasure to congratulate Transparency International on its 20th anniversary.
Working in solidarity with other organizations, including the United Nations, you have helped to advance global anti-corruption efforts in developed and developing countries alike.
Corruption should no longer be seen as the regrettable price of doing business; it is a crime that must be rejected, from street corners to corporate boardrooms. Many billions of dollars are lost annually to corruption. The impact -- from arms smuggling and human trafficking to the trade in endangered species and the bribes that undermine governance and the rule of law-- is devastating and corrosive.
The international community has strengthened its efforts to help victims and create a climate of trust, transparency and accountability. The UN Convention against Corruption now has 168 parties, and the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative, a UN-World Bank partnership, is striving to close the sanctuaries used by unscrupulous leaders and others. The business community has a clear role to play in delivering the message that
anti-corruption efforts are not an onerous duty but rather an opportunity for renewal of lost credibility and damaged reputations.
The United Nations, for its part, operates in some of the world’s most dangerous and unstable environments. As a result, we face multi-faceted corruption risks that can undermine our efforts to advance development, peace and human rights. There are also vulnerabilities within the Organization, as with any large enterprise such as ours, and
we have developed a robust system of internal control to respond to it. We continue
to remain vigilant and work hard to address these challenges and to set an example
of integrity for the people we serve.
Congratulations again on your 20th Anniversary. I look forward to continuing our shared efforts to rid the world of corruption.