Monday, December 10, 2007

Corruption worsens poverty—UN

from The Manila Standard Today

By Michael Caber

A staggering $1 trillion in bribe money changes hand each year and each act of corruption contributes to global poverty, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

The Vienna-based agency disclosed the alarming statistics during the observance of the International Anti-Corruption Day Saturday as designated by the UN General Assembly in resolution no. 58/4.

The Philippines as a member of the UN joined the international community in the observance of the anti-corruption day, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

“The Philippine government emphasizes its resolve to forge ahead with its efforts to stamp out corrupt practices in both the public and private spheres of society,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo said.

The anti-graft campaign forms part of several efforts the UN adopted under its landmark Convention Against Corruption.

The UNCAC, which came into force in December 2005, represents a universally-accepted comprehensive platform for fighting corruption, Romulo said.

Focusing on the theme “You Can Stop Corruption”, International Anti-Corruption Day highlights the importance of a multi-sectoral approach built on complementary efforts by government, the private sector, civil society, and civic-minded individuals in curbing the problem of corruption in both the public and private sectors, Romulo said. “It also calls attention to the need for such efforts to be infused with a sense of ‘personal responsibility’.”

The UN’s anti-drug abuse office also stressed that “the damage caused by corruption cannot be merely measured in economic terms, as this insidious problem also debilitates judicial and political systems, weakens the rule of law, and erodes trust in government and national institutions.”

The Conference of the State Parties to the UNCAC, which promotes the implementation of this groundbreaking instrument, will hold its second session in Bali from Jan. 28 to Feb. 1 next year.

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