• Loading

Faith leaders and relief agencies urge UN to fight corruption that compounds poverty

Corruption and poverty mutually reinforce injustice whilst undermining equitable economic growth and sustainable development - according to faith based development agencies and faith leaders who have today written to the Secretary-General of the UN. The letter to Ban Ki-moon comes as a working group of signatory countries meet in Vienna ahead of the Conference of State Parties later this year.  

The following is a statement from Cafod, Christian Aid, Islamic Relief, Tearfund and the Australian Synod of Victoria and Tasmania:   

We are putting pressure on the UN and world leaders to step up the fight against corruption. The diversion of public funds, loss of investment and the reduction in tax revenues hits the poorest and most vulnerable hardest. Put simply, corruption is at the heart of people’s experience of poverty.

Corrupt practices constitute an insurmountable barrier to high-quality education, affordable healthcare and decent livelihoods. The opportunity and hope for so many in society is stolen by corruption. It undermines the principles of justice and equality, eroding value systems, social cohesion and trust.

This is why we have joined over 50 faith leaders in writing to the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon. Although we strongly support the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), urgent action is needed on the agreement of a review mechanism for the Convention. This must be adopted by State Parties at the Doha conference in November. The success of UNCAC in reducing corruption will hinge on the commitment of all nation states to implement fully its provisions and the establishment of an effective review mechanism to monitor progress.

Two elements essential for a robust and credible review mechanism are transparency and the participation of civil society. Firstly, transparency – via the publication of reports and recommendations – is vital to ensure a fair and effective process. Honesty and integrity are the moral values that underpin any attempts to tackle corrupt practices, and a commitment to a transparent review mechanism is testimony to political leadership that is mature and accountable.

Secondly, civil society can positively contribute to the implementation of the Convention and the review process. Civil society organisations, including faith groups, provide an important link to communities experiencing poverty.

The review mechanism must make room for the voices of men and women living in poverty. If those most affected by corruption are not accorded space to contribute to the review, it will be impossible to measure accurately UNCAC’s effectiveness.

The review mechanism – founded on the principles of transparency and civil society participation – will demonstrate to poor communities that those they have entrusted with power and leadership are willing to end the scourge of corruption.

- Ends -

Notes to Editors:
For further information  contact Andrew Hogg at Christian Aid on 0207 523 2058/07872 350534 or ahogg@christian-aid.org, Jonathan Spencer at Tearfund on 020 8943 7901 or jonathan.spencer@tearfund.org or Nana Anto-Awuakye at Cafod on 020 7095 5560 or nanto-awuakye@cafod.org.uk