On September 1, 2020 – Ban Ki-moon Centre Co-chair, Ban Ki-moon participated in a discussion panel hosted by  IACA – International Anti-Corruption Agency during the European Forum Alpbach. 

The highlighted session at the Forum also welcomed Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva; (WRITTEN STATEMENT);  Angel Gurria Secretary-General, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Paris; Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Laureate, Banker, Social Entrepreneur, Dhaka.

The stellar panel focused on why and how corruption happens and various solutions to tackle corruption worldwide. Co-chair Ban Ki-moon highlighted the need for leadership during these times: “The current pandemic spotlights the vast inequalities that still persist in our societies. World leaders must take responsibility in creating inclusive healthcare systems and social policies that leave no one behind. “

He also urged that to build a sustainable global economy, we need to use the 2030 Agenda as a roadmap: “We are entering the Decade of Action and effective anti-corruption measures are essential for the achievement of all 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.” 

Ending his speech, Ban Ki-moon, once again underlined the importance of multilateralism and the role of global citizens in fighting corruption: “Successfully addressing corruption requires synergies of politicians, businesses, media, NGOs and civil society through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach.”

Moderator Dean Thomas Stelzer read out the statement of Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights as she couldn’t join the call due to technical reasons. Her speech shed light on the money lost through bribes and corruption and said, “The money stolen through corruption every year is enough to feed the world’s hungry 80 times over.”

Angel Gurria Secretary-General of OECD defined corruption as a threat to inclusive growth that widens inequalities and undermines the values of democracy. He urged the viewers, “As corruption is a moving target we must keep running, we must keep joining forces”

During his passionate intervention, Prof. Muhammed Yunus clearly ascribed the root of corruption to the theory of economy and the focus on profit maximization. In his words: Free market economy as the root of corruption. Human beings are driven by self-interest. We have to look at the root of why humans act corruptly. We need to reexamine the definition of a human being to find anti-corruption solutions. Only human beings, not institutions can change the system.” 

Following a short Q&A session, Co-chair Ban Ki-moon closed the session by stating: “How to educate people as global citizens is a baseline on how to make our societies free of corruption.”