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Joining forces to end poverty and corruption

6 October 2014 update: Organisations around the world are signing up to the open statement from the event: Ending poverty: why strong, accountable institutions matter. Click here to read the message and view the list of signatories so far.
Don’t let anyone get away with leaving corruption out of how we tackle poverty.”

– David Cameron, UK Prime Minister, at the Ending Poverty event in New York, 24 September

In countries where more than 60 per cent of the population pay bribes to access public services, more women die in childbirth, fewer people have access to clean water and illiteracy rates among young people are higher.

These facts make it clear that transparent, accountable and inclusive institutions are vital if we are to end poverty and protect the planet.

At an event at Ford Foundation yesterday in New York, Transparency International and the UK government took this argument one step further, calling on the United Nations to adopt a governance goal for its post-2015 development priorities.

  • (From left) Ford Foundation President Darren Walker welcomes UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Chair of Transparency International Huguette Labelle in New York ahead of the event Ending Poverty: Why Strong, Accountable Institutions Matter.

    Image: Ford Foundation
  • UK Prime Minister David Cameron addressing the audience.

    Image: Melissa Bunni Elian
  • Chair of Transparency International Huguette Labelle stressing the importance of a good governance goal in the new set of priorities to end global poverty by 2030.

    Image: Melissa Bunni Elian
  • President of Ghana John Dramani Mahama speaking at the event.

    Image: Melissa Bunni Elian
  • (From left) BBC correspondent Kim Ghattas moderating the panel with Justine Greening, Secretary of State for International Development, UK; Carlos De Icaza, Deputy Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Mexico; Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International; Lombe Tembo, Governance and Accountability Youth Advocate, Zambia; and Elaine Weidman-Grunewald, Vice President, Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility, Ericsson.

    Image: Melissa Bunni Elian
  • There was full house attendance at the discussions yesterday, taking place on the sidelines of the annual United Nations General Assembly’s annual meeting in New York. The event was hosted by Ford Foundation.

    Image: Melissa Bunni Elian

Transparency International research shows how weak governance contributes to the proliferation of poverty, revealing a strong correlation between the rate of bribery and several key development indicators.

Looking ahead we need a governance goal to address a problem that affects all sectors. Millions of people have told us they want it and everyone from business to government to civil society has a role to play.”

– Transparency International Chair Huguette Labelle, in New York

In order to deliver long-term dignity and well-being to all, governments, companies and civil society must collaborate to strengthen transparency and accountability; as well as promote open societies, a free media and freedom of expression, and the rule of law. They should also join forces to implement anti-corruption measures that enable effective and inclusive economic, social and political institutions.

In 2000 when the UN launched its ambitious Millennium Development Goals to eradicate poverty and improve health and education, it set targets over a 15-year period in eight key areas. Several of these goals will be reached before the deadline but others, including the goal to reduce maternal mortality and improve literacy, will not.

Sustainable Development Goals will be agreed at the UN in September 2015, defining global and national policies while committing governments until 2030.

The governance goal has significant support and continues to gain traction. In a public opinion poll, over 4 million people identified an “honest and responsive government” as one of their top four development priorities. Last year, a UN high-level panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda recommended a goal on good governance.

Young people around the world tell their governments what they would like done to eradicate corruption and poverty:

  • Read UK Prime Minister David Cameron's opening speech here.
  • Read UN Development Programme Administrator Helen Clark's opening speech here.

Editor's note: On 23 January 2015, the attached PDF containing the text of the statement was updated to include additional signatories.

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