International Anti Corruption Day 2020: Current Theme, History and Significance
International Anti-Corruption Day 2020: It is observed on 9 December globally to raise awareness on the importance of a corruption-free society. The day also provides us an opportunity to recommit to collective action in preventing and addressing corruption.
To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals a global campaign #UnitedAgainstCorruption focuses on corruption. Let us tell you that corruption is one of the biggest obstacles to achieve the SDG. It has been seen that a person in power abuse people and so they lost their freedom, health, life, and future. Corruption affects every country, region, community and no one is immune to this crime. Therefore, we should take part in fighting against corruption.
International Anti-Corruption Day is celebrated worldwide under the observance of the United Nations and encourages a global fight against corruption keeping the sustainable development goal of 2030 at the apex.
According to UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres - "Corruption is criminal, immoral and the ultimate betrayal of public trust. It is even more damaging in times of crisis – as the world is experiencing now with the COVID-19 pandemic. The response to the virus is creating new opportunities to exploit weak oversight and inadequate transparency, diverting funds away from people in their hour of greatest need."
No doubt the main objective of the day is to eliminate corruption to make a way for a prosperous society in the whole world. Lots of activities like conferences, speeches, plays with a feeling to combat corruption are performed both in the UN and respective member states.
International Anti-Corruption Day 2020: Theme
The theme of International Anti-Corruption Day 2020 is ‘Recover with Integrity to Build Forward Better’. As per the UN, "RECOVER and INTEGRITY" focuses on putting effective corruption mitigation measures in place that will lead to better recovery and it also emphasizes that inclusive COVID-19 recovery can only be achieved with integrity.
What is Corruption?
According to the UN, corruption is a serious crime that can undermine social and economic development in all societies. No country, region, or community is immune from corruption. It is found in all parts of the world whether it is political, social, or economic which threatens and undermines the democratic institutions, contributes the governmental instability, and slows down economic development.
In easy words, we can say that corruption is dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery or corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain and can occur in several forms. It corrodes the fabric of society. It takes people's freedom, health, money, and sometimes their lives. Someone has correctly said that “Corruption is a sweet poison”.
International Anti-Corruption Day: History
In December 2003 the first step to fight against international corruption was taken by the United Nation by passing the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). It was drafted on 31st October 2003. UNAC is a treaty between UN member states which was signed on 9 December and came into effect from 14 December 2005. The aim of this treaty was to legally bind the member of the states to work in reducing corruption and enforce law and order. 5 points were explained in the agreement, they are:
- To take necessary steps for preventing corruption.
- Enforcing law and order.
- For reducing corruption cooperate at the international level.
- Recovery of Asset and its return to the country of origin.
- To provide technical assistance and exchange of information.
Let us tell you that the headquarters of UNCAC is located in Merida and New York. The Secretary-General of the United States acts as the depository and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime is the secretary to the meetings of the state parties. On 9 December, 2006 the first International Anti Corruption Day is observed in India by signing the UN Convention against corruption.
How is International Anti-Corruption Day celebrated?
As we know that the International Anti-Corruption Day is organised by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) every year all over the world. All these agencies work together and with their regional partners in combating corruption at the cross borders and also to promote and encourage the exchange of information.
Several personalities, politicians, notable writers, journalists, and members of private organisations also come forward to make awareness regarding corruption and reaffirm their faith in a corruption-free society.
Various seminars, campaigns, plays, skits, etc. were organised to provide knowledge to the public regarding corruption and how to curb it. Also, pamphlets, booklets were distributed at several places.
In India, the day is observed as an organised event by government and non-government organisations. Essay writing and speech competitions for children are organised in schools and colleges to make them aware of corruption and how it affects society. Local authorities distribute pamphlets in public by mentioning incidents of corruption and encourage people to raise their voice against corruption. Also, assurance is given to the people who register their complaints against corruption and keep their details confidential. This is also one of the moves to encourage people so that they come forward and fight corruption.
Several people organise events in their locality to spread awareness and also provide knowledge to the people about the responsibilities that are entrusted to the officials and the government. In fact, we should support and encourage others who raised their voices. Also, we should demand transparency in the functioning of various departments. Nowadays, social media plays a vital role in spreading messages, encourage people, and provide information from every hook and corner of the country wherever corruption takes place.
We take things lightly, ignore what happens around us because most people are of the opinion that corruption is a part and parcel of life and nothing can be done to eradicate it. But it is necessary to understand that unless we as the citizens are not determined to do away with corruption from the roots, accept whatever wrong happened with us then how can we expect the government to be corruption free. In fact, the objective of achieving sustainable development globally by 2030 is possible only if we eliminate corruption.