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As Economic Woes Plague the Global Economy, the Fight against Corruption Remains a Priority

( New York, 26 February 2009 ) – Highlighting the tremendous economic and social impact of widespread corruption, more than 50 anti-corruption experts from global business, civil society, governments and the United Nations System are gathering at UN Headquarters today for the Fourth Meeting of the UN Global Compact’s Working Group on Anti-Corruption. The two-day meeting is part of an ongoing series of stakeholder dialogues intended to advance the UN Global Compact’s tenth principle, which calls on business everywhere to take action against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.

While it is difficult to put a precise price tag on global corruption, the World Bank has estimated that roughly USD 1 trillion is spent annually on bribes alone, calling corruption “the greatest obstacle to reducing poverty”. According to the African Union, USD 148 billion is lost to corruption in Africa every year. And Raymond Baker of the US-based Center for International Policy places the value of corrupt funds that are deposited annually into western bank accounts and tax havens near USD 50 billion.

Inaugurated in 2005, the UN Global Compact Working Group on Corruption aims to advance implementation of the tenth principles by business through targeted advocacy and awareness-raising, development of tools and resources, and the promotion of collective action, both at the sectoral and national level. At the meeting, several subworking groups will present preliminary results of their ongoing consultations, covering diverse issues such as anti-corruption reporting, supply chain management, and multistakeholder dialogue. In addition, representatives of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) will provide an update on the implementation status of the 2003 UN Convention Against Corruption.

“As the global economy is going through the most serious crisis in decades, the fight against corruption is more important than ever”, said Georg Kell, Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact. “Business must regain trust and confidence, not the least through a credible commitment to integrity, accountability, and long-term sustainability. The UN Global Compact offers an effective platform to do so on a global scale.”


Matthias Stausberg
UN Global Compact

Olajobi Makinwa
Senior Issue Manager
UN Global Compact
+ 1 917 367 2283