Source: Forum Alpbach
On September 1st 2020, Chairman Ban Ki-moon was invited to speak at the Alpbach Forum IACA High-Level Panel Discussion. The Forum was organized online for international participants, and covered the top of rebuilding the Global Economy through sustainable measures.
Chairman Ban spoke on the intersection between corruption and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. He emphasized the importance of government engagement, as it’s needed to “strengthen their anti-corruption policies.” He stated that Governments must “join forces with the public sector and civil society to combat the vicious cycle of corruption, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
But most importantly, he underlined that sustainably rebuilding the global economy can only be achieved through following the 2030 Agenda. In addition, He spoke on the lack of 2030 Agenda funding, as “the estimated annual $2.5 trillion funding gap for the SDGs could be filled by the more than $2 trillion that are wasted on corruption every year, as assessed by the International Monetary Fund.”
Chairman Ban concluded his speech through linking corruption to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, as it is crucial for “governments to align their SDG action plans with anti-corruption strategies.” He mentioned individuals of all fields of profession, as “successfully addressing corruption requires synergies of politicians, businesses, media, NGOs and civil society through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach.”
Below is the full script of Chairman Ban’s speech
Your Excellency ,
Your Excellency ,
Dear online listeners ,
I would like to congratulate the European Forum Alpbach for the excellent organization of its first hybrid version of the event. I would also like to thank the International Anti-Corruption Academy for inviting me to speak on the very crucial topic of the intersection between corruption and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Your institution has been a key player in promoting accountability and empowering professionals to be active agents of change.
The current pandemic spotlights the vast inequalities that still persist in our societies. World leaders must take responsibility in creating inclusive healthcare systems and social policies that leave no one behind. The commitment of the G-20 leaders to inject $5 trillion into the global economy is highly encouraging. However, the world leaders must ensure that this injection also reaches the most vulnerable populations.
Cracks in national healthcare systems are exposed as countries face drastic shortages in life saving medical equipment. We know from the past that times of crisis give way to corruption and undermine adequate and quick response.
Governments need to strengthen their anti-corruption policies. The need to join forces with the public sector and civil society to combat the vicious cycle of corruption, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. SDG 3 on health and wellbeing is currently in the spotlight worldwide, bringing to surface underfunded public health institutions and corrupt medical suppliers.
Sustainably rebuilding the global economy can only be achieved if we use the 2030 Agenda as a roadmap. We are entering the Decade of Action and effective anti-corruption measures are essential for the achievement of all 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The estimated annual $2.5 trillion funding gap for the SDGs could be filled by the more than $2 trillion that are wasted on corruption every year, as assessed by the International Monetary Fund.
Goal 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions promotes democratic and inclusive societies, access to justice for all and effective rule of law. This lays the groundwork for sustainable, equal and prosperous societies in which individuals can thrive. Target 16.5 explicitly mentions efforts to reduce corruption and bribery in all forms and is pivotal for all 17 SDGs alike.
The enormous resources lost through illicit financial flows would be instrumental in the successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda and other global development efforts. The World Economic Forum estimates that an investment of $16 billion could end world hunger and $26 billion could finance basic education for all children. In the current wake of the pandemic, there is no time for corruption to derail our efforts toward providing a sustainable future for all.
Corruption hinders governments’ ability to provide its citizens with basic public services and thus deeply undermines legitimacy and trust in public institutions. Uneven distribution of basic needs like access to clean water, quality education or effective healthcare systems disproportionately affect marginalized groups, leading to increased inequality.
Moreover, corruption threatens the planet’s finite resources. In times of global warming, we need to acknowledge the daunting environmental damages caused by corruption in deforestation. Illegal trade in flora and fauna also contributes to the rapid disappearance of many of the planet’s protected species.
Corruption is intrinsically linked to all 17 SDGs. It is important for governments to align their SDG action plans with anti-corruption strategies. Successfully addressing corruption requires synergies of politicians, businesses, media, NGOs and civil society through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach.
Fighting corruption is not only an aim in itself, but can also be one of the most effective ways to achieve the Paris Climate Agreement, to ensure sustainable development and a prosperous future for all.