According to Lachezara Stoeva, President of the Economic and Social Council, SDG 16's steadfast anti-corruption strategy would pave the road for the 2030 Agenda's ambitious goals to become a reality
The Economic and Social Council of the United Nations recently conducted a special meeting to discuss practical ways to encourage anti-corruption practises at all levels. Unleashing the transformative force of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16: Improving Governance and Combating Corruption was the meeting's main theme.
“Corruption drains more than 5 per cent of the global GDP,” said Lachezara Stoeva, President of the Economic and Social Council. “Of the approximately $13 trillion in global public spending, up to 25 per cent is lost to corruption.”
In terms of public spending, that comes to at least $3 trillion.
Participants also discussed the importance of principles for good governance and emphasised tools like the UN Convention against Corruption.
“A resolute response to corruption, anchored in SDG 16, would pave the way for bringing the ambition of the 2030 Agenda closer to reality,” Ms. Stoeva said. “The stakes have never been higher.”
Indeed, she said, corruption has costs that go beyond money.
“Corruption contributes to the loss of natural resources, exacerbates poverty and inequality, erodes trust and social cohesion, and undermines economic and political stability,” she said.
She said corruption also disproportionately affects women, the poor, and vulnerable groups, and erodes human capital.
She stressed that "corruption stands in our way" and that there has never been a more pressing need to accelerate the implementation of all 17 SDGs at this juncture in the 2030 Agenda's implementation.
“Progress on SDG 16 on peace, justice, and strong institutions can unleash a virtuous circle,” she said, adding that the goal is an “indispensable requirement” for the effective implementation of all the SDGs.
In exchange, she added, progress on the SDGs serves as a catalyst for more potent anti-corruption measures.
The head of ECOSOC claimed that countries have undertaken a range of initiatives, raised awareness, and improved legislative and regulatory frameworks, citing "significant progress" in utilising available tools.
According to her, the potential of ICTs (information and communications technologies) and data is also being utilised by stakeholders, according to her. Parliaments, people, and civil society are involved in keeping an eye on corruption dangers and countermeasures, she noted.
Insights from the special meeting will be used to inform upcoming events, such as the SDG Summit in September at UN Headquarters in New York and the SDG 16 Conference in May in Rome.