Ben Jackson, Bond Chief Executive. Bond is the UK membership body for organisations working in international development. We have over 450 members ranging from large agencies with a world-wide presence to smaller, specialist organisations, united by a common goal to eradicate global poverty. https://www.bond.org.uk/
Corruption undermines the global fight against poverty, let’s remember our commitments to leave no one behind
In 2015, global leaders came together to agree the Sustainable Development Goals, an ambitious agenda to guide efforts to reduce poverty and promote accountability and sustainability over the next 15 years. The Goals include many important commitments, including to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030. However, the commitments to meet the SDGs could be significantly undermined if global leaders fail to address the prevailing corrupt systems and practices that serve to widen the gap between rich and poor.
If we want the new Sustainable Development Goals to be successful, global leaders must use the Anti-Corruption Summit as an opportunity to commit to tackle corruption in all its forms, looking at the financial, political and legal systems that govern our world.
Goal 16 is specifically focused on ensuring peace, stability, and effective governance, underlining the rule of law as an important conduit for sustainable development. This goal will only be achieved if the need for transparency and accountability is embraced by leaders who recognise that corruption hurts those within their populations who are the most vulnerable and undermines social cohesion and stability.
The current global tax system is a good example of a system that facilitates corrupt practices which allow wealthy individuals and corporates to profit whilst those around them suffer. It deprives poor countries of the revenue they need to invest in vital services such as healthcare and education needed to meet the ambition of the SDGs. It makes the lives of those living in poverty more difficult and often more dangerous, because money is being diverted from the essential services they rely on. People lose faith when their governments seem less concerned with their welfare and, rather, primarily accountable to the privileged and powerful.
Civil society organisations across the world are already working together to hold governments to account for implementing national and global polices that make corruption and unfair financial systems untenable. But they need support from high-level decision makers and global institutions to do so. I hope the Anti-Corruption Summit will see global leaders step up to that challenge and commit to the reform of broken systems that are undermining the move towards a more equal world. We have made great strides in the fight against poverty and sustainable development, let’s not let corruption hold us back.