NEW DELHI: Corruption is the single greatest obstacle to economic and social development around the world. Every year $1 trillion is paid in bribes while an estimated $2.6 trillion is stolen annually through corruption – a sum equivalent to more than 5 per cent of the global GDP. In developing countries, according to the United Nations Development Programme, funds lost to corruption are estimated to be 10 times the amount of official development assistance But corruption does not just steal money from where it is needed the most; it leads to weak governance, which in turn can fuel organised criminal networks and promote crimes such as human trafficking, arms and migrant smuggling, counterfeiting and the trade in endangered species.
Sustainable Development Goal 16, which focuses on peace, justice and inclusion, is the keystone of the 2030 Agenda. Without headway towards peaceful, just and inclusive societies, any progress towards the other sustainable development goals is likely to be fragmentary, short-lived and volatile.
That’s why it’s so important to track how quickly countries are progressing towards – or regressing away from – four ambitious anti-corruption targets set out under SDG 16:
SDG 16.4 Significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows, strengthen recovery and return of stolen assets, and combat all forms of organised crime.
SDG 16.5 Substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all its forms.
SDG 16.6 Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels.
SDG 16.10 Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms