Tackling Corruption Crucial To Afghanistan’s Future, Stresses UN Envoy
New York, Dec 18 2008 1:10PM
The top United Nations envoy to Afghanistan today called the fight against corruption one of the single most important
issues for the future of the young democracy, and urged all of its citizens and its international partners to combat the
“Every Afghan citizen and every international stakeholder must commit to fighting corruption,” the Secretary-General’s
Special Representative, Kai Eide, said during an event in Kabul that was attended by President Hamid Karzai and other
senior members of the Government.
“We must all demonstrate – every day and at all levels that we reject corruption. The example we all set will shape the
future. It can restore trust. It can bring development. It can meet the most basic human needs. It can turn resignation
“By loudly and stubbornly rejecting corruption, it is possible to remove an obstacle to the future that all Afghans want
and deserve,” said Mr. Eide, who is also head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA)
The Special Representative emphasized that Afghanistan is not alone in facing this global scourge. “It can be seen in so
many countries with weak institutions, countries in conflict or in post-conflict situations. And it can also be seen in
the most developed Sates,” he pointed out.
A survey earlier this year by Integrity Watch Afghanistan, the average Afghan household pays an estimated $100 in petty
bribes every year – this in a nation where around 70 per cent of the population survives on less than $1 per day.
In addition, in only three years, Afghanistan has dropped from 119th out of 159 in Transparency International’s
corruption perception index to the fifth last in the world. “In the words of a recent World Bank report, corruption has
become widespread – even pervasive,” noted Mr. Eide.
He stressed how important fighting corruption is for a country like Afghanistan which is trying to promote peace and
“We all know that corruption hurts the poor disproportionately by diverting funds intended for development. It means
taking money away from the most needy, fuelling their frustration and anger.
“It undermines the credibility of the State by damaging its ability to provide basic services. It undermines the
building of much needed infrastructure and of strong institutions. It diminishes confidence in democracy. It undermines
confidence in government and those who govern at every level of society. It keeps investors away instead of attracting
“It is a matter of civic duty – and religious command – to contribute to the fight against corruption whenever and
wherever we see it,” he stressed.
Mr. Eide applauded the steps taken by Afghanistan so far to help it “turn the corner,” including ratifying the UN
Convention Against Corruption, elaborating the Anti-Corruption and Administrative Reform strategy, and establishing the
High Office of Oversight to coordinate national anti-corruption efforts.
At the same time, he noted that real progress will require further efforts. “Only the first steps have been taken. More
will be required – to ensure the confidence of Afghans in their future and the continued commitment of public opinion in