As the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development recently began at the United Nations in New York, the global anti-corruption coalition Transparency International called on the UN to annually review Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. SDG 16 is one of six goals being reviewed in depth at the United Nations this week.
SDG 16 includes commitments to fight corruption, increase transparency, tackle illicit financial flows and improve access to information. As such, the goal is critical to the entire 2030 Agenda, because corruption undermines progress on all other SDGs. “Whether the focus is ending hunger and poverty, ensuring access to health, education, and clean water for all, or protecting marine environments and combatting climate change, fighting corruption is an essential pre-requisite for advancing the 2030 Agenda,” said Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chair of Transparency International, “When aid is siphoned off by the corrupt, when politicians come under undue influence from vested interests, or when citizens are unable to hold their governments to account over the delivery of essential services, the entire sustainable development programme is set backwards.”
The United Nations estimates that corruption, bribery, tax evasion and related illicit financial flows deprive developing countries of around US$1.26 trillion per year. This has recently been reinforced by IMF research showing that corruption reduces global tax revenues by US$1 trillion annually.
“Reducing corruption is an important component of the sustainable development agenda, and one that all state parties have an obligation to address,” said Patricia Moreira, Managing Director of Transparency International, “The scale of the challenge and its impact on sustainable development should compel the UN to review SDG 16 every year and set concrete, advanced indicators to measure its progress.”