Corruption and Development - pogar

Corruption and Development - pogar

When these formal and informal institutional systems are severely weakened by corrupt

practices, it becomes harder to implement and enforce laws and policies that ensure

accountability and transparency. Thus, according to the UNDP Anti-Corruption Practice Note,

corruption undermines the rule of law and leads to the violation of human rights by fostering

an anti-democratic environment characterized by uncertainty, unpredictability, declining

moral values and disrespect for constitutional institutions and authority (UNDP 2004).

For almost two decades now, UNDP has undertaken to improve governance and combat

corruption as a core requirement to achieve the goals of development that it is working for,

in poor and developing countries around the world. UNDP works with a range of partners to

make anti-corruption one of its imperatives in improving the governance of countries, and the

lives of people, especially the poor. UNDP was one of the pioneer organizations in the early

1990s to develop programmes to address and curb corruption, as part of its mandate to reduce

poverty, meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and promote sustainable economic

development. This, in some cases, implied shifting focus from traditional (neutral) areas of

public administration reform to more politically sensitive areas that are at the core of good

governance. Since then, anti-corruption has been a rapidly growing area of UNDP assistance,

making UNDP a leading provider of anti-corruption technical cooperation within its

governance portfolio (UNDP 2004, 2).

The advent of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption on 14 December 2005

brought new challenges and opportunities to the fight against corruption. It is increasingly

being realized that success in meeting the MDGs will depend on both the ‘quality’ of

democratic governance and the generation and management of resources. UNCAC is a

binding document ratified by 128 countries (as of November 2008) that provides a governance

framework that could prove very useful in this context. 1 According to the self-assessment

results of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, an overwhelming majority of

Member States indicated that they would need technical assistance to implement UNCAC.

Given UNDP’s previous work and its widespread presence at the country level, Member States

are increasingly approaching UNDP Country Offices for technical assistance in establishing and

strengthening national anti-corruption institutions, developing strategies and laws to prevent

corruption, and designing and implementing appropriate interventions.

It is within this context that this primer explores the theoretical and empirical relationship

between corruption and the various aspects of development including economic growth,

poverty, human rights, gender, governance, human development, and environment and

sustainable development. The primer also recommends ways in which UNDP could

integrate anti-corruption principles and strategies with its technical assistance to effectively

implement anti-corruption interventions to reduce poverty, realize the MDGs and promote

sustainable development.

The primer covers three areas of discussion — sections one and two provide a broad

understanding of corruption and its effect on different facets of socio-economic development.

Section three summarizes UNDP mandates and approaches to anti-corruption. Section four

outlines some of the challenges to programming anti-corruption interventions and provides

guidelines for addressing them in various contexts.


UNODC, United Nations Convention Against Corruption. Online:


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