Stressing that the United Nations will continue to do its part in the ongoing global fight against crime, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today highlighted a range of UN initiatives in a message to a meeting in Seoul on anti-corruption measures.
“For too long, the world has looked the other way while corrupt elites looted their countries of hundreds and even billions of dollars, generating economic chaos and depriving citizens of education, health services, basic infrastructure and functioning public services,” Mr. Annan said in a statement delivered on his behalf by Dileep Nair, Under-Secretary-General for Internal Oversight Services to the Third Global Forum on Fighting Corruption and Safeguarding Integrity, which runs through Saturday in Seoul.
Applauding the Forum’s efforts to push forward the fight against corruption, Mr. Annan went on to underscore the great importance the UN attaches to this issue. The Vienna-based UN Office on Drugs and Crime (ODC) and its Global Programme against Corruption has paid particular attention to strengthening the integrity and capacity of criminal justice systems, he said.
“The UNODC is, on request, working with Member States to improve legislation, empower civil society and strengthen national institutions through more transparent procedures and more effective accountability structures,” he noted.
Mr. Annan also said that the UN itself has launched an Organizational Integrity Initiative designed to promote professional ethics and better protect its resources and reputation. The comprehensive plan will involve staff perception surveys, ethics training, early warning systems and capacity building in the areas of prevention and oversight.
“After all,” he said, “if UN agencies are advocating integrity and good governance, we ourselves have a duty to lead by example and practice what we preach.”