Anti-Corruption Day: How young people are ensuring that governments act with integrity

Today is International Anti-Corruption Day, a day designated by the UN to raise awareness of corruption and of the role of the Convention in combating and preventing it.

One Young World Ambassadors have been ensuring that governments act with integrity through their individual projects. Many of these Ambassadors took center stage at the One Young World Summit 2015 in Bangkok to discuss how corruption has affected their countries and what they are doing about it.

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Flavia Munteanu, Moldova

In 2014, Flavia worked in the Ministry of Education in the Republic of Moldova and assisted with the implementation of reforms at baccalaureate level. The country is facing corruption and nepotism, as well as a complex net of bureaucratic impediments, resulting in the majority of high school students becoming disillusioned with their career prospects. Flavia studied in the UK and was able to compare the educational systems of the two countries. She gave the Minister of Education some recommendations based on what she has observed, which led to a series of teacher trainings, aimed at improving the standard of education in Moldova.

In her speech, Flavia talks about how corruption caused the National Banking System in Moldova to lose $1 billion- equal to 1/8 of the country's GDP. 

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Sasaenia Paul Oluwabunmi, Nigeria

While working as the Director of Operations of Salvage Africa, an NGO based in Nigeria, Paul and his team helped mentor youth on the importance of leadership and integrity in the fight against corruption. As a Carrington Youth Fellow of the United States Consulate, Nigeria, he and his team started the Young Girls in Engineering Programme to stimulate the interest of over 300 girls (and counting) in the field of engineering through simple, fun and creative teaching methods. He has personally experienced the downsides of corruption and lack of honesty in governments.

In his speech, Sasaenia talks about how over $12 billion is unaccounted for in oil-rich Nigeria. 

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Carlos Vargas and Mario Di Giovanni, Venezuela

Carlos was a participant of the Fourth Youth Forum at the Seventh Summit of the Americas, on the Working Table of Democratic Governance and Citizen Participation. Carlos has organised assemblies and protests all over his country to fight against corruption. Mario co-founded VotoDondeSea, an NGO based in Miami with the goal of informing, facilitating and promoting the electoral participation of Venezuelans who had emigrated. He created positive changes in the community and country by re-igniting the commitment of thousands of Venezuelans throughout the world to participating in elections and teaching them how to do so.

In their speech, Carlos and Mario discuss how corruption undermines development in Venezuela, and the power that young leaders have to end corruption now.

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Leadership & Government Plenary Session at One Young World 2015

Corruption remains an all too frequent barrier to economic and social development. Two thirds of the One Young World community feel it is holding back the economic and political development of their country and only 13% of them is of the opinion that the government in their country is open and transparent. A lack of transparency not only sees vital funds being siphoned off for questionable use, but also holds back the flow of information and potential for accountability that help societies develop.

Globalisation has not only brought many economic benefits but also rich opportunities for corruption and malpractice, for which public and private sectors must work together at the global level to resolve. Weak leadership - identified as the second biggest threat to future generations (after Climate Change) by the One Young World community - and the self-interest and greed of some elites stunt development and prevent an equitable sharing of wealth, ideas and investment.  Societies where corruption is still embedded require a deep and sustainable culture change, effective enforcement of anti-corruption laws and legislation that nurtures a culture of openness, transparency and accountability. Less than a quarter (22%) of the one Young World Community thinks that their government listens and responds to the needs of its citizens and young people. Only by exposing what works and what doesn’t and by tracing the movement of wealth can development benefit future generations, the many not the few.