Corruption is an "insidious menace" and obstacle to economic and social development around the world, and has prompted the United Nations to strengthen its own mechanism to ensure that integrity and ethics guide all its undertakings, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a message to an anti-corruption meeting.
"[Corruption] debases democracy, undermines the rule of law, distorts markets, stifles economic growth, and denies many their rightful share of economic resources or life-saving aid," Mr. Annan said yesterday in a message to mark the beginning of The Executive Programme on Corruption Control and Organizational Integrity co-founded by the UN and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
The UN is in the frontline in the fight against corruption, Mr. Annan noted, adding that such efforts must however begin at home, and hence the need to join hands with Harvard to strengthen the training required to take "a closer look at our internal governance and professional ethics."
"A major step forward is expected later this year when Member States gather in Mexico City to sign a United Nations Convention Against Corruption," the Secretary-General said. The Convention would ensure the criminalization of diverse forms of corruption and oblige Member States to take effective preventive measures to protect the dignity of their institutions and procedures.
"By contributing to poverty and a sense of hopelessness, corruption can be a midwife of terrorism, trafficking in people, and other threats to human security," Mr. Annan warned. The message was delivered by Dileep Nair, Under-Secretary-General for Internal Oversight Services.