International Anti-Corruption Day was marked by the United Nations and the government of Afghanistan at the presidential palace in Kabul. The commemoration was opened by Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and followed by opening speeches by Tadamichi Yamamoto (the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan) and the ambassadors to Afghanistan of the United States and the United Kingdom.
Speaking at the conference, Mr. Yamamoto reaffirmed the UN’s commitment and support to Afghanistan’s anti-corruption initiatives, and highlighted the need to accelerate reform and put laws into practice to bring about real changes and improvements in the lives of Afghan citizens.
“We are here with you because we are united in our sincere commitment to helping Afghanistan improve its future, and we are here because we understand that addressing corruption requires consistent, inclusive, and strategic work; it requires patience and time,” said Mr. Yamamoto.
Addressing the event, Afghan president Mohammad Ashraf Ghani reiterated his government’s resolve in fighting corruption and reforming government institutions “Corruption and injustice are the main obstacles for rule of law, fuelling insecurity and poverty,” said President Ghani.
The event included a series of high-level roundtable discussions on the theme “Afghanistan: Geneva Commitments to Action” reflecting on the recent Geneva Conference on Afghanistan, where it was reiterated that Afghanistan needed to combat corruption, strengthen corruption-related law enforcement, build better asset declaration systems and improve access to information, so it can have sustainable and peaceful future.
Corruption is a major issue for Afghanistan and has caused the country billions of dollars in embezzlement of public funds and bribes paid to public servants, according to Transparency International. Although the ranking of the country in the global Corruption Perception Index has improved slightly compared to the last few years, it is still among the top 10 most corrupt countries globally, making the fight against corruption the highest priority for the government and its international partners.