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The costs of corruption: values, economic development under assault, trillions lost, says Guterres

Anti-corruption sign in Namibia.
Anti-corruption sign in Namibia. -- photo credit World Bank/ Phillip Schuler

Every year, trillions of dollars - equivalent to more than five percent of global GDP - are paid in bribes or stolen through corruption, the United Nations reported on the International Day which serves to highlight the pervasive crime, marked this Sunday.

Secretary-General António Guterres deemed corruption “an assault on the values of the United Nations,” in a message on International Anti-Corruption Day, which is marked each 9 December.

He said that "it robs societies of schools, hospitals and other vital services, drives away foreign investment and strips nations of their natural resources,” he said.

One trillion dollars are paid in bribes annually, while another 2.6 trillion are stolen; all due to corruption.

The United Nations is fighting the global scourge, which affects both rich and poor countries, through initiatives like the global campaign launched jointly by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The campaign recognizes corruption as one of the biggest impediments to achieving the SDGs, or 2030 Sustainable Development Goals agreed by all nations of the world in 2015, to advance the whole of humankind. 

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