How young people are turning the tide against corruption

Yoiuth 2019

(Unsplash, 2019)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Blair Glencorse, Founder and Executive Director, The Accountability Lab & Friday Odeh, Country Director, Accountability Lab Nigeria


A deluge of corruption-related news and scandals has recently rocked the world. The President of Guatemala has expelled a key United Nations anti-corruption body from the country. Romania’s anti-corruption chief has stepped down just as the country is taking over the Presidency of the EU. Japan’s Olympic Chief is facing allegations of bribery over Tokyo’s bid to host the 2020 games, and the Danske Bank money laundering probe continues to deepen.

This is not filling global youth with hope for the future. Young people continue to name corruption as the biggest challenge they face, according to a survey carried out through the Accountability Lab in conjunction the World Economic Forum. And with good reason – corruption has a high cost for society and the economy. It depletes public funds that should pay for education, healthcare and other basic services sorely needed in those countries most affected by it. Businesses and individuals – mostly the poor – pay more than $1 trillion in bribes every year, which undermines trust, exacerbates inequality and severs the social contract.

It is easy to get depressed about this. But there are plenty of reasons to believe that 2019 will be the year in which young people turn the tide against this lack of integrity and accountability. A new generation of change-makers is putting anti-corruption and accountability firmly at the centre of their understanding of global leadership across business, politics, media and civil society.

In business, this clearly showed at Davos 2019, which was chaired for the first time by Global Shapers from the World Economic Forum’s youth network. Accountability for everything from corruption in global corporations to state capture in South Africa were key topics of discussion. These Global Shapers and their contemporaries are leading the way in the corporate world, where now more than ever, young consumers prefer to work and shop at businesses that drive social good.

CEOs understand this. The likes of David Cruickshank at Deloitte and Paul Polman, formerly at Unilever, are speaking out strongly on issues of ethical business. At a recent World Economic Forum Partnering Against Corruption (PACI) meeting, which included many leading global corporations, there was a clear consensus on the idea that values-based organizations are not just better for the world, but also more profitable in the long-term.

In government, a new generation of politicians and bureaucrats is emerging, pushing for more inclusive, transparent decision-making. In Malaysia, the 27-year-old Minister of Youth and Sports Syed Saddiq has not shied away from calling out the kleptocratic behaviour of elites. In Botswana, the 32-year-old Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Bogolo Kenewendo is pushing back against unfair business practices. During our recent global Integrity Idol campaign to “name and fame” honest bureaucrats, we found hundreds of young, honest civil servants doing everything from fighting corruption in the police to ensuring fair justice at the local level.

In the media, the ability of youth activists to set a national and global accountability agenda is growing rapidly. Young people are creating news checking sites to combat fake news; bloggers in countries including Nigeria are pushing for decision-making based on openness and honesty; and incredibly brave investigative journalists are taking on corrupt regimes and criminal networks. The proliferation of social media has made it harder for those in power to listen only to dishonest elites. Tech-savvy young media-makers have shown that they won’t be silenced or strong-armed by the corrupt, and are building a collective voice for change.

Finally, a new wave of civic activists is pushing back against the old ways of fighting corruption, and showing real progress. These new groups are nimble and collaborative, not bureaucratic and competitive, and draw on historic lessons from movement-building, theories of strategic non-violent action, and ethnographic approaches within specific contexts. Networks such as Libera are taking on the mafia and “spreading a culture of legality” in Italy; groups such as Al Bawsala are bringing transparency to decision-making in Tunisia; and coalitions such as Africans Rising are effectively supporting people-powered action in countries from Nigeria to Zimbabwe.

Corruption remains arguably the largest impediment to global economic and political progress. But there is a new generation finding creative, collective ways to push back against it.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Poliomielitis: climatic changes and impossibility in border control

Female African coders ‘on the front-line of the battle’ to change gender power relations: UN chief

1 in 4 Africans had to pay a bribe to access public services last year

Detecting online child sexual abuse requires strong safeguards

World is closer than ever to seeing polio disappear for good

Ending the era of dirty textiles

Sassoli to EU governments: Rise to the challenge. Find new shared ways to finance our recovery

Eurozone examines the prospect of issuing debt paper jointly

This heroic doctor is waging war on rape and the stigma around it

European Court of Justice to Google: It is #righttobeforgotten but not #righttoberemembered

Canada needs to increase foreign aid flows in line with its renewed engagement

Politics is failing to protect the Amazon. It’s time for finance to step up instead

‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ clean-up project launches trial run: UN Environment

How the institutional response to COVID-19 can prepare us for climate change

Here’s how community lending could help refugees find their feet

ACP-EU : Agreement on climate change, migration and post-Cotonou

Humanitarian Aid: €64 million for most vulnerable in Southern Africa

Antitrust: Commission consults stakeholders on a possible new competition tool

Medical students: The need for emigration

Charlotte in Ghana

Anti-Semitism ‘toxic to democracy’, UN expert warns, calling for better education

UN health emergency committee to re-convene on global threat posed by China coronavirus

Burnout is a pandemic. Why don’t we talk more about it?

“We have to do a better job of creating alternatives to violent extremism”, US Secretary of State John Kerry from Switzerland; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

More hiring freedom can reduce teacher shortages in disadvantaged areas

UN Mission in Afghanistan gravely concerned about ill-treatment of prisoners by Taliban, following first-hand testimony

COP25: UN climate change conference, 5 things you need to know

The banks dragged Eurozone down to fiscal abyss

This is why AI has a gender problem

Financial stability: Commission addresses risks of Libor cessation

Tigray conflict: EU humanitarian support to Ethiopian refugees reaching Sudan

For how long and at what cost can the ECB continue printing trillions to keep euro area going?

The movement of anti-vaccers: taking humanity back 200 years

How to unleash the potential of regions like São Paulo

What will it take for the world’s third-largest economy to empower women?

Drinking coffee could help you live longer, research finds

Humanitarian aid: €24.5 million in Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region

This young scientist is tackling food insecurity for the world’s most vulnerable groups

EU countries invested €5 trillion abroad

Mergers: Commission approves GlaxoSmithKline’s acquisition of Pfizer’s Consumer Health Business, subject to conditions

UNICEF urges ‘transformative shift’ in family-friendly work policies to reap ‘huge’ benefits

Economic growth ‘exceeds expectations’ but trade tensions are rising: UN report

Parliament elects Ursula von der Leyen as first female Commission President

State aid: Commission approves €380 million German rescue aid to Condor

Happy workers are more productive, research shows

Aid Programme for the Turkish Cypriot community: Commission adopts second Action Programme for 2020

These 5 countries plan to slash their CO2 emissions. But how will they do it?

There are 3 barriers blocking good menstrual hygiene for all women. Here’s how we overcome them

Here’s how India can soar in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

ECB indicates south Europeans can endure more austerity

Let’s Learn

Electronic cigarettes, a better alternative or a well-advertised product

The miserables and the untouchables of the economic crisis

New UN agriculture agency report underscores value of fishing in fight against global hunger

What is the IMF telling Eurozone about fiscal and banking unification?

‘Grave consequences’ await if new deadly escalation of violence in Gaza continues – top UN official

Europe bows to Turkey’s rulers, sends Syrian refugees back to chaos

Eurozone: Subdued inflation can lead to more recession

UN updates guidelines to ensure successful return to civilian life for former combatants

World ‘off track’ to meet most Sustainable Development Goals on hunger, food security and nutrition

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s