Atlanta, GEORGIA/ Despite progress, corruption remains a significant obstacle to development at global and local levels. With one in five people worldwide still facing bribery for public services and 124 countries showing no improvement in their corruption levels, this widespread corruption highlights the urgency of collective action.
The International Anti-Corruption Day (IACC 2023) serves as an opportunity for us to reflect on and reinforce our commitment towards collective action to prevent and address corruption at all levels.
Interestingly, this year’s IACD coincides with the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), hence the theme, “UNCAC at 20: Uniting the World Against Corruption.” Since 2003, the UNCAC has served to galvanize anti-corruption efforts and measures at global, regional, national and sub-national levels. This advancement has been crucial in fostering peace, security and development as highlighted by this year’s theme. As an important actor in the anticorruption space, Policy Alert is actively participating in a number of sessions during the Tenth Conference of States Parties to the UNCAC currently holding here at Atlanta, Georgia and is using the opportunity to draw international attention to specific anti-corruption issues in Nigeria and Africa.
As we commemorate this day, it is important to highlight recent national gains on anti-corruption, including but not limited to important progress on some anti-corruption legislation and strides in asset recovery such as recent plans by the French government to repatriate $150 million dollars looted funds linked to former military president Sani Abacha. On the former, we call for urgent action on outstanding anti-corruption legislation, including the proposed whistleblower bill and the review of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) Act 2007. On the later, we urge returner countries, international organizations, and the Nigerian state to continue to ensure that future recoveries and repatriations are done in line with the Global Forum on Asset Recovery (GFAR) principles and in a manner that does not reinforce the impunity of corrupt while further disempowering the victims of corruption.
At the sub-national level, we urge governments to develop and implement strong state anti-corruption strategies. Unfortunately, some states have obtained interlocutory injunctions preventing anti-corruption agencies from investigating public officials. We call attention to the potential of these legal blocks to anticorruption efforts at the sub national level and urge concerted action to reverse the trend.
We commend the collective efforts of all actors, governments, the private sector, civil society, development partners, the media, academics, and citizens around the world joining forces to fight this crime. Together, we can win the war against corruption!