UNITED AGAINST CORRUPTION

Jorge Bermúdez| Comptroller General of the Republic of Chile & Representative of the Anti-Corruption Alliance

Marcela Ríos| UNDP Resident Representative a.i. in Chile & Representative of the Anti-Corruption Alliance

Today, December 9, the International Day Against Corruption is celebrated worldwide to raise awareness of the impact it has and remember that its fight is one of the main challenges to advance sustainable development.

Corruption reduces economic growth, undermines democracy, and affects millions of people. The World Bank estimates that globally, corruption costs 2% of world GDP; while OECD estimates indicate that transnational companies allocate 11% of their investments to bribe payments. The United Nations indicates that 2.6 trillion dollars are lost each year due to acts of corruption- equivalent to 124 million children unable to access education.

Corruption can also be a defeat for democracy when some seek to privilege themselves over the rest, securing personal favors or access to goods and services over others. Corruption leads to the loss of trust in institutions, to the distancing of citizens from public affairs, and to the radicalization of political visions. Thus, in a corrupt country, democratic coexistence is profoundly affected.

Aware of the importance of addressing this problem since 2012, the Comptroller General of the Republic and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) have promoted the AntiCorruption Alliance UNCAC Chile. Currently, this initiative is made up of 26 organizations from the public, private and civil society sectors committed to promoting good practices to implement the principles of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).

This year the Anti-Corruption Alliance has established itself as the main point of collaboration to address this issue from a multisectoral perspective. Its work has been oriented -among other matters- to identify and disseminate good practices in the public and private spheres, to promote the improvement of regulations for its prevention, oversight and sanctions, and to strengthen integrity in the public service at the central governmental public levrel and at the local level.

From the recent work, 4 key elements were identified to prevent and combat corruption in Chile. The first of these is the need to develop an effective system of protection for whistleblowers that offers anonymity and protection to those who report. Secondly, progress should be made in the application of the public procurement system to other state powers and to all state enterprises, which will ensure that public resources are used with the principles of integrity, effectiveness, efficiency and economy. In third

It is a priority to advance in the strengthening of the control and sanctioning powers of the auditing entities, which will ensure that every public weight, especially at the municipal level, is being invested correctly. Finally, effectively combating corruption requires strengthening prevention policies and mechanisms, both in the cultural and educational spheres, as well as in organizations, within private and public institutions, with early warnings and effective policies in terms of training and promotion of people.

The work of the Anticorruption Alliance is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, because only through the construction of institutions open to the public, transparent and free of corruption will it be possible to put an end to poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

During the last few years, progress has been made in the legislative field, in the realization of diagnoses and the establishment of good practice commitments. Today is the time to go a step further and form multisectoral alliances that engage not only the public sector, but also the private sector and civil society. By favoring collaboration between public agencies, companies, and civil society, the Anti-Corruption Alliance makes the UN’s call to be “United Against Corruption” its own. We are convinced that it is the only way to consolidate in Chile a civic culture of integrity and prevent millions of people from seeing their development opportunities compromised due to corruption.

UN Development Programme (UNDP) Latin America & Caribbean / Programa de la ONU p/ el Desarrollo (PNUD ) América Latina y el Caribe latinamerica.undp.org