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Three anti-corruption wishes for 2020

Transparency Int'l

The week in corruption, 28 December 2019

As the year ends, we are reflecting on how corruption eats away at things we all care about, from fundamental human rights to socio-economic equality and environmental protection.

Around the world, corruption made headlines, sparked demonstrations and toppled governments in what should be a wake-up call for leaders to follow through on their commitments and make good on old promises as well as new, meaningful resolutions.

To give them some inspiration, here are three anti-corruption wishes we have for countries, the international community and our planet for 2020:

1. People power to transform countries

Corruption is continually deepening the crisis of democracy in many parts of the world. Our research shows that countries with higher rates of public sector corruption have weaker democratic institutions, depriving citizens of political rights such as the right to free and fair elections and the right to protest.

But protest they did: This year, people from the Arab region to Latin America lost patience and took to the streets to demand that their governments serve public interest. We may see more protests in the coming year if political leaders don’t take urgent steps to eradicate corruption and make their countries a liveable place for all citizens. In over 100 countries, they can turn to our national chapters for advice on long-lasting and inclusive approaches for strengthening their democracies.

2. Advanced economies to end complicity in corruption abroad

We also need strong measures that go past national borders. Relatively ‘clean’ countries are often enabling cross-border corruption by maintaining loopholes and failing to prosecute foreign bribery by corporations. This has consequences for societies all over the globe. Foreign actors play a big part in fuelling and perpetuating corruption in Africa, chipping away at the region’s sustainable development.

In 2019, we focused on the part actors from the world’s most advanced economies, including those in the European Union, have in facilitating grand corruption and money laundering across continents. We also explained why even top-scoring countries on our Corruption Perceptions Index cannot claim to be corruption-free.

You can count on us to continue calling out these countries for their complicity in corruption abroad. Ending corporate secrecy and reining in banks and financial intermediaries of dirty deals are among our top priorities for 2020.

3. Climate action to be free from corruption

Where corruption goes unchecked, this has devastating consequences for the environment, too. With 2019’s biggest (and arguably least fruitful) climate conference just a few weeks back, the impact of corruption on the climate crisis is still on our minds and will be in 2020. From undue influence and lobbying to repressions against environmental defenders, corruption exacerbates the catastrophic consequences of global heating.

We were at the COP25 this year, and while the results have been disappointing, we will stay on it and keep advocating for clean climate finance. It might not be too late to turn things around, but we can only do that if we make sure climate funds reach those who need them and free global climate policy from undue influence.

Looking to the new year with hope, we see plenty of room for anti-corruption progress to accelerate and some negative trends to reverse.

We are committed to do our part: In 2020, you will see more research, analysis and advocacy for national and global solutions from Transparency International.

Thank you for your ongoing support that makes our work possible and worthwhile. We wish you a great start into the new year and renewed energy for your own resolutions.