This year marks one decade since the United Nations adopted the Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), the first legally binding international agreement to fight corruption in all of its forms.
Corruption hurts individuals trying to make a fair-living. It stunts economies, undermines democracy and causes citizens to lose faith in their leaders. Just last week, Transparency International released its 2013 Corruption Index, and with countries like Sudan, North Korea and Somalia at the bottom of the list, it is clear that in societies with high levels of corruption, citizens suffer a lack of security, inadequate access to basic services and an inability to enjoy their full human rights.
In 2011, based on the idea that open governments and societies will lead to prosperity, security and peace, President Obama and seven other world leaders launched the Open Government Partnership (OGP). Since then, 54 additional countries have joined by submitting National Action Plans with steps to make their governments more transparent, less corrupt and better able to serve their people. Last Friday, the Obama Administration released its second Open Government National Action Plan, laying out 23 new and expanded commitments to advance our efforts to make sure government is accountable and accessible to the American people.
We have also joined with the world’s leading economies in the G-20 to create an ambitious anti-corruption action plan that promises to close the gap between the commitments countries have made through UNCAC and the progress that has been achieved on the ground. Already, the G-20 initiative has delivered progress on the criminalization of foreign bribery, the protection of whistleblowers and denying entry to corrupt actors.
Every day, we see the corrosive effects of corruption on countries with tremendous promise. The United States is proud to be a partner in the global fight against corruption, and we must rededicate ourselves to empowering those leaders working to build more open and responsive governments around the world.
- Cross posted from U.S. Mission to the UN
Related: Secretary Kerry on International Anticorruption Day