Corruption in 2011 – Huguette Labelle
By 15iaccAdmin. Published 6 February 2012
It was a treacherous 2011 as financial crisis, civil strife and public distrust ran rampant from Cairo to Wall Street. Corruption remains a common denominator behind the turmoil, revealing a deep need to redouble the fight against graft in 2012.
2011 crushed the hopes of many around the world. Nearly one-in-seven are hungry and an estimated 80 million new jobs must be created over the next two years to return to pre-financial crisis employment rates, demonstrating the evils of greed, secrecy and corruption. Alarmingly, perceptions about corruption in hard hit countries such as Greece have worsened. Now public opinion polls there show corruption may have become much worse in the past three years.
Illicit money flows continue to be an incredibly disruptive force as well. Strong coordination between the world’s leading economies is paramount to overcome this issue. The Group of 20 wealthy countries met in Cannes in November 2011, showing robust signs of promoting this effort as representatives from the world’s leading economies unveiled their Anti-Corruption Action Plans. Many of the world’s newly wealthy countries including Russia and China have enacted tougher laws on bribery, while some administrations such as President Rousseff’s in Brazil have demonstrated significant resolve in their anti-corruption commitments. 2011 has seen the introduction of two major laws promoting transparency in Brazil .
The shift of power to the masses has been one of the biggest developments of the anti-corruption movement in recent history. Widespread intolerance of corruption is of utmost importance if the cycle is to be broken. The anticorruption movement should now work to reach people around the world to help them understand that corruption and impunity are avoidable. By coming together the disenfranchised can seek transparency, integrity and new forms of participative governance from their governments.
The theme for the 15th International Anti-Corruption Conference, Mobilizing People: Connecting Agents of Change, wholly reflects encouraging people at the grassroots to prevent and deal with corruption in their communities. The timing is perfect as millions are demanding a more fair and less corrupt way of life. The lesson for 2011 is that people are waking up to corruption and to the right to use their voice; something many regimes in the Arab world have learnt the hard way.
Encouraging action from empowered people and grassroots organisations around the world suggests 2012 will be on the right track, brightening the lives of those whose daily existence is weighed down by demands for bribes to get the smallest services fulfilled. As it should be, corruption must be at the top of government agendas and occupying much media attention.
Examples from across the developing world demonstrate an important transition, and a corner turned, as the age of mass communication and social media helps ordinary people and organisations convince their leaders to share their agendas. The lead up to the 15th International Anti-Corruption Conference in Brasilia in November 2012 will be an important period for the anti-corruption movement as the voices of empowered people became bigger and stronger, and as elected representatives are asked to respond to newly amplified demands.
- Huguette Labelle (Chair, Transparency International)