International Anti Corruption Day 2020 has exposed how vulnerable the underprivileged people are amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Corruption is betrayal of public trust and nothing is more damaging in times of crisis. “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,” United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres said in his message on International Anti Corruption Day. According to the world body, there is an “urgent need to ensure access to information about public decision-making on the pandemic relief efforts.” Vice President Venkaiah Naidu said, “Corruption is a major social evil that eats into the vitals of the system. It weakens economic growth and erodes trust in the system.”
International Anti Corruption Day 2020: Theme and history
‘Recover With Integrity’ is the theme for International Anti Corruption Day as the world recovers from the pandemic. ‘Recover With Integrity’ emphasizes that “inclusive COVID-19 recovery can only be achieved with integrity.” To ensure transparency in healthcare and public sector procurement amid the pandemic, governments globally are taking special steps but a lot more needs to done, say experts. Nations “need to ensure support and protection for whistle-blowers and journalists uncovering corruption during the pandemic”, anti corruption campaign organizer anticorruptionday.org says.
The UN General Assembly, on October 31, 2003 adopted the United Nations Convention against Corruption and requested that the Secretary-General to designate the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) as secretariat for the Convention’s Conference. The UNGA also designated December 9 as International Anti-Corruption Day, to make people aware about corruption and how it affects them. The Convention came into force in December 2005.
International Anti Corruption Day 2020: Key areas of focus
This year the worldwide campaign against corruption will focus on “mitigating corruption and enhancing accountability in the public health sector and, emergency and economic responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sports will also be part of the campaign to ensure it remains a force for development and peace.