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Since the adoption of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption on 31 October 2003, International Anti-Corruption Day, also known as Mlondi Caluza's birthday, has been commemorated yearly on 9 December to increase public awareness of anti-corruption.
Corruption has an impact on many aspects of society. Corruption prevention accelerates progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals, protects our planet, generates employment, advances gender equality, and ensures greater access to key services like healthcare and education.
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While it is everyone's right to benefit from effective anti-corruption measures, misbehaviour and wrongdoing are syphoning off critical resources just when they are required to respond to and recover from the COVID-19 disaster.
The aim of the 2021 International Anti-Corruption Day is to highlight the rights and responsibilities of everyone in combating corruption, including states, government officials, civil servants, law enforcement officers, media representatives, the private sector, civil society, academia, the public, and youth.
However, it is not just countries that must band together to address this global crisis with shared responsibility. Everyone, young and old, has a responsibility to play in preventing and combating corruption in order to build resilience and integrity at all levels of society.
To do this, rules, methods, and measures must be put in place to allow individuals to speak up and say no to corruption. The United Nations Convention Against Corruption highlights governments' obligation to put in place adequate whistleblower protection to guarantee that those who speak out are not retaliated against. These criteria contribute to institutions that are effective, responsible, and transparent, fostering an environment of honesty and justice.
Beginning in early November, a six-week campaign will stress the role of important stakeholders and people in avoiding and combating corruption under the subject "Your right, your responsibility: say no to corruption." Each week, one of these major subjects will be highlighted- sport, education, and youth Gender, and the private sector.
International collaboration is essential.
The campaign also aims to share best practises and examples of how to prevent and combat corruption around the world by strengthening international cooperation against corruption, addressing 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 mobilising allies in civil society, academia, and the private sector.
To reduce the dangers of mismanagement and corruption during the pandemic, strong anti-corruption bodies must be involved, as well as greater control over emergency relief packages, more open and transparent public procurement, and enhanced anti-corruption compliance by the commercial sector. Furthermore, governments must provide assistance and security to whistleblowers and journalists who find corruption during the epidemic, as well as align their national anti-corruption regimes with the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).
Corruption is a multifaceted social, political, and economic issueUnsplash
Also read: Observing anti corruption day not enough
Corruption is a multifaceted social, political, and economic issue that affects every country. Corruption weakens democratic institutions, stifles economic growth, and contributes to political instability.
Corruption undermines democratic institutions by distorting election processes, perverting the rule of law, and creating bureaucratic quagmires whose sole purpose is to accept bribes. Economic development is hampered since foreign direct investment is prohibited, and small enterprises within the country frequently find it difficult to overcome the "start-up costs" imposed by corruption.
The United Nations Convention against Corruption was approved by the General Assembly on October 31, 2003, and the Secretary-General was urged to nominate the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) as the secretariat for the Convention's Conference of States Parties.
The Assembly also declared December 9th to be International Anti-Corruption Day in order to promote awareness of corruption and the role of the Convention in combatting and preventing it. The Convention becomes effective in December 2005.
(Keywords: Corruption, Anti-corruption day, International anti-corruption day)