As defined by Corruption Watch, corruption is “the abuse of public resources or public power for personal gain”. It can be classed as grand, petty or political depending on the monetary losses and the sector in which it happens.
Disregarding any classification, however, corruption is deadly for the short and long term development of any country. It undermines the pillars upon which society is built, namely “sustainable economic development, ethical values and justice”; it also deteriorates the institutions and values of democratic systems.
Furthermore, corruption is linked to a higher incidence of violence and it discourages local and foreign direct investments. This is hardly a surprise, considering that a country where money gets stolen from the public coffers does not represent an attractive business partner for public and private investors.
Corruption affects the weak and vulnerable. If an individual, for any given reason, depends on government aid to subsist, a lack of governance and the mismanagement of public funds will cause delay in the service delivery. Moreover, deviating funds takes away from the money that is meant to be destined to improving services like healthcare, education, housing and security. This is especially important because without the proper management and maintenance, public infrastructure may be severely damaged.
Sustainable economic development will not be achieved until transparency is the common rule, not only on a massive level, but as citizens too. We are all stakeholders in our countries and have a vested interest in seeing them flourish. Based on this, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development contemplates several targets, and their respective guidelines, to achieve transparent, more inclusive and fair societies.
GLOBAL GOAL 16: PROMOTE PEACEFUL AND INCLUSIVE SOCIETIES FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, PROVIDE ACCESS TO JUSTICE FOR ALL AND BUILD EFFECTIVE, ACCOUNTABLE AND INCLUSIVE INSTITUTIONS AT ALL LEVELS.
- Significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere
- End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children.
- Promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all.
- Significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows, strengthen the recovery and return of stolen assets and combat all forms of organized crime.
- Substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms.
- Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels.
- Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels.
- Broaden and strengthen the participation of developing countries in the institutions of global governance.
- Provide legal identity for all, including birth registration.
- Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms in accordance with the national legislation and international agreements.
As seen above, Global Goal 16 can be separated in a series of targets, all of which are set to be achieved by 2030, in adherence to the general guidelines provided below:
- Strengthen relevant national institutions, including through international cooperation, for building capacity at all levels, to prevent violence and combat terrorism and crime.
- Promote and enforce non-discriminatory laws and policies for sustainable development.