The world continues to suffer from the disease of corruption. If you take a look at the global map you’ll see much of the world is in a state of critical condition – 131 of the 178 countries score below five out of 10 indicating a serious corruption problem.
The Corruption Perceptions Index is a warning system for world leaders and the 2010 results convey the urgent need for strengthening governance mechanisms. Millions living in poverty and the economic growth of their countries depend on this. But the index is also a warning system for people like you and me, telling us that it is time to push for change in our countries because resources intended to improve our welfare are being siphoned away.
The index continues to show that country analysts and businesspeople see public sector corruption as infecting countries around the world. No single country is seen as immune from corruption and our other research shows that the public agrees.
The Corruption Perceptions Index is only one way of gauging the symptoms of corruption. The real challenge, the one that we all need to work together to address, is diagnosing the causes in each country, determining which institutions or sectors are most affected, and which are bringing about real change.
One way we do this is through our National Integrity System assessments. We evaluate the main institutions and actors that form a state, including all branches of government, the media, the public and private sectors and civil society. Once we have an accurate picture of where anti-corruption strengths and weaknesses lie, we advocate with other civil society organisations for reforms.
For people in many countries though, fighting against corruption is not just about the diagnosis, it is a daily battle. To help them stand up to corruption we are trying to provide them with support through our Advocacy and Legal Advice Centres. Each year, thousands of people phone the centres’ corruption hotlines or drop in, recount their experiences, and receive advice and legal support. In 2009 alone, more than 20,000 people sought help from the centres.
Of the many ways to fight corruption the most important one is public demand. Without citizens demanding their governments to perform better and holding them to account, the grave situation shown by this year’s Corruption Perceptions Index will not change. These are our countries and our future.
Have a look at your country’s result and let us know how you think your country is doing – and what should change to get it right.
Taking the temperature: Corruption Perceptions Index 2010