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International Anti-Corruption Excellence Award

8 December 2017
International Anti-Corruption Excellence Award

Remarks by Mr. Michael Møller
United Nations Under-Secretary-General
Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva

International Anti-Corruption Excellence Award

Friday, 8 December 2017, at 11:25 a.m.
Council Chamber, Palais des Nations

Your Highness,
Mr. Minister,
Dr. Al-Marri,
Mr. Fedotov,
Ladies and Gentlemen:

It is a privilege to welcome you to the Palais des Nations, on the occasion of the International Anti-Corruption Excellence Awards.

Let me start by thanking His Highness Al-Thani and the Government of Qatar for their support in bringing this award ceremony to Geneva.

Many of you have probably already seen the statue on the Place des Nations which was unveiled earlier this morning to shine a light on a challenge as old perhaps as society itself – corruption.

Corruption is insidious. It can occur everywhere, at every level. No country is immune from it. Attacking the foundation of democracy, corruption is a barrier to reaching the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Reducing corruption is but one of 169 targets outlined in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, but its effects are detrimental to all 17 goals and all the other 168 indicators.

Corruption can strike anywhere, but it hits the poor, the weak, and the most vulnerable hardest. It enables a few to prosper at the expense of the many millions who are left behind. It can, for example, deny people access to health, schools and economic opportunities. It can impose labour conditions at the place of work which are far from the standards adopted by our governments at the International Labour Organization. It can deny hope of a better future and rob the people’s trust in the state and its institutions. And where trust is broken, cynicism thrives.

Governments, the business and financial communities and civil society alike must take a collective stand. To achieve an equal, inclusive and more prosperous future for all, all of us must foster a culture of integrity, transparency, and accountability.

Some of us may falter, but what we are celebrating today is the triumph of those who have not only said ‘No’ to corruption, but who have found innovative ways to combat it. Hailing from different corners of the world, the laureates of today’s Award have displayed courage, vision and creativity in their anti-corruption projects.

The magnitude and pervasiveness of corruption requires all of us to work together to leverage the creativity and courage of the laureates to greater scale. In light of this demand for collaboration and scale, it is fitting that we meet in Geneva. Home to a unique ecosystem of more than 100 international organizations, hundreds of NGOs, a dynamic private sector and world-class academic institutions, International Geneva facilitates the exchange of ideas and fosters the creation of powerful alliances in our collective battle against corruption.

We have set ourselves a goal to transform the world within the span of a single generation through the 2030 Agenda. In the 21st century corruption simply has no place. Today’s awards are part of our journey to create this world. Tomorrow we will mark the International Day of Anti-Corruption which every year highlights the importance of fighting corruption and remind us of the long journey we have ahead of us.

Let me therefore once again warmly congratulate today’s recipients of the Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani Anti-Corruption Excellence Award.

Thank you.